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Caterham reveals it 'let Kovalainen down'

Caterham team boss Cyril Abiteboul says his squad 'let Heikki Kovalainen down' after failing to give him a car that could fight for F1 points finishes
Caterham team boss Cyril Abiteboul has said that the Leafield-based squad 'let its drivers down' after failing to get into a position to score points in the 2012 F1 season – with that factor playing a part in Heikki Kovalainen's departure after three years.

Kovalainen joined the team, then running under the Lotus banner, when it joined the grid but left ahead of the 2013 campaign along with Vitaly Petrov as Caterham switched to a new-look driver line-up for its fourth year in the sport.

Last year in particular, Caterham had hoped to push forwards towards the points scoring positions but instead only managed to secure tenth in the standings in the final race of the year after becoming embroiled in a heated battle for position for Marussia.

Speaking to Sky Sports Abiteboul said that the decision of team and driver to go their separate ways had been an amicable one and that the team had failed to deliver for its driver in terms of performance.

"Heikki is not one of our two race drivers; we continue to have discussions with Heikki to see if a different project could be possible,” he said. “Let's be honest: we'd be keen to keep experience in our line-up. That's something we'd both be interested in under the right conditions.

“I think the particular [race] project between Heikki and Caterham had to change its format. We're looking right now to see whether another format is possible. The format we had in the last year was not working anymore."

“Let's be honest: I think we disappointed our drivers and let them down, in the sense that we under-delivered in comparison to the promises we made to them. And I think you can do that once, twice...with Heikki, I don't think we did that for three years but this relationship has been going on for three years and this sort of thing damages relationships. I think at a certain point at the end of last season, maybe there was not the sort of trust and confidence and respect - on both sides - that you should be counting on for the development of the team and driver.

“Of course he wasn't happy with the progress. No-one was happy - the shareholders are not happy with the progress. So it's about making sure we do better than that. But we are changing a lot of things back at the factory in our process, our culture...it was important to start from a different base."

Both Kovalainen and Petrov are without employment in F1 for the season ahead having left their Caterham roles.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
24.11.2012- Free Practice 3, Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham F1 Team CT01
23.11.2012- Free Practice 2, Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham F1 Team CT01
22.11.2012- Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham F1 Team CT01
Kamui Kobayashi and the Caterham Seven 250R Kamui edition
2014 FIA European F3 champion Esteban Ocon is to test with Lotus F1
12.10.2014- Race, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E22
12.10.2014- Max Chilton (GBR), Marussia F1 Team MR03 and all the Marussia F1 Team show a panel for Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03
12.10.2014- Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T, Marco Mattiacci (ITA) Team Principal, Scuderia Ferrari and the Ferrari F1 team show a panel for Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03
12.10.2014- Race, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E22
12.10.2014- Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Caterham F1 Team CT05 and Marcus Ericsson (SWE) Caterham F1 Team CT-04
12.10.2014- Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T, Marco Mattiacci (ITA) Team Principal, Scuderia Ferrari and the Ferrari F1 team show a panel for Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03
12.10.2014- Race, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E22
12.10.2014- Jean Todt (FRA) Fia President and  Graeme Lowdon (GBR) Marussia F1 Team Chief Executive Officer
12.10.2014- Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T, Marco Mattiacci (ITA) Team Principal, Scuderia Ferrari and the Ferrari F1 team show a panel for Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03
12.10.2014- Marcus Ericsson (SWE) Caterham F1 Team CT-04
12.10.2014- Race, Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team, E22
12.10.2014- Race, Marcus Ericsson (SWE) Caterham F1 Team CT-04
12.10.2014- Race, Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Caterham F1 Team CT05

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oldtimer - Unregistered

February 11, 2013 11:07 AM

Caterham are not going anywhere especially with pay drivers, the likelyhood is that Marussia and Caterham will leave F1 in the next 18 months or so because they simply do not have the money to keep up let alone catch up those in front of them. With several other mid field teams also with money troubles the likelyhood is that F1 will be reduced to 7 or 8 teams unless Bernie can find a way of conning some more to come in. Either way the outlook for F1 is bleak. The rich rule and will continue to do so until smeone has the balls to sort out the cost reduction schemes that were discussed.

Texas Roadhouse

February 11, 2013 12:06 PM

Cyril - why not put HK into the car for one of the Barcelona tests and see what he can do with the car...could easily be a one-off deal, and would give them a visible baseline on the car, and on their current drivers..... Kovalainen's omission from the grid does seem to be something of a shock to the industry - it might just be the "wake-up" call F1 needs to put the house in order.



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