Caterham sign Charles Pic for 2013

2013 F1 season

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Caterham have confirmed Charles Pic will drive for them in 2013.

Pic has joined the team on a “multi-year” contract.

Team principal Cyril Abiteboul said: “We are thrilled that Charles has decided to join us for his second season in F1 and beyond. We are all looking forward to working with a young driver who has clearly shown in his first season in F1 that he has the pace, racecraft and demeanour to help us achieve our goals.

“Throughout the 2012 season we have been monitoring the progress that Charles has made, challenging us on several occasions in qualifying, and it is clear that he is a special talent. As the year has progressed he has performed extremely well against a very experienced team mate and we are looking forward to seeing him develop further within the environment we will provide in 2013 and beyond.

“We will continue growing together, and the energy and image he will bring to our team and his partners will be a very positive influence on the seasons that lie ahead. Being able to make this announcement before the end of the current season gives us the chance now to allow Charles and the team to prepare fully for the 2013 season and quickly learn how to maximise the performance benefits of the Renault Sport F1 and Red Bull Technology powertrain that will be new to him.”

Pic said: “I am very proud to be able to confirm that I am joining Caterham F1 Team next year and I’m looking forward to many seasons of successful racing co-operation.”

“I am very excited about starting my second year in F1 with a team that has so much potential,” he added. “Caterham F1 Team has everything in place to help it move into a position to fight with a number of teams ahead. I know how determined the team is to keep progressing and I am looking forward to playing my part in helping them move up the grid.”

With Pic joining the team for next year, one of Caterham’s current drivers will have to make way, leaving Heikki Kovalainen or Vitaly Petrov potentially without a drive in 2013.

Renault Sport F1 managing director Jean-Francois Caubet endorsed the hiring of a French driver, saying: “We are always motivated to see promising drivers in our partner teams and Charles is no exception.

“Additionally, France remains the largest Renault market and having another young, dynamic French driver join the Renault ‘stable’ will give us further branding, marketing and PR opportunities, both for our F1 involvement and road car range in France and the rest of Europe. We look forward to working with him closely over the coming years.”

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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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38 comments on “Caterham sign Charles Pic for 2013”

  1. Good stuff. I like Pic, good to see he’ll have a second season in F1.

  2. “Okay Charles, and this is the KERS-button.”

    “What’s a curse-button?”

    1. “They’re new for 2013, you bring them to the press conferences..”

      1. “Or, if you get on the podium, you can use it there as well.”

    2. “Use it to try and keep up with the Marussias.”

      A bit of a sideways move like Hulkenberg on current performance. But there’s loads of potential at Caterham – it seems well organised and backed, all they need is a decent car.

      I was expecting van der Garde, so this move is a pleasant surprise (unlike the completely unsurprising Sauber announcement, and the Williams one coming up) – it’s great to see him earning a better shot at F1, and I hope they can afford to keep Kovalainen too, as that’ll be a really strong line-up.

      1. @tomsk – Giedo van der Garde is tipped for the second Caterham seat.

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        23rd November 2012, 11:43

        You say sideways move but it isn’t – Caterham are clearly a much better team than Marussia.

        They look likely to finish ahead of Caterham Don’t be fooled by the FIAs rediculous system putting Marussia ahead because of one result – over the season Caterham have smashed them.

        Force India are ahead of Williams in the standings because they have performed better throughout the season and despite Williams winning a race, the standings are based on teh season. Why not the same for the teams outside the points?

        1. You say sideways move but it isn’t – Caterham are clearly a much better team than Marussia.

          While that might have been true for 2010 and 2011, it seems that after struggling to find their way, Marussia are now on a path of development, where Caterham seems to have reached a ceiling and is treading water.

          Taking pay-ish drivers (Petrov for this year, probably 2 of them for next year), saving on development for next year by using the current chassis as its base show they don’t expect to follow up on their plan of getting points in the near future.

          Its understandable when they take next year to solidify the base and put in a good amount of work for 2013 and onward, it does mean that Marussia could well beat them to tenth next again.

          1. petebaldwin (@)
            23rd November 2012, 12:29

            Fair enough although who finishes 10 isn’t based on performance – it’s purely based on luck and being in the right place at the right time.
            If there’s a freak race where lots of cars drop out, whoever finishes highest will finish 10th.. It doesn’t matter what happens for the rest of the season or who is the faster team.

          2. being in the right place at the right time.

            That works for most of the field though doesn’t it?

  3. I can’t help but think that this is a mistake on Caterham’s part. They’ve lost tenth place in the World Constructors’ Championship to Marussia, and they will really have to work at getting it back this weekend, even if they are ahead on raw race pace. While Pic has been pretty good compared to Timo Glock, they need someone skilled in car development to give themselves the push they need to take the place back. If Pic is only there it provide an influx of money to make that development push happen, then a lot is hinging on whoever takes the second seat. And with talk of Kovalainen leaving Formula 1 at the end of the year because he cannot find a seat elsewhere, Caterham might be forced to pick the best of a bad bunch.

    1. I must say that with a Pic, VdGarde line-up, and a car largely based on this years model, I don’t expect them to be beating Marussia next year, who seem to have finally found a development path to get them moving.
      Uninspiring and a bit of an abandonment of the bold words, and startegy used, at the start of the project. But maybe its just reality setting in at Caterham too.

      1. @bascb

        I must say that with a Pic, VdGarde line-up, and a car largely based on this years model, I don’t expect them to be beating Marussia next year, who seem to have finally found a development path to get them moving.

        The 2014 technical regulations were published in August last year. When Pat Symonds joined the team, Nikolai Fomenko secured funding for three years (yes, I know they apparently lost fifty million pounds this year) and Symonds started plotting out a three-year development window. The 2012 car was designed so that the 2014 car would be the natural extension of it.

        Caterham, on the other hand, appear to be developing their cars from year to year.

        1. Yes, it does look like, after a slow start (probably largely to do with having counted on that 40 million budget cap), Virgin/Marussia seems to have gotten onto a path forward.

          Caterham threw their first car together in a rush after they were allowed in at the last minute instead of Toyota (or BMW?). The car they built in 2010 for the 2011 season was much more promising, and its probably the same chassis they have developed further for this year and for this year. I guess using that as basis for next years car means giving up on further progress next year, apart from refining aero, instead putting in some effort for the years ahead.

          1. But won’t Caterham have an advantage in 2014, seeing as they have Renault power who are developing the 1.6 l V6 engines? Cosworth are probably not doing that and Renault have said that they do not want to supply the ‘smaller’ teams, one of which is Marussia?

      2. @prisoner-monkeys, @bascb, I do think Caterham are getting off the rails a bit while Marussia have found a clear, and promising, direction. Caterham thought that they could build a vastly improved new car each year, thus progressing quickly, but so far that hasn’t really worked. Maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to keep the current chassis and keep working on it, improving aero around it, but it makes it seem they are struggling, and with new drivers too, even if they turn out to be great, I too wouldn’t be surprised to see Marussia ahead next year either. You’d hope Caterham indeed get a solid basis down.

        1. Maybe having a rockstar and a TV presenter as an engineering director helps, as opposed to an outspoken, pot-bellied, money-minded businessman as a team principal(ex- now, of course).

  4. Well, that makes it the first ex-virgin (marussia) driver to actually manage to stay in F1 after his rookie season. Probably a wise move, as it was already looking like he would be replaced by Chilton long before his seat at Caterham was ever seen as likely.

    I think Pic has done a good job, and I hope he can show more of it in the years of his “multiple season” deal. But the fact that sponsorship packages were at least of as much, if not more, importance in sealing the deal than driver skills does make me feel a bit sad.
    Is there any chance of his being French also have played a role, not just for Total but also for Caterham’s engine partner and parter in Alpine – Renault?

    1. It seems he got out fast knowing whats happened to previous virgin/marussia drivers, revolving door rookies.
      And I don’t blame him with Max Chilton pretty much signed on for them next season.

    2. Seems so!

      “Additionally, France remains the largest Renault market and having another young, dynamic French driver join the Renault ‘stable’ will give us further branding, marketing and PR opportunities, both for our F1 involvement and road car range in France and the rest of Europe. We look forward to working with him closely over the coming years.”

      1. So it might have helped in negotiating on the pricing for the 2014 engine then to give him the multi year deal? Could well be @electrolite and @bascb!

    3. @bascb

      Is there any chance of his being French also have played a role, not just for Total but also for Caterham’s engine partner and parter in Alpine – Renault?

      I’ve heard that Total pushed for Pic to join Caterham, and that they will leave Lotus at the end of the season to join him … at the back of the grid. This move would pave the way for Maldonado and PDVSA to take Romain Grosjean’s place at Lotus; quite where Grosjean might go is unknown, though it seems that sponsors see him as something of a liability.

      This makes no real sense to begin with, and the sponsorship deal with Burn seems to remove a lot of the incentive for PDVSA to get involved with Lotus. The only possible instigator that I can think of is Williams deciding not to offer Maldonado a contract for 2013, prompting PDVSA to shop around and settle on Lotus. Maldonado might be unpopular with fans given his attitude, but being able to say that the team has two race winners from 2012 might be a huge draw-card for sponsors, and Maldonado has kept his nose clean for some time now.

      It may just be idle speculation in a blogosphere bored with a lack of movement in the driver market, but I find it telling that despite heaping praises and reassurances on Grosjean, Lotus and Eric Boullier haven’t offered him a contract for 2013 yet. And we know that they’ve got a history of holding onto their drivers until the last minute – they didn’t let Vitaly Petrov got until they knew they had Kimi Raikkonen in the bag. If they’re angling for Maldonado, they might keep stringing Grosjean along for the time being, just in case talks fall through.

      What does this have to do with Charles Pic moving to Caterham?

      Well, this isn’t a series of rumours that I’ve cobbled together from across the wider internet to form a picture that only vaguely represents reality. Pic moving to Caterham, Maldonado going to Lotus, Grosjean going nowhere and on top of that, Vitaly Petrov taking Maldonado’s seat at Williams are all part of the same rumour. Everywhere I look, these four names are mentioned in unison. And if the first move – Pic going from Marussia to Caterham – has happened, then I’m inclined to wonder whether the other moves play out as predicted.

    4. @bascb I was thinking about the money situation as well…but I came to the conclusion that his money is just as good at Marussia as it is at Caterham so I think there is a strong degree of merit here for Pic.

  5. I like Pic a lot ,he seems a promising driver. Do we know who’s taking his place in Marrusia?
    Maybe a switch with Petrov? A Russian driver in a Russian Team? Looks good to me.
    And even better , Kovalainen staying in Caterham… although i would like him in a better team but that’s no feasible.

    1. Almost certainly its going to be Chilton. That is expected for over a month now.

  6. Oh dear, with this they’d better keep Heikki.

  7. Wow – I’ve watched every race this year like a true F1 Fanatic, but I’ve only just found out that Charles Pic was racing at all this year. That probably says more about my observational skills, but still… has anyone see him do anything inspiring this year? Maybe I’ve missed something impressive…

    1. Generally outqualified and outraced Timo Glock, and on any given day has got the maximum out of the car and made a minimum of mistakes. No, he hasn’t done anything spectacular, but he’s in one of the worst cars on the grid so considering that, just having a solid, clean debut season is enough to tell you that he’s a decent little driver in prospect.

      1. I agree, a decent driver. He hasn’t been outqualified or outraced by him though.

      2. Generally outqualified and outraced Timo Glock

        @mazdachris, not according to the form guides:-

  8. Congrats to Pic, I’m really happy that he’s secured a seat for next season considering what happened to the previous Marussia drivers but it has made me wonder why do they constantly change their second driver. I fear it could get to the point where most drivers will be almost afraid to sign for them because they’ll only get one year and disappear of the F1 radar forever.

  9. I know it’s kind of silly, but I’ve partly become a fan of Pic because his last name is a homonym for my last name. He’s the closest I’ve ever seen to a professional driver sharing my name! X)

  10. Why didn’t they get glock?

    1. @nixon – Because Glock doesn’t have sponsorship and he is under contract at Marussia until 2015.

  11. This is much better news than the Sauber stuff today. I’m really happy for Pic. He’s done a good, solid job and he’s performed well against Glock. Really looking forward to this breath of fresh air at Caterham, especially with the new principal.

  12. So the question that remains now, is who will partner him. There seems to be a lot of talk that Senna will be heading to Force India as Sutil may have difficulties raising funds and more importantly getting visas for some countries next year because of his criminal conviction. Bottas will fill the vaccant William seat, Grosjean will more than likely be retained by Lotus Chilton is poised to take Pic’s seat and be the third driver in as many years with Marussia and the HRT chaps will be needing a lift to the airport as the team have run out of change from down behind the sofa.

    So then, the final race seat at Caterham. Van Der Garde has been ready and waiting all year, question is, how much money does he bring? Any ideas from Dutch fans? Petrov has no cash to bring to the table and neither does Kovalainen. I dont know if anyone else saw the Sky F1 interview with Heikki earlier on, but he seemed extremely dejected and probably knows his fate already, unless he can magic a 12th place or better finish on Sunday (not impossible given the forecast). It’s a shame, but F1 is a rough business.

    So who remains? I think the team needs an experienced driver to lead the team, especially if they want to finish ahead of Marussia next year. Other than keeping Heikki, I dont think there are many other experienced pedallers out there who’ll be available. Senna or Kobayashi, but that’s probably about it.

  13. Barrichello-Pic (best line-up option for Caterham)

  14. Pet had a really good race on Sunday that brought a lot positive emotions for the team. The fact is he pays for the seat now. He deserved to be promoted to smth like a Sauber driver. I would remember Heiki only for one spectacular moment when he launcned aussie into air.

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