The Caterham F1 team arrive in Montreal now down in eleventh in the Constructors’ Championship and still pointless. They now hold the record of the longest time without scoring a point in F1 outright after Marussia finally scored points with Jules Bianchi in Monaco. Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi and Swede Marcus Ericsson are both hoping that another race of attrition will help them get off the bottom of the standings.
Kobayashi will be making his fourth Canadian Grand Prix start this weekend, and has a best finish of seventh for Sauber back in 2011. He was disappointed by the result last time out in Monaco in what he described as a ‘crazy race’. He feels the team would need its own ‘crazy race’ if they are to score points like Marussia managed in Monaco.
“Race seven is Montreal in Canada, one of the most popular races of the year and one where the weather can play a very big part in the race,” said Kobayashi. “At the moment the forecasts look dry For Friday, Saturday and Sunday but if that changes it could definitely be in our favour and we need to make sure we’re ready to take anything that comes our way.
“I was in the factory last week to start preparations for Canada and even though Monaco didn’t end for me as we’d planned, despite us doing everything we could, everyone is still fighting harder than ever. Crazy races like we had last week don’t come too often, but when they do we need to be ready and after talking to a lot of the team last week I know that they are all focused on making progress, not looking back at what might have been.
“On track Canada is a good place to go racing. The local fans are very passionate and knowledgeable – seeing the whole track full on a Thursday with people really excited about F1 being back is great as it shows just what it means to them to have us race in their home town, and that’s good for everyone in the sport. I’ve had a couple of points finishes in Canada in 2011 and 2012 and it would obviously be cool to have the same again this year – as I say, that will probably take a crazy race but if that happens I’ll be prepared ready, as will the whole team.”
Unlike Kobayashi, team-mate Ericsson will be making his first start in Canada this weekend, and is looking forward to the race. He comes to Montreal on the back of his best result to date of eleventh in Monaco, which also matched the teams’ highest finish in F1, matching the finish of Russian driver Vitaly Petrov in the Brazilian Grand Prix of 2012.
“This will be my first race in Canada and after everything I’ve heard about Montreal and the track I can’t wait to get started,” said Ericsson. “Even though there were obviously mixed feelings in the team after Monaco, I have to say I was pretty happy with how it went for me. After starting from the pitlane I finished my first ever F1 Monaco GP in 11th, equalling the team’s highest ever position and, even with what happened ahead, that could be really important later this season.
“That sort of finish, in a race where a lot of cars didn’t make it to the flag, is all part of my continuing development as an F1 driver, and I’m sure that experience will help me in Canada and for the rest of the season as we keep battling.
“The actual Canada circuit looks like it’ll be a good challenge. It’s quick, especially for what is almost a street circuit, we run pretty low downforce as there are several high speed sections and one of the main things we’ll be working on in the free practice sessions is braking – we need to make sure the brake cooling is optimised throughout the weekend, and watch brake wear, especially in preparing for the race itself. After Monaco I’m definitely ready to get back to work, and it’ll be good to start again at another new track and one which everyone tells me is going to be an amazing race weekend.”
For the first free practice session of the weekend, American test driver Alexander Rossi will get some seat time. He also ran the same session back in 2013 with the team, and is looking forward to getting behind the wheel of this years car for the first time and working through the programme Caterham entrust him to do.
“FP1 in Montreal will be my first drive of the year in the 2014 F1 car, but after the amount of laps I’ve done in the sim with CT05 I’m already pretty familiar with how it’ll be inside the cockpit,” said Rossi. “Obviously it’s not quite the same as actually being out on track, but I have a lot of F1 mileage under my belt with the various FP1s and test days I’ve completed and having driven in FP1 in Canada last year I know I can go straight to work and help the team complete its plan for the session.
“I’m grateful to Caterham for their continual support with my development as an F1 driver, in the F1 car again in Canada this weekend and Austin later this year. The chances for young drivers like me to be in current-season cars on track are very limited, and obviously every lap counts over a race weekend but the fact the team sees that I can add value from the work I do in the car, and they can keep helping me to learn, shows great support and how committed they are to developing young talent.
“Now I’m focused on Friday morning. The weather should hopefully be dry so if that stays true we should have a full session run and be out as the green lights come on – if it rains then so be it, I’ll still be focused 100% on the job the team asks me to do.”