Caterham F1 Team Principal Manfredi Ravetto has come out to deny the apparent claims of lead driver Kamui Kobayashi and members of the press that the Japanese driver was instructed to retire from the Russian Grand Prix with a healthy car to save on engine mileage.
The recently appointed Team Principal insisted that Kobayashi’s car was showing signs of having a braking issue, so it was for safety concerns that the team retired the car.
“I was very surprised to hear Kamui referring to some mileage-saving instruction coming from the team’s management,” said Ravetto. “We saw via telemetry that there was a potential issue with the brakes and we decided to avoid any risks. Kamui officially confirmed this as well and I’d like to add that he had also asked us to change the previous set before qualifying because he felt some vibration.
“To be clear: yes, we instructed Kamui to retire because the safety of our drivers is our first concern! Regarding Kamui’s comment, all I can say – and again, I’m answering with facts – is that the team has continuously made progress since the British Grand Prix.
“We’ve managed to qualify very well in the last two races, getting very close to Q2, and in Suzuka we repaired Kamui’s heavily damaged car in time for the next session without any problems, so I cannot understand his comment.”
Ravetto also was unhappy with the current Caterham management team coming under fire for the financial state of the team, with the Team Principal insisting was caused by the previous regime led by Tony Fernandes, who left the team earlier this season.
“Knowing that this team, under previous ownership, was due to stop racing before the British Grand Prix, we – the new management – are proud of having completed not only the European season but also the Asian season,” insisted Ravetto. “This gives us confidence to approach the last three fly-away races in America and the Middle-East with an extra-boost: our performance is steadily improving and recent results plus our great qualifying performance in Sochi are putting us on a level the team has hardly shown previously. ”We are on a high and we keep fighting day after day, even if there are a few negative comments or scepticism from some people who would be happy to see us failing: we can live with this, we have no problem at all.
“What we do is answer with facts, starting with the technical improvement of the car and stabilizing of the team’s financial side – but we just want to remind everybody that we are those brave ones who try to fire fight; we are not the ones who left the team in a critical status!
“I can tolerate misinterpretations on everything except this. And, by the way, we historically seem to be quite successful in contradicting the rumour mill…”