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Caterham hopes to close gap with upgrades

19 June 2012

Caterham is hopeful that upgrades planned for the upcoming races will help the team move forwards to challenge its rivals ahead.

Hopes were high that the team would break into the midfield this season, although so far, the former Lotus outfit has remainded in the same position ahead of its fellow new teams but behind the established order.

A series of upgrades will be introduced this weekend in Valencia and then at the British Grand Prix as Caterham seeks to make forwards progress and technical director Mark Smith said he expected the team to start moving up the grid.

“We expect to be much closer to the cars ahead than we were last year, giving us a chance perhaps to put one of our cars into Q2 and giving the drivers a real chance to race on Sunday,” he said. “We have a couple of quite significant updates coming in Valencia and Silverstone – we will take a look at a number of new aerodynamic elements in Valencia as well as some minor modifications to the floor, and even though we will not know exactly what they will give us until we get out on track, we are cautiously optimistic they will help us keep edging ever closer to the midfield.”

Team boss Tony Fernandes admitted that the upgrades alone wouldn't be enough to take Caterham firmly into the midfield but said he was confident that the team will score a point before the season is over.

“At the next two F1 races, in Valencia and Silverstone, we will see the fruits of the hard work being done by everyone at the factory with a number of important upgrades on the cars,” he said. “While we are honest enough with ourselves to know that these upgrades alone will not be enough to force our way into the midfield pack, we do know it is a statement of our intent to join the group just ahead that we are updating the car at the same rate or even more quickly than our rivals.

"We have the people and resources in place to achieve our goal of scoring a point this year, and we are edging ever closer to a group of cars that is now tantalisingly close.”

On track, Vitaly Petrov said he was optimistic that the team would be strong in the upcoming races.

"I think the Valencia race and the next one at Silverstone could be pretty positive for our team," he said. "We have a few updates coming onto the cars at the next two races, and we keep seeing how the gap to the teams ahead is closing, little by little. That is the aim this year - work as hard as we can to get to the point where we're racing a couple of cars ahead and then see where we go from there. We were closer than ever to Q2 on merit in qualifying in Canada, so let's see what the upgrades we're bringing to Valencia and Silverstone help us do."


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