Berthon joins Caterham as development driver

2014 F1 season

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Nathanael Berthon, HRT, Abu Dhabi, 2011GP2 driver Nathanael Berthon has joined Caterham’s new driver development programme.

Christijan Albers, who took over as Caterham’s team principal following the sale of the team last week, said Berthon is “an exciting young talent with a proven track record in the feeder series for F1”.

Berthon previously drove for the now-defunct HRT F1 team at the 2011 young drivers’ test (pictured).

“As he already has F1 experience he fits very neatly into our team,” Albers continued. “We will work closely with him to help him reach his full potential and are all excited about seeing him continue to grow as a driver, in and out of the cockpit.”

The 25-year-old Frenchman is currently in his third season of GP2, driving for Venezuela GP Lazarus.

Another of Caterham’s junior drivers, Will Stevens, has been testing for them today at Silverstone. Two of Berthon’s GP2 rivals, Julian Leal and Rio Haryanto, will drive for the team tomorrow.

In addition to them Caterham has already run Robin Frijns and Alexander Rossi in Formula One practice sessions this year.

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Image © HRT

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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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28 comments on “Berthon joins Caterham as development driver”

  1. money talks. what a shame.

  2. I can only be surprised.
    As a Frenchman, I can say Berthon is the least convincing of my fellow countrymen who is racing in a highly-rated category.
    I was full of hopes for him few years away, but he faded away.

  3. Why Caterham need so many development drivers, if they won’t be able to give them track time? Of course, money are involved here, but sometimes enough is enough.

  4. So is Caterham’s F1 team still connected to the GP2 team and their young driver program?

    1. I wonder if Fernandes sold his part of the GP2 team too, or if it was only the F1 team.

      1. It was stated that Fernandes kept the GP2 team as well as Caterham cars /group @strontium

        1. @bascb Thank you.

          In that case I would not be in the slightest bit surprised if they do change their name for next season.

          One thing I never understood about Caterham is it is traditionally British, but races as Malaysian, while being based in Britain and sporting a traditional British racing livery.

  5. Berthon? He hasn’t exactly set the world alight in GP2…

  6. I can’t see the point here since Berthon has one foot in the door of endurance racing already.

    1. I think the point of a development driver in this case is, to enable the team to actually do some car development because he is bringing the money to enable it @rjoconnell

  7. Proven track record? Yup, 3 podiums in GP2 in 3 years, 2 WSR wins in 2 years, and 1 win in Formula Renault Eurocup.
    He has indeed set the world alight. Max Verstappen move over, Berthon is the real deal!! (sarcastic)

    1. Verstappen has already won more single seater races, all in F3, and he’s still only 16…

  8. He must have deep pockets, he’s currently 25th in the championship with no points. Did manage to win a race last year but that was one of only two points finishes. In what universe is that F1 calibre???

    1. Well, I’d think Berthon would be a little higher up if he wasn’t driving for The Vast Black Hole of Lazarus. Conor Daly is faring little better as his teammate, and Daly is a much higher rated prospect.

  9. Third season and 0 points! No wonder Caterham is a backmarker.

  10. For a driver development programme, I would expect a team to recruit promising drivers competing in a grass-roots category like Formula Ford/Renault/BMW and maybe F3, a seasoned GP2 driver without an outstanding track record in the main feeder series to F1 wouldn’t sound like the ideal candidate.

    1. Caterham actually had a junior program full of talent, all drivers being title winners, until Fernandes sold up; now pay drivers are being recruited. But as WilliamB said below, it’s realistic, as they need to pay the bills in any way possible.

  11. To be fair to Berthon he’s driving for a terrible team in GP2 (Conor Daly’s not doing much better) and he hasn’t driven for a really good team since 2012. But I don’t understand what he’s doing here, since he’s already started racing in LMP2, surely he’s be better off doing that?

  12. Caterham has more development drivers than Mercedes has technical chiefs!

    I can understand Caterham’s aim of earning as much money from their driver [bank balance] development program, but what I don’t understand is that drivers (and more importantly, their sponsors) keep falling for this trick. Of course, their have been examples of teams training young drivers in a third driver capacity (Bottas at Williams, Hulkenberg at Force India), but this year Caterham (and to a lesser extent, Sauber), have so many drivers affiliated with them that for one individual driver it’s not likely to end up in a race seat. Also, it’s not as if they’re vying for a seat at Mercedes. I mean, who would want to drive for Caterham now?

    1. I wouldn’t say no.. I’d want to see if I can take it to Chilton and Ericsson :P

  13. Hey Albers…here’s 200 quid, can I have go in one of your cars?

  14. Fritz Oosthuizen (@)
    9th July 2014, 3:49

    I showed promise in the Championship on my computer thus all I need is money….. (Not shakespear)

  15. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    9th July 2014, 8:53

    At least Caterham are reverting to being realistic with their junior drivers, so whilst seeing Berthon and Leal on the outer edges of F1 is rather painful, at least Caterham will no longer be falsely waving a carrot in front of the nose of an excellent driver like Frijns.

    1. It’s a shame but I don’t see many other carrots dangling in front of him right now.. Mercedes should sign him up IMO.

      1. He can be their new Schumacher.. See his title winning move on Bianchi for ‘killer instinct’.. Schumi would’ve been proud of that one.

        1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          10th July 2014, 9:18

          @fastiesty – I have a sneaky suspicion that, like Schumacher, Robin was genetically constructed to be an F1 champion…

          1. @william-brierty Like Schumacher? Sounds like you know something I don’t here.. although, it’s fair to say, that Max Verstappen winning 7 F3 races in a row hints that he could be a recipient of that phrase…

          2. Don’t know if anyone has won that many in a row since Hamilton in his championship year..

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