Caterham eye Q2 with upgraded car
Caterham Technical Director Mark Smith is not ruling out the possibility of his team making a rare Q2 appearance in Valencia on the back of car upgrades.
Last Updated: 19/06/12 10:20am
Caterham Technical Director Mark Smith is not ruling out the possibility that the team could make a rare Q2 appearance in Valencia this weekend on the back of the introduction of the first of two upgrade packages over the coming races.
The Norfolk-based team continue to edge towards the back of the midfield pack, particularly in race conditions, and Smith says the next two races in Spain and then Silverstone will see them roll out some "significant updates" aimed at further bridging the gap.
At the last race in Canada both Caterham drivers outqualified the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne, while Heikki Kovalainen got within 0.7s of a Q2 berth, and Smith is optimistic the introduction of further aerodynamic updates on the CT01 will only help move them even closer to a midfield breakthrough.
"With DRS engaged I suspect we will see similar levels of overtaking to 2011."The difference this year for us is that we expect to be much closer to the cars ahead than we were last year, giving us a chance perhaps to put one of our cars into Q2 and giving the drivers a real chance to race on Sunday," Smith said.
"We have a couple of quite significant updates coming in Valencia and Silverstone - we will take a look at a number of new aerodynamic elements in Valencia as well as some minor modifications to the floor, and even though we will not know exactly what they will give us until we get out on track, we are cautiously optimistic they will help us keep edging ever closer to the midfield."
After encouraging race performances in both Monaco and Canada, Team Principal Tony Fernandes shares Smith's optimism for the forthcoming races and reckons the team remains capable of opening their F1 points account before the end of the season.
"These are very exciting times for everyone associated with Caterham F1 Team and the wider Caterham Group," the Malaysian said.
"At the next two F1 races, in Valencia and Silverstone, we will see the fruits of the hard work being done by everyone at the factory with a number of important upgrades on the cars. While we are honest enough with ourselves to know that these upgrades alone will not be enough to force our way into the midfield pack, we do know it is a statement of our intent to join the group just ahead that we are updating the car at the same rate or even more quickly than our rivals.
"We have the people and resources in place to achieve our goal of scoring a point this year, and we are edging ever closer to a group of cars that is now tantalisingly close."