Caterham CT01, 2012

Fernandes: scoring a point “has to be the aim” in 2012

2012 F1 cars

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Caterham CT01, 2012
A close-up view of the CT01's nose

Tony Fernandes says Caterham must score its first points in Formula 1 in 2012.

Speaking after the team revealed its 2012 F1 car he said: “Target wise, I have been quoted as saying I want us to score a point this year and that really has to be the aim. It has to be.

“Towards the end of last year we were so close to the midfield cars, but our lack of KERS limited our capabilities.

“This year, however, with the people and facilities we have in the factory and the wind tunnel, and with KERS, I am confident that we will become a danger to many of the midfield teams, and yes, I want us to achieve a point somewhere in 2012 – maybe two if we are very lucky.”

Fernandes also commented on the reaction to the car’s unusual appearance: “As long as it is quicker than last year’s car I don’t think the looks matter, and I am sure that when all the other cars are unveiled we will see a pretty common thread running through all of them.

“I actually think it’s beautiful. It’s different, and different does not equal ugly – in fact I think its difference is what makes it beautiful, but then I am probably a bit biased.”

Fernandes said he was “thrilled” that the CT01 was the first of the 2012 cars to appear. He added: “This car represents another step forward for us.

“The detail right across the whole package is light years ahead of where we were when we first started out, and we are all excited about seeing what it can do when we get on track. I’m also very pleased that we were able to show our fans the car so soon.”

The team planned to reveal the first images of the car in a magazine today, but the pictures appeared online yesterday. Fernandes said: “Our aim has always has been to be as open and interactive as possible, allowing our fans a real look inside our team.

“By launching the car through F1 Racing magazine, I feel we’ve been able to give our fans a unique first look at where we’re heading and what Caterham is all about. Maybe next year I’ll tweet a picture of the car to launch it.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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41 comments on “Fernandes: scoring a point “has to be the aim” in 2012”

  1. I love how he talks about the car. That’s the love of F1 right there.

    I think a point is a good target. Not out of reach, but still a big step.

    I hope they beat it by a mile. Gotta love the underdogs.

    1. EXACTLY! I always love the underdog. Hence, being a huge Webber fan lol! I have a bet with my mate that Caterhams can score 10 points within the first 5 races. It’s only for a pint so not too risky a bet haha. Really hope they can grab a few points, at least by the end of the season. I think they should be eyeing no less than 9th in the final standings this year.

      1. No doubt I’m not the only one who hopes you win your bet :P

  2. Those photographers from Caterham F1 Team sure know how to tease the fans here at f1 fanatic. Just release a team picture of the car.

  3. I must say I completely agree with him. The objective has to be scoring a point this year, may it be lucky or justified. On the other hand I feel his arguments don’t really stick: when looking at Williams last year, they were somewhere at the back of midfield most of the time with a few, very few exceptions where they took their chance to score point. Therefore I must say reaching the back of the midfield this season won’t be enough to score a point, there has to be more. Either a track that really suits their car or a kind of chaos race and if those occur they have to be there to take advantage.
    OR maybe their car is great, then all the above is irrelevant.

    1. Your example with Williams shows that the team at the back of the midfield will occasionally score a point. Tony’s aim is to have a similar season to what Williams had last year. Thats all. Dont see a problem with that.

      1. To score a point they have to finish ahead of Toro Rosso, Sauber, Force India and Williams. If you float in that group you can score a point, if you reach the back of that group you can’t (because there are 8 cars to beat and yours is -narrowly- the slowest). So to me, reaching the back of the pack isn’t enough to be a contender for points. I think they’ll need a good opportunity to score one but I think scoring that “freak” point is the next step they have to make.
        But as I said above, I’m hopeful they made a car that actually floats in the midfield group so they can score a point on merit.

        1. If Caterham beat that 4 teams (8 cars) you mentioned then still zero point if no retiremet from Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Merc and Lotus.

          1. There are always those special races when the top teams have problems. The races where those top 5 teams all finish in top 10 are not in majority.

            The midfield is extremely mobile in the sense of where the teams end up on any given weekend. One weekend force india may be really strong while on others toro rosso may look really good. The fact is that Caterham did not have to be much faster last season to score a top 10 finish. Of course reliability is really good in this day’s f1 so getting points in a minardi is a lot more difficult than it was ears before. Couple of points should still not be out of reach. With kers and just a tiny bit faster car they can definitely pull that off at caterham imho.

          2. You probably right in other way around. But that’s not the point. What I’ve said, apart from the midfield cars he mentioned there are (expected) five front runner Teams with 10 cars in total.

  4. This is one of the saddest things about F1 – watching how my favourite driver drives as if there was no tomorrow but scoring even one point is still a big challenge for him just because the car ain’t good enough. And that’s for the third year in a row. Same procedure as every year Heikki.

    1. I love the competition fighting for the last point because when it’s guys like these (Or Badoer in a Minardi) you know how much it means to them.

    2. only thing for heiki, is he had a year to prove himself at mclaren and didnt do very good at all, so his fate was seeled. i think he has improved, and would now be much closer to hamilton, he would probably achieve results like button in the mclaren now, but that is f1, he had his chance in a top car and failed, so others have to be given a go before him now.

      1. Not sure how you can say someone who stood on the top step of the podium in that year has failed???

        Its well known that Briatore kicked all the confidence out of Heikki and he had to rebuild himself over that year. A good season in the Caterham could see him return to a top team imho.

        1. Hamilton won the championship that year and Heikki finished not only below both Ferraris but also behind a BMW and finished i guess 7th in championship IIRC. Thats huge differences between teammates.

          In 2009, during 2nd half of the season – Mclaren had considerably improved and hamilton had podiums and wins but all heikki did was finish barely in points behind much slower ferraris, toyotas etc.

          You can’t really say he didn’t get enough chances. 1 year in a decent renault and 2 years in Mclaren – what more can he ask for ??

          1. Seventh. He was behind Hamilton; Ferraris; BMWs; and Alonso. @mattdavis yes he won; but he won 1 race; compared to some… 5(?) victories by Lewis in 2008. He won 1 race; in the championship-winning car.

            The Heikki of 2011 is undoubtedly a much better driver. His performance; when compared to his new-team rivals; was comparable to how Vettel performed. But his 2008 was still undboutedly disappointing.

          2. I guess I’m one of those people who values “The Win” more than the overall end of year result – bet that’s also what Heikki will remember from that year.

  5. I tip them to end up genuinely beating one of the midfield teams and Heikki scoring those “virgin” points for Caterham, in favorable circumstances of course, because math doesn’t give them much chances if nothing unexpected happens. But this is F1, expect the unexpected, unless you’re in Valencia.

  6. Score a point!

    I think a bold technical innovation would be required….like rocket launchers!

    Oh wait they are moving aerodynamic devices…aw never mind.

  7. I think they will score a point or two from a chaotic race, but will still finish 10th in the championship.

  8. its pretty amazing that they are the first team to reveal their new car in 2012. it shows they are serious about actually make a step up. teams like minardi and hrt wouldnt have a car ready this early. this team could actually make a step up in the hardest sport in the world to make a step up. and the look of this car shows they havent just built a car to make up the numbers, they have built a car which is revolutionary rather then evolutionary, they are actually taking a gamble and building a car around serious research.

    1. Probably all cars will have a duck nose like that so i wouldn’t call it revolutionary

    2. ..but have they actually put the car together yet?

      Credit to them for being first to release pics but are there any ‘real’ pictures yet, I might of missed them?

      Really hope they can score a few points

  9. We’re blessed with a pretty solid midfield in recent times; Sauber, Toro Rosso, Williams, Lotus and Force India are pretty much interchangable when I try to predict the running order for next year. If Caterham can get into that group then they’re doing a great job.

  10. I have a feeling I’ve heard this story already… I wish they’ll achieve their goal this season.

  11. I think it’s a pretty poor car launch if no quality images are released online.

    1. I guess the target was to get the Caterham name buzzing all over the internet. It worked.

      But I do agree it would be preferrable to actually have a chance to see something on good high-res pics.

      1. Exactly, their car’s nose just bought them more publicity then anything Fernandes or Mike Gascoyne might have said/done over the last 2 years.

        Sure, its not all been good comments made about the car, but they’ve thrown themselves forward to show their car and get the buzz going, rather then slipping in their launch when someone else is and they’d never get the same publicity as they have now. Its clever marketing/thinking really.

        1. I don’t see why not do the same thing, but launch the pictures online, officially, the next day. I understand that they are ‘moody’ and dark, but at the very least you’d think they’d provide the current ones in full-size.

  12. Wow

    Imagine the hard sell to a sponsor where your goal is to MAYBE score a point this season. Don’t mean to be harsh but I would rather hear them talk about getting a win as a goal instead of a tenth place finish. Raise the confidence level of your team and its sponsors by setting goals that reflect the challenge of Formula One. Caterham needs to tell the world they are here to win and be scoring points on a regular basis. By doing so it will only benefit the team, its sponosrs and fans of Grand Prix racing.

    Although unlikely to happen it does sound better than only setting your sites on 10th place at one race among the twenty that are going to happen.

    HRT have taken to this philosophy by chasing their dreams in a more nationalistic manor. Why not? Get your team and country motivated and really go at it , doing everything possible to meet the goal.

    So to Caterham, good luck in 2012, the car looks very cool and I dig the nose of the car. Set higher goals and put yourself into a position win. Remember this game of Formula One is a game of varying parameters making it impossible to predict. Pretend, make believe and wishful thinking might dump a bunch of points into your bucket.

    Let the season begin.

    1. …have you ever watched a Formula 1 race? Come on now, how are they supposed to tell the world they intent to score a win this season? That’s ridiculous.

      I respect their goals; while being realistic, they’re still aiming for a position they’ve never been in before.

      1. Yeah Red Bull had the same stigma around them at one time….Then way back in the past there was a team called Williams and they also had high expectations and soon altered the history books.
        In case you were interested Roald I have seen nearly 600 Grand Prixs and am fully aware that teams come and go. Why not play big and role the dice on your chance?? Eventually might become eventually.

    2. Ted,

      Tony doesnt need to sell his team to sponsors…notice the liveries on the cars..they’re all brands that belong to Tony. Air Asia and Tune Group are the major liveries.

      Tony Fernandes has gone into F1 to sell his brands, its a marketing exercise, same reason why he purchased QPR. Im not doubting his passion for racing and football, but his main goal is business, thats why he’s there.

      1. When success comes then the names of sponsors will change, the floodgates of inbound money will open and the game they play will rise with the fortunes.

        Again why not play the game and pretend to be the next coming. Suckers are born everyday and success comes when least expected.

        I would really like to see this team become the surprise of the season. So far the car looks really cool and that is a good start.

        My personal reality check says that they wont get the job done but this season I am pulling for the underdogs.

  13. I hope they do get the points. Perhaps I’d like it to happen this season as unlike the last 2 seasons, they are racing under their own name.

    Sure, Tony F might have had the rights to Team Lotus last year, and leased the name Lotus before that. But they are Caterham now, their own name and team and able to make their own history in F1 and not piggyback on someone elses.

  14. It sounds like he is trying to convince himself that scoring a point should be their objective.
    He doesn’t sound like he yet believes that is their objective.

  15. When they came in in 2010; didn’t they have an elaborate “5-year plan” laid out? Something like starting in 2010; points in 2011; podiums in 2012; 2013 victories; and doing a championship tilt in 2014?

    1. Better not let Roald see this….

  16. I’m sure he does want the wins and championship; but the quality of the competition means he looks like an idiot if he says it. He has to be realistic….Williams, Sauber, FI, Lotus Renault and Mercedes are not idiots and they are not getting a sniff of a victory……in days gone by attrition was higher and you could get a point even though you needed to be sixth!! Not now!!

  17. It is their natural aim and I’m pretty confident they will do it this year. I think it will be more luck than virtue but a point is a point nonetheless.

  18. If they would just employ someone decent to partner Heikki rather than Mr “my power steering is broken all year” Trulli.

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