Season review: Caterham


Constructors’ Championship: 10th
Points: 0


Vitaly Petrov
Points: 0
Best qualifying: 18th
Best race result: 11th

Heikki Kovalainen
Points: 0
Best qualifying: 16th
Best race result: 13th


  • Clinching 10th place in the championship standings at the final race of the season.
  • Kovalainen making Q2 for the first time in 2012 in Bahrain – although he didn’t actually run so he could save his soft tyres.
  • Almost being in sight of Toro Rosso on a couple of occasions.

Caterham, née Team Lotus, once again promised a lot at the start of the season. This may have been to attract some sponsorship interest, but the switch to Renault power from Cosworth was certainly a step in the right direction.

Come the start of the season reality soon dawned for the ‘best of the rest’ – this would not be the year that it closed in on the midfield. The problem is that even though Petrov managed an 11th-place finish in Brazil the team never looked like breaking into the points. A matter that’s made particularly hard thanks to the bulletproof reliability of much of the field (I know, I know – even McLaren struggled on occasion).

As the season progressed the car did anything but. Petrov, who had started the season strongly against Kovalainen, continued to be a threat to the Finn whenever he made a mistake, something he did on too many occasions for a driver of his calibre.

The main things to come out of Caterham’s season were there words ‘solid’ and ‘unspectacular’. However, that may partly be thanks to the usual season-opening ‘we’ll be fighting for podiums soon’ announcements.

Kovalainen looked absolutely gutted in Brazil when he was contesting his final race for the team. He looked like the world was coming to an end. Yes, he signed a long-term deal with the team, but that was surely in the ‘knowledge’ that it would be moving up the grid, that he could be a part of Lotus’s legacy and not Caterham’s catastrophe. OK, catastrophe is too strong, but again – that’s what happens when you make bold promises…

The end of Kovalainen’s contract may be a blessing in disguise, as his talent will be better showcased in other places. Charles Pic, who will race for Caterham next year, may well find himself fighting his old team Marussia, jumping from the frying pan and into the fire, if Caterham can’t find a way forward. There are plenty of talented people in the team so never say never. Just don’t say you definitely will come January 2013.

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