A double retirement in Montreal for the Caterham F1 team saw them remain eleventh out of eleven in the 2014 Formula One Constructors Championship, and both Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson were seen fighting the car on numerous occasions in Canada. It was off the pace in Montreal but the team are hopeful to be closer to the pace in Austria this time around.
Kobayashi retired early in Montreal and is hopeful of a good weekend for the team as they remain rooted to the bottom of the Constructors’ Championship. The Japanese driver admits the pace of the Caterham is not where it should be but he will not give up in his quest to move the team up the grid, starting this weekend at the Austrian Grand Prix.
“The Red Bull Ring is a completely new circuit for me,” said Kobayashi. “I’ve seen a lot of on-boards of the track and it’ll be a good challenge. It’s quick, some of it really fast, and there’s a couple of big braking zones so, as usual, getting the set-up right is going to be crucial. However, until I’ve actually driven there I don’t want to make any predictions about what it’ll be like for us so let’s see when we get on track. Whatever happens, I’m sure it’ll be a good weekend for the fans, and hopefully for us too.
“To be totally honest we would benefit a lot from a good weekend. We were unlucky again in Canada, with both cars having to retire because of reliability issues, something we’ve been focusing on from our side all year, and something Renault have improved dramatically from the early part of the season. Even though our pace in the early part of the Canadian GP was not where it should have been, our simulations have shown that, had we finished, we’d have been closer to the pack than it may have looked at the point where I had to retire, so this weekend it’s important we cross the line. We have to finish the races so we can be there if and when it counts, and that’s one of the main goals this weekend.”
Like his team-mate, Ericsson has never raced at the Red Bull Ring before. He knows the history of the circuit however. He is also hoping for a reliable weekend after barely lasting six laps in Montreal two weeks ago. He believes a good weekend will be the confidence boost the whole team needs after a disappointing 2014 to date.
“I’ve never raced in Austria before so it’ll be really interesting to go to a brand new track for me, even though I’m well aware of the history of the circuit,” said Ericsson. “A bit like Monaco, Ronnie Peterson won there so it’ll be another race I go to in his footsteps and after Monaco, where I met his daughter Nina, that means even more to me so, honestly, I can’t wait!
“It’ll also be good to be able to get back in the car after only a few laps of the race in Canada. We’d had a hard weekend until that point anyway, so an early DNF was even more hard to take, but I came straight back to the factory with the boys after the race and everyone just went straight back to work to prepare for the next race.
“So, Austria and what looks like will be a quick track. It looks relatively simple, but, like everywhere we race, getting the balance right all weekend is a real challenge, especially for the downhill right at turn three and then through four and into the quick lefts at five and six. You’ll need a good flow through there, and for the whole lap, so you can build up a rhythm and really push and that’s what I want to do for the whole weekend. It would be good to leave Austria in a positive note – it’s been a while since we had one and with the big efforts everyone’s putting in across the team the whole time, I think it’s something we could do with.”