Despite both drivers losing out at the end of the Austrian Grand Prix to Marussia, both Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson were happy with the improved performance of their Caterham-Renault car at the Red Bull Ring. After struggling for pace, especially in Canada the previous round, the team worked hard on the set-up of their cars that enabled both drivers to push harder in Austria, something they will hope to achieve again this weekend when Silverstone hosts the British Grand Prix.
Kobayashi is hoping to build on the result in Austria where, although the Japanese driver lost out to Jules Bianchi’s Marussia at the end of the race, he was happier with the improved performance of the car and is hoping to close the gap to those in front even more at Silverstone.
“The British Grand Prix is our second home race of the season and one everybody likes for many reasons,” said Kobayashi. “For the drivers it’s a good challenge as it’s one of the classic circuits, and the fans love it as there are so many F1 supporters in the UK. I am always amazed at how enthusiastic British motorsport fans are and I am excited about seeing them – It’s one of the good ones.
“On track we’re obviously aiming to pick up from where we were in Austria. I’ve been speaking to the guys at the factory a lot since they returned from Austria and we think that we can start with the good baseline set-up on Friday. We’ve had a chance to look in much more detail at the data from Austria and know where we need to go to cut the gap even more and that’s the goal.
“With the improved reliability we had at the last race, and the nature of the Silverstone circuit, I think it could be a good weekend for us. Whatever happens, I’m sure the fans will enjoy every second, and our aim is to give those in green something to cheer for.”
Rookie team-mate Ericsson agrees with his more experienced team-mate, and the young Swede is hoping to continue the progress shown in Austria. He is hoping the aerodynamic package they will be bringing to Silverstone will give them another improvement as they aim to get themselves off the bottom of the championship tables.
“Next it’s my first British Grand Prix as an F1 driver at one of the great circuits of the season, Silverstone,” said Ericsson. “I understand it’s the 50th anniversary of the race this year and there’s obviously so much history about the place – honestly it’ll be an honour to race there in its 50th year and I’m sure it’ll be a special weekend for everyone taking part.
“I’ve obviously raced at Silverstone many times before – I was on the podium back in 2011 in GP2 and one of the things that really makes Silverstone stand out is the fans. It’s like Austria was last week, and Germany and a few other races – it’s packed right from Thursday morning until late Sunday night and that makes an amazing atmosphere. The British fans are among the most knowledgeable, passionate fans anywhere, and they absolutely love F1, whatever the weather!
“For us this is another chance to keep fighting back against our nearest rivals and after we made some progress in Austria we want to pick up where we left off. Silverstone should actually suit the car better than Austria as we’ve been working on improving further the set-up that allows us to maximise the aero package, and at a track like Silverstone, where aero performance is crucial, we’re aiming to build on the step forward we made in Austria.”
Reserve driver Robin Frijns is taking part in his first free practice session since the Bahrain Grand Prix at Silverstone, and the Dutchman looking forward to finding out how the Caterham has developed in that time.
“I’m back in the 2014 car for the first time since Bahrain and excited about getting back in the cockpit and helping us make some progress again, and seeing how the car has developed since early April,” said Frijns. “I was in our 2010 car a couple of weeks ago at the City Racing event in Kazan, Russia, and that was cool, but the real work is in the current season car in an official session and that’s what Friday morning is all about.
“The last few races have obviously been pretty tough for the team, but we clearly made some progress in Austria and we think we can do the same again at Silverstone, a track where we should see more from the set-ups we ran on Saturday and Sunday at the Red Bull Ring. Hopefully the weather will be good, not something that you can ever guarantee in England, but with us being able to use two sets of tyres in FP1 sunshine will help us get the most out of the session, for me and the whole team.”