sport

Caterham in confident mood

Caterham team principal Cyril Abiteboul has no doubt his marque will play a key role in the F1 show this season despite a recent overhaul.

It was only by the skin of their teeth Caterham managed to snatch the coveted and lucrative 10th position in the constructors' championship from Marussia last year courtesy of Vitaly Petrov's 11th place in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Petrov and, more surprisingly, team-mate Heikki Kovalainen have since departed as Abiteboul has opted for a fresh pairing, signing Charles Pic from Marussia and promoting Giedo van der Garde from reserve to race driver.

With Abiteboul himself only in charge for four months after taking up the reins from owner Tony Fernandes who could no longer devote the time required to his F1 operation, and with the new headquarters in Leafield only seven months old, these are fresh new days for the team.

"On the surface it may look like we're starting 2013 in a similar position to 2012, but inside the team it is very different," said Abiteboul.

"We have a base in Oxfordshire in which we now control all elements of the design and production in-house.

"The wind tunnel we use has been upgraded to meet our exact specifications and is now producing results that turn into definite improvements.

"We are continuing to improve the efficiencies and working practices within the team so we can compete both on track and as a viable business with a secure long-term future, and we are bringing in talented people at all levels to keep pushing us forwards."

It is the car, however, that is naturally the key to their success and whether they can score a point in the sport for the first time after three blank years.

The driver pairing is undoubtedly a gamble, yet Abiteboul added: "Both are young, determined to succeed and eager to help the team achieve its goals.

"At the end of 2012 we were a central part of the F1 show, and I have told both drivers to be ready to be part of the show in 2013.

"Maybe not right at the start, but with what we have coming to the car during the season, we can be confident we are going to attract interest in us for the right reasons."

Overall, Abiteboul believes Caterham is now the complete package and in a position to deliver.

"We have the facilities, the people and the infrastructure we need to take the next step forwards," said Abiteboul.

"We will do that in a calm, measured way, one that is grounded in a realistic view of the highly competitive world in which we operate.

"But we will do it with the greatest possible level of energy, passion and enthusiasm."