Caterham tipped to run other drivers this year

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Caterham may provide further opportunities for Carlos Sainz Jr and Roberto Merhi to make their F1 debuts with the team before the end of the season.


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Merhi and Sainz Jr lined up for Caterham race seat (Adam Cooper)

“Spanish Renault 3.5 stars Carlos Sainz Jr and Roberto Merhi are both in the frame to make their F1 debuts with Caterham before the end of the season. It’s believed that they are both likely to be given an opportunity to drive the car occupied by Andre Lotterer this weekend.”

VIDEO: Ferrari boss confirms 2015 team (Sky)

“Marco Mattiacci has told Sky Sports that Kimi Raikkonen & Fernando Alonso will be racing again in 2015 for the F1 team.”

McLaren not planning to leave driver decision until off-season (NBC)

Eric Boullier: “No, it is not our plan to wait that long, no. We are in the position to wait a few days or a few weeks until we know where we go in the next few years. That’s why it takes a bit of time.”

‘We’re not in the let’s-make-everybody-happy business’ – Wolff (ESPN)

Too Wolff: “Sometimes you are happier and other times you are less happy, and for us it is about always extracting the maximum from the both of [the drivers]. This is why we want to give them the environment and the support they need to perform at their best. But we are also not in the let’s-make-everybody-happy business.”

Nico Rosberg Q&A: First Spa-Francorchamps pole special (

Rosberg: “And yes, it will be very tight again with Lewis, believe me. But this is a track were you always have the chance to do something with the tyres during the race when you’re on a smart strategy, so it would be wrong to only focus on the qualifying result.”


Comment of the day

After Andre Lotterer successfully qualified for his first Grand Prix in challenging conditions, reader Toxic was more than impressed by the German’s performance.

Very impressive from Lotterer. Yeah it’s Caterham, but to jump in to these extremely complicated car with all those technologies going in the background (brake by wire sic!) and out qualifying Ericsson in his first outing by a second?
Seriously… ask Kovalainen how is it to step in for a one race to the car you don’t know (even though HK was driving similar cars before his journeys).
It’s of course still just Saturday but nonetheless great job by him.

From the forum

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On this day in F1

Happy birthday to former F1 driver Eric Bernard who is 50 today.

Bernard, who is the godfather of ex-Marussia and Caterham driver Charles Pic, raced in F1 between 1989 and 1994, first for Larrousse and then Ligier. He claimed the only podium finish of his career at Hockenheim in 1994, but was dropped by Ligier soon afterwards, though he made a one-off start for Lotus in Jerez before finally bowing out.

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58 comments on “Caterham tipped to run other drivers this year”

  1. As @fastiesty pointed out in the forum, only four race drivers are allowed to race per team per season, so Caterham won’t be able to use both Merhi and Sainz Jr.

    1. Interesting point there. This is the first Ive heard of this particular Merhi/Sainz situation, so I don’t know how it will work if they decide to (I guess) put 1 of them in the car at a later date. They are running out of races at which to put someone in though.

    2. @hunocsi Indeed, so perhaps one will drive the races (Sainz), while the other gets FP1s (Merhi).

      1. @fastiesty I didn’t see this part of the article yesterday but now AC is noting this, and maybe Caterham will find a way around it…

        The team could face a problem however as the rules specify that only four drivers can be used per season, and it has already used three. The likelihood is that the FIA will only be flexible in the case of genuine force majeure.

        1. @hunocsi I wonder if “We can go bust, or we can run a fifth driver” counts..

  2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    24th August 2014, 1:03

    I’m sure Lotterer and Erricson would have been closer if the conditions weren’t so tricky, but even still, I think Lotterer would’ve beaten him regardless.

    Just reaffirms that King Joffrey is only there for the money.

    1. Don’t worry, some bad wine and he’s gone.

      1. Maybe he gets stuck by a pig/rattle gun?

        or finds out what Mummy is up to ?

    2. Who/what is king joffrey?

      1. I think they mean “Magnificent Geoffrey,” the commenter with the Caterham fish profile picture.

      2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        24th August 2014, 5:40

        Marcus Ericsson bares striking resemblance to King Joffrey; a character from the fantasy TV show Game of Thrones.

        So yeah, I pretty much just call him Joffrey, or King Joffrey now. Lol
        Seriously, google it.
        He looks almost identical, if a tad older.

  3. Kamui is getting the short end of this one….

    1. @irejag I feel so sorry for Kobayashi. He has no sponsors so says to the team he is happy to race for free, and this is how they treat him. Honestly not right.

      1. It’s not right, but the Wolff comment kinda explains the mindset; extract the most you can out of the driver.
        That includes performance and all the off-track stuff. Kobayashi didn’t have the money, Lotterer probably brings some, Ericsson keeps his seat instead of KK. That’s that.

        If it wasn’t for the Lotterer inclusion, would we really be paying any attention to the order the Caterhams qualified?

      2. Well his agreement came with Tony Fernandes, so it’s not too surprising that other employers don’t want the same deal.

      3. From the team perspective, it’s not like Kobayashi would score any points in Spa, so no loss at all for them (gain some money).

        1. That’s very true. Its shocking that their car is so bad that they’ve resorted to “It doesn’t matter who we put in it, so lets just get as much cash for it as we can.”

  4. Hopefully they will replace Ericsson at some point too, but money is money sadly.

    1. Ericsson being out qualified by 10 different ‘one off’ teammates in one season would be kinda funny though!

  5. My guess is that the Ferrari announcement was like the first domino and a lot of other places are going to be confirmed pretty soon, over the next few weeks.

    1. More like the Ferrari announcement glued the first domino to the ground, so now none of them are going to fall.

      How far down the order do you need to go to find a driver likely to be replaced anyway? Mercs, Ferrari and Red Bull are locked in, McLaren are unlikely to change unless Ron gets tired of Jenson, Massa is apparently staying at Williams and Bottas is unlikely to move. I can’t see Force India changing their line-up either, so you’re left with Lotus, Sauber, Marussia and Caterham, with Toro Rosso already confirming a driver change. It’s not exactly the most exciting silly season.

      1. We could see people like De Silvestro, Sirotkin and van Der Garde in Sauber next year. Unless the money ends, I think Chilton will stay with Marussia, Bianchi probably too. Toro Rosso should keep Kvyat.

        I really have no idea about Caterham, they are even under new management. For Lotus it would be nice to maintain Grosjean and Maldonado, but I can see Grosjean jumping ship if something better becomes available.

        1. i don’t see any better place for Grosjean than Lotus for next year. They know how to make good cars, that’s for sure, and with the top PU for next year they look to me as a better package than McLaren, wich is the only team with a slightly open door for him (as the top teams have the next season closed, and the rest of the teams ar caterham, marussia and sauber, a poor choice in my opinion)

      2. One of the drivers to go is probably sutil. Doesn’t really make sense to keep him around when there are so many good drivers lining up for the sauber seat. Same with maldonado although he probably has like 50 million reasons why he stays at lotus who need all the money they can get. Gutierrez could be another to go but again he has money. And with the car being so crap it is really hard to tell how good or bad job gutierrez is doing at sauber. I don’t know if he sucks or is jsut a victim of poor car just like grosjean…

        Force india would be stupid to let hulkenberg go but perez’s seat is not so safe. But again, money… I really really hope bianchi gets decent car next season. If he stays at marussia people will just forget about him. Interesting to see who are sitting in those saubers next season.

        As for the big movers. Button or Massa leaving F1 would be pretty big. In case of button he is the better of the mclaren drivers at the moment so it would be stupid to let him go. And at williams massa is bringing money into the team but not the points. But then again it would be nice to see someone like hulkenberg back at williams. Or maybe even grosjean. Although who knows how good cars force india, lotus and williams have next season… Changing teams could work really well… or you just end up doing a maldonado…

        As far as drivers go grosjean and bianchi are really the drivers who probably want a better car the most and deserve it too.

    2. Unfortunately, they will hold on to Raikkonen instead of kicking him out (again) for a better driver.

  6. I just watched Ted Kravitz’s Notebook and noticed one thing he said: Chilton’s father wants to buy Marussia? That would cement Max in for a few more years…

    1. I thought the Chilton family owned a large % of the team.

  7. So, caterham is becoming a “C” team for red bull finally?

    1. It’s a good way to clear a gearbox debt, that’s for sure! I wonder who is giving ad space for debt clearance… I would do that a lot if it was possible.

  8. Poor Bianchi. Another year consigned to that crap Marussia. Ferrari just don’t know how to treat their young drivers.

    1. @wsrgo They are behind there, like they were with simulators – but eventually it’ll come good. Hence Assetto Corsa from Kunos (FVA), and Marciello in GP2..

    2. If not ferrari, what other choices do he have? Sauber? at least he don’t have that much pressure racing for Marussia, and more often than not, he have the chance to shine (putting a Marussia 16 in Spa is quite impressive for me) and keep maturing…

      1. @mastiascasali Sauber would be better than Marussia, they might be behind in the standings currently, but on pace they’ve got the faster car. It won’t be much of a step up, and if his head drops it’ll be perfectly understandable. I don’t know how Raikkonen can still stay after such a poor year, and Bianchi, who has impressed this year, not get a nod.

        1. I think Domenicali would’ve sacked Raikkonen again. Maybe Mattiaci is buying the “off-season” garbage and thinks Raikkonen will recover.

  9. Someone made a good point yesterday stating that Andre Lotterer had the upgrades on his car this weekend. Potentially the car could be quicker helping him to create that margin.

  10. To finally give Sainz Jr. and Mehri the chance they deserve in Formula 1 has really made me happy. I personally think that Sainz Jr. should be the one in the Toro Rosso seat with Kvyat next year but then again, that’s only my opinion. But then again, this is still my opinion, but Sainz Jr. and Mehri and very talented drivers. Sainz Jr. has shown his speed in everything with 4 wheels on, including F1 in 2012 in the young drivers test at Silverstone, where Vettel was the only drivers who was faster than Sainz Jr. over that weekend. Mehri has also shown his speed in everything with 4 wheels but he’s had a bit more of a challenge than Sainz Jr. to get noticed as Sainz Jr. has Red Bull backing. But despite that, the stand-out stat for me about Mehri is in this year’s FR3.5 season. While Mehri has earned over 110 points (the only other driver with that stat is Sainz Jr. with over 150 points), his teammate hasn’t scored a single point. That’s very impressive!

    But as well as them two drivers, I hope Caterham decide to give Joylon Palmer, Felipe Nasr and Mitch Evans a chance at an F1 GP as they are doing extremely talented and they’ve shown that in GP2 this season and they really are talents that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

    1. Jolyon Palmer*
      My bad

    2. @mattypf1 Indeed, and Juncadella/Merhi are both F3 champions, with Sainz Jr set to sew up a FR2.0/FR3.5 double.

      I would say the top 5 in GP2 (Palmer, Nasr, Vandoorne, Cecotto, Evans) are now ready for F1, with Marciello likely to win the title next year and move up to Marussia, replacing Bianchi if he moves up to the senior team.

      1. I have nearly no doubt that Bianchi will be at Ferrari when Raikkonen retires or leaves and after the feature race just gone in GP2, I think Marciello will be Bianchi’s successor but only if Rossi or Ellinas are either already in the car or dont show enough talent or run out of money to race.

        But I have mixed feelings about Ceccoto. I mean, it is his 5th season in GP2 but he is driving with much more matruity has shown more speed (which may only come down to experince in GP2) than in previous years.

    3. @mattypf1 What about Frinjs? He is such a talent, but because he has no money, he is just forgotten. He is as good as Magnussen or Bottas, but just doesn’t get noticed. And being with Caterham doesn’t really help him, because they just need money and not talent. Only one of the big teams could help him, but I don’t see any of them getting rid of their drivers any time soon, and if they do, they have a pool of their own talents waiting.

  11. Caterham with Colin Kolles, aka HRT.
    Have caterham already given up 10th place?
    Selling seat and making money is not sustainable for weak teams in F1

  12. At least Caterham fixed the nose !!!!

  13. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    24th August 2014, 3:41

    If this isn’t the greatest tweet of all time, then I don’t know what is.

    1. @tophercheese21 hahaha thanks for sharing that

    2. Hahahaha I see what he did there!

  14. Eric Boullier: “No, it is not our plan to wait that long, no. We are in the position to wait a few days or a few weeks until we know where we go in the next few years. That’s why it takes a bit of time.”

    So, McLaren is doing the same with their drivers as with their “very soon” title sponsor announcement?

    1. When I read the quote from Eric, I wondered if Honda were making noises about having a Japanese driver in the team. Kamui to McLaren?

      1. If that happens I will cream myself. Literally!

      2. Kobayashi was a Toyota driver, not Honda.

        1. @austus

          If Honda do want a Japanese driver (I don’t know if this is true), what’s to stop them from wanting Kobayashi?
          Just because he was Toyota before, doesn’t mean he can’t shift alliances…

    2. KK won’t get a McLaren drive. Takuya Izawa is the first in line, if Honda requests a Japanese driver in the team. Why else would a 30 year old driver with marginal Formula Nippon/SuperGT results make their debut in GP2?

  15. Sainz better win the FR3.5 title and then have a go in GP2 than driving the slow Caterham.

  16. Could the Caroline Reid tweet have something to do by this observation by @andae23?

    1. @npf1 Makes sense to me.

  17. The Caterham is beautiful after the facelift! And luckily for them Lotterer proved not to be the driver with problems… but selling a seat to various drivers in a single season can only do harm to both the team and the sport. Don’t get me wrong, I think both Sainz and Merhi are better than Ericsson…
    And Ferrari should really give a seat to Bianchi. What more can he prove? A third year at Marussia won’t do him any better, and Ferrari will lose the opportunity to give him a season’s experience at their team and alongside Alonso. Sooner rather than later they’ll have to get rid of their old drivers and hire some new stars, better not take them both at once, no?

  18. I disagree in part with the COTD.

    While Lotterer’s performance was impressive, beating any team mate by a second isn’t bad, but I can’t say that I’m massively surprised. Just look at what Lotterer has driven recently:

    Turbocharged car: check.
    Hybrid power car: check.
    Single seater: check.
    Brake-by-wire: nope, though Lotterer was apparently saying that he was braking LATER in his Audi R18 e-tron quattro.
    Car with similar power/weight ratio: check.
    Spa: I think 6hrs and 24hrs are both sufficient.

    Put all those together and you get exactly what Lotterer has now with a brake-by-wire system added on top. That’s really the only thing that I don’t think he has seen before.

    While it was a good drive, I was expecting him to beat Ericsson to be honest. Perhaps not by such a margin, but a driver with the sort of experience, skill and versatility that Lotterer has should be able to jump into any car and be on the pace almost immediately.

    1. It is true that he has some experience with these technologies but when you consider how difficult it was for Kovalainen to jump into Lotus which at the time could mix up in the sharp end of the field it looks hugely impressive. That was the time when cars didn’t have all those technologies and he was used to using most of them at the time (just look at the steering wheel of today’s car).
      Of course with his experience and success in other categories you could expect a lot but I think that takes nothing from his performance yesterday. Let’s not forget that it’s Spa in the wet.

      Today is a different story but I guess we’ll see :) I am really looking forward to see how he copes over a race distance.


  19. Thanks for COTD!
    I couldn’t actually log in to make that comment which happens quite often to me when I am using Chrome (getting some cookies error message). Anyone have similar problem?

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