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Highs and lows for Caterham at Silverstone
9 July 2012
Caterham Racing team principal Tony Fernandes summed up the last few days in the British Grand Prix as "A weekend of real highs and lows, for me and the whole team," but undoubtedly the worst moment came in the half hour before the start of the race when Vitaly Petrov's car broke down on its way to the starting grid.
"The race clearly did not start as we had planned with Vitaly suffering an engine failure before he even reached the grid," said Fernandes.
The team's technical director Mark Smith added: "Vitaly unfortunately suffered an engine failure on his first lap out of the pits on his way to the grid and that was it for his race."
"I am obviously disappointed to have had my race end before I had even reached the grid," said the driver himself. "The car suffered engine failure on my first lap out of the pitlane and I had to pull it to the side just before the entrance to the pitlane.
"The crew pushed it back to the garage but it was immediately clear that the problem was terminal and that was the end of the race. These things sometimes happen in racing so there is no point looking back at it," he shrugged.
Fernandes praised the way that Petrov and all of the team personnel handled the situation: "It was good to see how well he and the team dealt with that disappointment."
And there had been much to take heart from at Silverstone for Caterham, including Heikki Kovalainen's solid and trouble-free run to 17th.
"That was a pretty uneventful race for me. I drove as hard as I could with the car we had today and was pretty much on my own for the whole race," said Kovalainen. "It was just about making sure I didn't make any mistakes so we could take advantage of what happened in front."
Even Petrov was heartened by the progress the team had made at Silverstone, at least right up until his engine failure.
"This has been a positive weekend," the Russian driver insisted. "The car has worked well in each session and I've been really pleased with how the engineers and mechanics have helped us keep making steps forward with the setup. Even though we had very limited running with the updates it was immediately clear that we have put more downforce on the car and with more time on track we will be able to work on fine-tuning the setups that will let us get the most out of the car at the next race."
The next opportunity Caterham will have to test their progress will be at Hockenheim in ten days, when the German Grand Prix weekend gets under way.
"I think at the next race we'll be stronger," said Kovalinen. "We'll have had more time to work on the updates we brought here and hopefully we'll be able to keep bringing down the gap to the cars ahead."
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