Amid all the media rumours and denials from Leafield, it is now confirmed that Charles Pic will not
be part of the Caterham line-up for 2014.
The Frenchman defected from Marussia to lead an inexperienced pairing alongside rookie Giedo van der Garde last year but, with Caterham looking for a more seasoned head to accompany its need for a well-heeled roster, it could be that neither driver returns for a second year in green-and-yellow.
Pic had been thought to have a multi-year deal with Tony Fernandes' equipe
, but team principal Cyril Abiteboul – who replaced the Malaysian in day-to-day charge of the squad two seasons ago – has now admitted that his fellow countryman will not
be returning, although he does not necessarily see it as the end of the 23-year old's F1 career.
"Charles, unfortunately, will not be with us next season," he French broadcaster Infosport+
, "It's a pity the adventure between Caterham and Charles is ending, but he has talent which could develop in a more mature team."
Abiteboul's announcement will continue to fire rumours that Caterham may be about to appoint an all-new line-up, with the hapless van der Garde also following Pic through the exit. The Dutchman had claimed to have several options for his second season in the top flight, but now appears to be left with nothing unless he can pick up a reserve role further up the grid. Caterham lost out on tenth place in the constructors' standings for the first time in its short history in 2013, with Marussia holding on to the spot having earned it with Jules Bianchi's 13th-plce finish in Malaysia.
With its fellow minnow having confirmed Max Chilton alongside Bianchi at last weekend's Autosport
International exhibition, Caterham is now the only team yet to fill its seats, although an announcement is expected some time this week before the team heads off to Jerez for the opening test of the pre-season.
The rumour mill insists that, in place of Pic and van der Garde, the team will opt for the experience of former Sauber favourite Kamui Kobayashi – the Japanese ace having been raising finance for a return after a year out of F1 – and GP2 Series frontrunner Marcus Ericsson, who is believed to have backing from his native Sweden and was a guest of the team's at last year's Interlagos finale.
Another Sauber refugee, Robin Frijns was last week rumoured to have secured the reserve role at Caterham, but his new management team refused to confirm the speculation when announcing their partnership on Monday.