Christijan Albers: “We’ve Started to move Forward”

The Caterham F1 Team had a tough race around the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium, with Marcus Ericsson the only driver to see the chequered flag down in seventeenth position after Andre Lotterer was forced to retire early on in the race with a mechanical issue. They continue to prop up the Constructors’ championship as the upgrades brought to the circuit appeared to do very little to bring them closer to the pack, despite Team Principal Christijan Albers saying otherwise.

Lotterer’s debut ended early when he was forced to stop on track when his engine switched itself off on the second lap, but he was happy to have had the opportunity to make his F1 debut. He thanked the team for opportunity, but appreciated that in motor sport anything could happen.

“I didn’t even get to sweat unfortunately,” said Lotterer. “I was really looking forward to a good race and I had a good start, but then I went a bit wide at turn 17 and there was a sudden loss of power. The team and Renault will have to investigate this tonight and see what happened. It’s a shame, but I am pleased with my race weekend – I made no mistakes and did a reasonably good job. Of course it would’ve been fantastic to finish the race and do a whole Grand Prix, but it’s still been an amazing weekend. I can go home happy even though it didn’t really end the way I would’ve liked it to.

“I want to thank Caterham F1 Team for this amazing opportunity – it’s been fantastic to experience Formula 1, I got a lot of support and the team has been great. It’s frustrating to have only completed two laps of the race, but this is motorsport and these things happen.”

Team-mate Ericsson was embroiled in an almost race-long battle with the Marussia of Max Chilton, but unfortunately for the Swede, it would be the British driver that came out on top, overtaking him on the penultimate lap of the race. He felt the team had made progress with their upgraded car, but appreciates they still have a long way to go before being in position to move into tenth place in the championship.

“I did a very decent start but then I was a bit unlucky in the first corner and I didn’t gain any positions,” said Ericsson. “But I got a really good run after Eau Rouge and managed to overtake Chilton at turn 5. After that it was a long race fighting him – he put a lot of pressure on me throughout the whole race and it was really tough to keep it behind, even though I managed to do just that for pretty much the whole race. Unfortunately he overtook me with only two laps to go, which was of course very frustrating as it would’ve been nice to beat him.

“With the performance we’ve had this weekend I think we can be quite happy with the race I did. I’m happy with both the teams and my work and now we just need to work even harder to continue to develop the car and push forward. I feel we have really taken a step forward this weekend here in Belgium and we just need to build on that and keep pushing.”

Team Principal Albers felt the team did a solid job at Spa-Francorchamps, but was disappointed that Lotterer’s race ended before it could really begin. He praised the work and the feedback the German provided the team and insisted the team will continue to press with their upgrades to enable them to at least try and make progress.

“The team has done a solid job this weekend, we’ve started to move forward,” said Albers. “Marcus drove a strong race and was able to fight for positions during all 44 laps. It’s a real shame that André was only able to race for one full lap before retiring – his weekend up until then had been close to perfect and he has certainly provided us with very useful feedback that will help to continue developing the car.

“We have a very busy next two weeks ahead, as we carry on working to bring more updates to the next race in Italy. It’s been a positive start, but now we need to build on this and make sure we get stronger every race. I have total confidence in the team and I know that they are going to give their very best to keep improving the car. We are going in the right direction.”