Mar.4 (Caterham) Team and driver report on the final day of Formula 1 preseason testing at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
“I am more than happy with how we went today. The team has done a fantastic job all day and we’ve been improving in every area each time we went out. I had my new seat today so I’m really starting to get comfortable in the car and the laptimes are coming down, the setup is improving and everything is working really well. The last lap before lunch was close to perfect for me, with the conditions and the way the car behaved, but we know there is still more to come so that is good news, it keeps us pushing.
“This afternoon we were looking at a race simulation and despite the slightly early end to the day it all went to plan. The degradation levels were manageable and we didn’t have any issues at all with any of the systems – KERS, engine, gearbox or anything mechanical. We do have work to do, that’s the same for everyone, but I think we have prepared as well as we can for Melbourne so for me this has been a really good first couple of weeks with the team.”
Mike Gascoyne, Caterham Group Chief Technical Officer:
“We have had a very good final week of testing. Both drivers have made the sort of progress we targeted, particularly Vitaly who had his proper race seat today and is starting to find a balance he can really use. We still have some work to do to help him optimise the braking system, but that is about fine tuning his setup and I am sure we can have that ready for him in Melbourne.
“We can also be pleased that in the two key areas of reliability and performance we have been able to achieve what we set out to. The car has run pretty much faultlessly all week and we are starting to unlock the performance that we know this car can deliver. It looks like the midfield teams will be very tightly packed this year, and while we know the times from the tests do not tell the whole story, it does look like we have made a step from last year, so the target for Australia will be to maintain the strong reliability we have shown here, build on the performance both drivers have demonstrated and aim to be racing one or two of the teams who were just out reach at the end of 2011.”
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal:
“For me that is the best test our team has ever had. Both Vitaly and Heikki have performed very well behind the wheel and with both drivers putting in good times, and very decent mileage, we leave here in as good a shape as we could have hoped for. There is still a lot of work to be done, and we will not stop pushing because we know where we are likely to be when we get to Melbourne, and to be able to fight with the teams ahead will require even more hard work from everybody, but step by step we keep edging ever closer to them and the performance here, and in Jerez, shows we are on the right path.”