Caterham F1 Team is a squad competing in the 2012 F1 world
championship. They originally arrived in F1 under the name "Lotus
Racing" in 2010, before having to change it to "Team Lotus" for the
2011 season. However after a lengthily court case with fellow Lotus
based team Lotus Renault GP the Hingham, Norfolk, based team were
left with a need for a new image yet again. That is when the
Caterham F1 Team was born.
The team was set up by a bunch of Malaysian business men,
fronted by Tony Fernandes who created the low budget airline
"AirAsia". Fernandes takes up the role of Team Principal while CEO
of the team is Riad Asmat, who previously worked for Proton. The
team is also in partnership with the Malaysian Government
The 2010 season was marred by reliability issues, and the car
was consistently around 5 seconds off the lead runners pace, with
the team's best result being 12th at the Japanese Grand
Prix; thanks to Heikki Kovalainen and a few retirements. This
result helped them clinch 10th in the constructors title
despite not scoring any points. This 10th place gave
them much needed prize money for developing their car and team.
Jarno Trulli finished 13th on 1 occasion but struggled
with the steering throughout the year.
The 2011 season was the second year for the team, and they were
still known throughout the paddock as a "new" team. They had halved
the gap to the midfield and were only around 2-3 seconds off the
front runners pace, depending on the circuit. They managed, on more
than a few occasions, to battle in the midfield and qualify in the
top 17. The team sealed a deal with Red Bull to use their gearbox
and hydraulics systems, which benefited them greatly and saw very
little reliability issues. They also switched to Renault engines
for the season. These changed brought significant performance
gains, but, due to the lack of retirements at many of the races,
their best result was a handful of 13th places thanks to
Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen. They retained their
10th in the constructor's title thanks to those results
but had yet to score a single point.
Due to a court case in regards to the use of the Lotus name,
both Team Lotus and Lotus Renault GP had to have the battle set in
court with both teams thinking they had the right to the name. In
December 2010 Group Lotus revealed they brought a large stake in
the Renault team and became their title sponsor. During the 2011
season a high court case decided that Tony Fernandes' team could
use the Lotus name, but not on its own. The now Caterham F1 Team
had to pay damages for using the name "Lotus Racing" during 2010
where they breached the licensing agreement. In June 2011 it was
found at the High Court final hearing that Team Lotus would not be
able to use the "Lotus" name. Tony Fernandes had recently brought
the Caterham Car Company and in November 2011 revealed the team
would now be known as the Caterham F1 Team. The drivers of Jarno
Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen were retained for the 2012 season. The
team will also run the KERS system in 2012 which will surely
improve their pace.
Previously known as the co-founder of F1Lite (a Twitter-only
service), Alex Norton joined PortalF1 as the English language
editor in January 2012.
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