Caterham F1 owner Tony Fernandes has revealed that he is possibly more excited about the coming Australian Grand Prix than any of the other races his team has competed in since joining the sport in 2010.
The team, which morphs from Lotus to Caterham in 2012, has yet to score, but this year, Fernandes has said they will be doing everything in their power to break into the midfield and challenge the likes of Williams, Toro Rosso and Sauber.
“Melbourne 2012 is a very important race for us and one I am possibly more excited about than any race we have participated in our two short years in F1,” Fernandes commented. “We shed the new team tag at the start of 2011, but for most of last season we were racing in what felt like no-mans-land.
“We were comfortably ahead of the two teams that made their debuts at the same time as us in 2010, and for a large part of last year we were what felt like inches away from the teams just ahead.
“Now it is time for us to take our place as a midfield team, and we have everything in place to do just that. If we do, and find ourselves racing teams like Williams, Toro Rosso and Sauber I think that will be an incredible achievement, from a starting point of an empty factory in September 2009 to racing teams who have decades on us in terms of establishment and development.
“If we are not quite there at the start of the season it will not be for lack of effort, and we will keep fighting all year to bridge the gap to what will be a very tightly packed group of teams just in front.”
Technical director Mark Smith meanwhile has confirmed that Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov will both get to utilise some new parts in Australia.
“In terms of updates since pre season testing we will have a new front wing and bodywork cooling option available to us,” he explained. “The front wing is simply a logical step in aerodynamic development and has been an integral part of the aero package for a while, but will be introduced for the first time in Melbourne.
“The cooling option gives us more opportunity to optimise cooling requirements versus aerodynamic performance which is a further step forwards from the package we ran in Barcelona and gives us more options to work with at the first race,” he added.