24 July 2014
Albers pleased with Caterham F1 progress heading to Hungary
New Caterham team principal Christijan Albers says that the squad is moving in the right direction despite still searching for its first F1 points.
Recently-installed Caterham F1 team principal Christijan Albers insists that he is happy with the direction the squad has taken since it was the subject of a takeover.
With erstwhile owner Tony Fernandes looking to sell up, Caterham changed hands before the British Grand Prix, with a consortium of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors taking the helm, installing Albers and Colin Kolles to run the team in the short term.
Although results look little better than they did under Fernandes' stewardship – Kamui Kobayashi finished 15th and 16th in Britain and Germany, with rookie team-mate Marcus Ericsson following up a DNF at Silverstone with 18th at Hockenheim – Albers believes that the team is moving in the right direction with just one race remaining before the summer break.
“We now have completed two races since taking over the team and I have to say I am pleased with the progress we are making,” the Dutchman claimed, “In Germany, the gap to our competitors was closer than it has been for several races and we are definitely aiming to continue that progress in Hungary.
“We can keep making small but significant improvements across the whole team, both on track and at the factory, and they will contribute to our ongoing development.”
With long-time nemesis Marussia having finally opened its points account in Monaco this season, Caterham languishes at the bottom of the constructors' table, with a surprisingly off-form Sauber squad for company on zero points.
Hampered by a less-than-competitive Renault engine on recent circuits, Caterham will be hoping that the tight and twisting Hungaroring plays a little more to the V6's strength this weekend.
“The Hungaroring puts a focus on low speed driveability and engine response under braking,” Renault Sport's Cedrik Staudohar confirmed, “It's not a power sensitive track so having a driveable and energy efficient Power Unit will pay dividends here.
“Energy recovery isn't a problem, as just about every corner is low to medium speed, so the MGU-K will recover under braking while the MGU-H can recharge on the short bursts of power. Making efficient use of the power is however very important as the long race distance and long lap means we'll be on the limit for fuel consumption.”
Despite seeing Kobayashi's car go up in flames in Friday practice in Germany, the team isn't concerned that the likely heat in Budapest will see a repeat.
“The energy recovery system will be highly solicited but the ICE will have a relatively easy ride as the track is not power sensitive,” Staudohar noted, “The ambient heat does give us some worry, but we got on top of the effect of the high temperatures in Germany last week. Power sensitivity and outright engine power are not a major concern so we will use an ICE on final race of its lifecycle.”
Both Kobayashi and Ericsson have reason to think fondly of the Hungarian circuit, and the Swede, in particular, is hoping for a trouble-free weekend.
“For the last couple of races, I've had a few issues that compromised my race before it started, so I'm targeting a clean weekend with maximum track time, especially in quali after what happened in Hockenheim,” the rookie commented.
“I've always had great support in Hungary. It's one of the races a lot of Swedish fans come to and, after seeing so many Swedish flags in Germany, I'm looking forward to the same at the Hungaroring. This time, I want to give them something to cheer for all weekend, especially on Sunday, so it's important we have good reliability across the whole package, giving us the chance to fight in quali and race properly on Sunday.”
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