Caterham unveils relaunched Racing Academy
5 June 2013
The Caterham F1 Team has unveiled its 'new' Caterham Racing Academy, a driver development programme designed to provide a clear route to F1 for young motorsport talent from around the world.
Originally launched as the Caterham Driver Development Programme back in 2010, the scheme will give its selected drivers a clear path from the junior formulae right up to F1, with each participant working to a bespoke programme created to 'enable them to learn and develop in both practical and virtual motorsport environments'. The Academy drivers are given personalised development plans that cover every aspect of a modern racing driver's life, including detailed work on racecraft and engineering feedback, mental and physical training and media and sponsor relations, all designed to help them achieve their own potential.
Finance plays a key role in all forms of motorsport and all Caterham Racing Academy drivers have access to a performance target-based prize fund each season. This fund is designed to reward excellence against agreed targets and to provide part-funding for their progression into more senior formulae, helping them focus on their racing activities. The prize fund will make a contribution of between 10-50 per cent towards the drivers' seasonal costs, a substantial investment in an extremely competitive financial environment.
In addition to the financial rewards available, the Academy drivers are given exposure through the F1 team's digital and social media channels, and the right to compete in Caterham's distinctive green-and-yellow livery.
Each driver is embedded into the F1 team at selected races and tests throughout the season, providing a unique experience that gives them direct exposure to race weekend and test briefing / debrief sessions, track walks and media sessions, all helping them to prepare for the step up to the ultimate challenge of F1.
Meanwhile, the Leafield Technical Centre – home to both Caterham's F1 and GP2 teams - plays an important part in the Academy scheme as drivers have access to the cutting edge driver-in-the-loop simulator and the opportunity to bring sponsors and media to witness a modern F1 facility.
Finally, with physical and mental preparation playing a critical role in the performance of racing drivers at all levels, the Academy drivers will be given a bi-annual fitness evaluation by Pro Performance, one of the leading sports science consultancies worldwide and specialists in the elite preparation of racing drivers.
In future, the Academy will have direct links with Caterham Motorsport's karting and racing series, bringing together all forms of motorsport run under the Caterham name.
“Launching the revamped Caterham Racing Academy is a sign of how committed we are to helping develop new racing talent from around the world,” F1 team principal Cyril Abiteboul noted.
“Within the Academy, we have an environment that gives young drivers a clear path from the junior racing series right up to F1. However, equally importantly, we're arming them with all the attributes required of drivers in the modern era – mental and physical preparation, direct exposure to F1 and, importantly for all drivers, financial assistance.
“For the team itself, the Academy programme is also driven by our ongoing search for our future line-up and having investments in a number of drivers gives us a range of options for the future. We've designed the Academy structure so it can be easily replicated, allowing us to support local talent in key markets for us and our partners anywhere in the world. It is not a rigid format, but one that allows us to adapt to meet local opportunities, both in terms of talent and feeder series, an important factor in the constantly changing global motorsport landscape.”
From just two drivers for the 2010 season, Alexander Rossi and Matt Parry, the Academy now has six 'stars of the future' on the books, with the original members being joined by GP2 racer Sergio Canamasas, Formula Renault Eurocup driver Aurelien Panis, Formula Renault BARC's Weiron Tan and KF3 karting hopeful Daim Hishamuddin.
“The Caterham Racing Academy is a sign of our commitment to developing the next generation of motorsport talent,” confirmed Mia Sharizman, the Academy's head and Caterham Racing team principal, “We're giving young drivers a clear route from junior formulae up to F1 and we are giving them first-hand experience of everything that goes into being a modern F1 driver. We are providing comprehensive training and financial support for our young drivers, and giving them direct access to our F1 facility, all of which adds up to an unrivalled support package for new talent.
“We've already created opportunities for young drivers to progress to the very top – look at Giedo van der Garde who's gone from GP2 in 2012 to F1 with us in 2013, and Alexander Rossi, who's combining his F1 team reserve driver role with GP2 and now Le Mans commitments for Caterham.
“Giedo and Alexander are proof of how serious we are about developing young talent. We already have an exciting list of Academy drivers for 2013 and are looking forward to seeing more new talent join us in the future to help them reach their true potential.”