2 November 2013
Abiteboul: Quick decision needed on drivers
Cyril Abiteboul says Caterham needs to make a quick decision on its drivers for the 2014 season
Caterham team boss Cyril Abiteboul says he is keen to secure his drivers for the 2014 season 'fairly quickly' because of the regulation changes coming into play in F1 next year.
Although the team signed Charles Pic on a multi-year deal, it has yet to officially confirm the Frenchman for next season while Giedo van der Garde and Heikki Kovalainen are both in the running for a race seat for the 2014 campaign.
Speaking at the Yas Marina circuit ahead of this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Abiteboul admitted that the Leafield-based team couldn't afford to wait as late as it did this season before confirming its line-up, with the Frenchman saying it was vital for team and drivers to have time to work together on preparing for 2014.
“We would like to have that done fairly quickly, I would say,” he said. “In particular [we want to be] sooner than last year - because we were late in confirming our line-up - as there is an awful lot of work to be done between the teams and the drivers. A lot of teams are changing, including for the drivers, and the sooner we can integrate and work together, the better it will be for next year.
“Having said that, in terms of what we want, there are a lot of options. Consistency is a good thing, so one of the options is that we continue with the two drivers that we have, building on the relationship that we have started. But everything is changing anyway, so I think one thing we want is someone who is reliable in his feedback because we will have to develop the car during the season.
“We didn't develop much the car this season. Next season will be a totally different ball game - in particular the start of the season when everything will be new. We will have to adapt ourselves, the drivers will have to adapt themselves, so experience might be something that is interesting but more than anything I think someone who's capable of being almost transparent and providing the most accurate feedback as possible to the engineers who're trying to understand how the car is working, is something that will be important for us.”
Abiteboul also added that, as well as working on its new driver line-up, the team was fully focused on trying to reclaim tenth in the championship standings from rivals Marussia.
“It's tough,” he said. “It's going to be a challenge, in particular because we don't have all the answers in our hands. Obviously, we need to do the best we can, make sure that we go for them in turn one in particular, but also to finish the races, that we are reliable. Even if we do all of that and if we achieve a good result, we need more, we need a little bit of external help. Maybe a bit of retirements would assist.
“Jopefully that's something we will secure. We secured that last year in the last minute of the last race, so why not again this year? But I'm not against having that a bit earlier than last year to be honest.”
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