Caterham F1 Team launches Caterham Racing Academy

Alexander Rossi is part of the Caterham racing Academy
Alexander Rossi is part of the Caterham racing Academy

Caterham Racing Academy drivers will have a clear path from the junior formulae right up to Formula One and each participant has a bespoke programme created for them to enable them to learn and develop in both practical and virtual motorsport environments.

The Academy drivers are given personalised development plans that cover every aspect of a modern racing driver’s life, including detailed work on racecraft and engineering feedback, mental and physical training and media and sponsor relations, all designed to help them achieve their own potential.

Finance plays a key role in all forms of motorsport and all Caterham Racing Academy drivers have access to a performance target based prize fund each season. This fund is designed to reward excellence against agreed targets and to provide part-funding for the drivers’ progression into more senior formulae, helping them focus on their racing activities. The prize fund will make a contribution ranging from 10% to 50% of the drivers’ season costs, a substantial investment in an extremely competitive financial environment.

Sergio Canamasas in GP2 Series
Sergio Canamasas in GP2 Series

In addition to the financial rewards available, exposure through the F1 team’s digital and social media channels, and the right for all Academy drivers to compete in Caterham F1 Team’s distinctive green and yellow livery, the Academy drivers are also given direct exposure to the many different priorities F1 drivers have to manage on and off track.

Each driver is embedded into the F1 team at selected races and tests throughout the season, a unique experience that gives Academy drivers direct exposure to race weekend and test briefing / debrief sessions, track walks and media sessions, all helping them to prepare for the step up to the ultimate challenge of F1.

Leafield Technical Centre, the F1 and GP2 teams’ base in Oxfordshire, UK is an important part of the list of benefits available to all Academy drivers. They have access to the cutting edge driver-in-the-loop simulator, now used as an integral part of the engineering toolbox in F1, and they have the opportunity to bring sponsors and media to Leafield, opening the doors to a modern F1 facility and showcasing the base they can rightfully call home.

Weiron Tan contested some Formula Gulf 1000 races in the UAE
Weiron Tan contested some Formula Gulf 1000 races in the UAE

Physical and mental preparation play a critical role in the performance of racing drivers of all levels and all Academy drivers will be given a bi-annual fitness evaluation by Pro Performance, one of the leading sports science consultancies worldwide and specialists in the elite preparation of racing drivers.

The selection criteria for drivers wishing to join the Caterham Racing Academy are simple. All drivers must have finished above a pre-agreed championship position or over a suitable assessment period, and be competing in any one of the following championships:

  • Formula Renault 2.0
  • FormUL 4
  • Formula Renault NEC / WEC
  • Formula Renault Eurocup
  • Euro F3
  • GP3 Series
  • World Series by Renault
  • GP2 Series
Aurelien Panis with former F1 driver father Oliver Panis
Aurelien Panis with his father Oliver Panis, former F1 driver

The Caterham Racing Academy first started under the guise of the Driver Development Program in the early days of the F1 team in 2010, and since then has been at the heart of Caterham’s growth across a number of forms of motorsport.

In the future, the Academy will have direct links with Caterham Motorsport’s karting and racing series, bringing together all forms of motorsport run under the Caterham name.

From just two drivers for the 2010 season, the Academy now has six drivers on the books in 2013:

  • Alexander Rossi (USA): Caterham F1 Team Reserve Driver, competing with Caterham Racing in GP2 and with Caterham Motorsport at Le Mans 2013 in LMP2
  • Sergio Canamasas (Spain): Caterham F1 Team Development Driver and Caterham Racing GP2 driver
  • Matt Parry (UK): Formula Renault NEC with Fortec Motorsports
  • Aurelien Panis (France): Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup with RC Formula
  • Weiron Tan (Malaysia): Protyre Formula Renault BARC with Fortec Motorsports
  • Daim Hishamuddin (Singapore): European KF3, Rotax Junior Asia championship
Cyril Abiteboul

Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal Caterham F1 Team: “Launching the revamped Caterham Racing Academy is a sign of how committed we are to helping develop new racing talent from around the world.

“Within the Academy we have an environment that gives young drivers a clear path from the junior racing series right up to F1. However, equally importantly, we’re arming them with all the attributes required of drivers in the modern era – mental and physical preparation, direct exposure to F1 and, importantly for all drivers, financial assistance. For the team itself, the Academy program is also driven by our ongoing search for our future line-up and having investments in a number of drivers gives us a range of options for the future.

“We’ve designed the Academy structure so it can be easily replicated, allowing us to support local talent in key markets for us and our partners anywhere in the world. It is not a rigid format but one that allows us to adapt to meet local opportunities, both in terms of talent and feeder series. an important factor in the constantly changing global motorsport landscape.”

Mia Sharizman, Head of Caterham Racing Academy and Caterham Racing Team Principal: “Caterham Racing Academy is a sign of our commitment to developing the next generation of motorsport talent. We’re giving young drivers a clear route from junior formulae up to F1 and we are giving them first-hand experience of everything that goes into being a modern F1 driver. We are providing comprehensive training and financial support for our young drivers, and giving them direct access to our F1 facility, all of which adds up to an unrivalled support package for new talent.

“We’ve already created opportunities for young drivers to progress to the very top – look at Giedo van der Garde who’s gone from GP2 in 2012 to F1 with us in 2013, and Alexander Rossi, who’s combining his F1 team Reserve Driver role with GP2 and now Le Mans commitments for Caterham.

“Giedo and Alexander are proof of how serious we are about developing young talent. We already have an exciting list of Academy drivers for 2013 and are looking forward to seeing more new talent join us in the future to help them reach their true potential.”

Caterham Racing Academy 2013 Drivers

Alexander Rossi
Age: 21
Country: USA
Championship: Formula 1 Reserve Driver, GP2 Series
Team: Caterham F1 Team, Caterham Racing

Alexander began his racing career in the United States and won the Formula BMW World Championship in 2008, which resulted in him testing for the BMW F1 team. He was a race winner in Formula Master in 2009 and then again in GP3 in 2010 – also the year he joined the Caterham Racing Academy. He entered the World Series by Renault (WSR) Championship last year, winning two more races and finishing as the series’ top rookie and third place overall in the championship.

He tested for Caterham F1 Team in the rookie tests at the end of 2011 and was the team’s official Test Driver in 2012. His relationship with the Caterham family in 2012 extended to World Series by Renault, where he competed in the Formula Renault 3.5 championship with Arden Caterham Motorsport. He finished 11th in the standings and scored a podium finish at the Formula 1-supporting Monaco Grand Prix event. He also recorded four fastest race laps during the season.

For 2013 Alexander is combining a season in GP2 with Caterham Racing with his F1 team Reserve Driver role, in which he will be taking part in a number of FP1 sessions throughout the 2013 season, starting at the Canadian Grand Prix in June.

Sergio Canamasas
Age: 25
Country: Spain
Championship: GP2 Series
Team: Caterham Racing

Sergio joins the Caterham family for his second season in the GP2 Series, following a 10-race outing in 2012. Previously, he competed for two years in the Formula Renault 3.5 Championship, finishing eighth in the standings in 2011 with one podium, one pole position and two fastest laps. He has also competed in the Euro F3 Open series and his native Spanish F3 series.

Aurelien Panis
Age: 18
Country: France
Championship: Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup and NEC
Team: RC Formula

Aurelien has had a passion for motorsport since childhood and began karting at the age of 13. After starting out in Rotax Max, he moved to KZ2 125 and finished runner-up in only his second race. Panis then moved on to the Autosport Academy F4 and the Formula RC Championship before graduating to Formula Renault 2.0.

He says his father, Grand Prix winner Olivier, is a great influence for him but did not push him into racing and does not interfere with his career.

Matt Parry
Age: 18
Country: England
Championship: Formula Renault 2.0 NEC
Team: Fortec Motorsport

Matt has been part of the Caterham Racing Academy since 2010, when he won the Super 1 kart series, being hailed by many in the UK press as one to watch. He made the step up to cars with the works Van Diemen team in Formula Ford in 2011, and in 2012 he won the Intersteps Championship in the UK. This year he will be contesting the Formula Renault 2.0 North European Cup with Fortec Motorsport.

Weiron Tan
Age: 18
Country: Malaysia
Championship: Formula Renault 2.0 BARC (UK)
Team: Fortec Motorsport

Weiron started karting aged 13, but proved to be a very fast learner and won the Yamaha SL International Cup in 2010, joining the Caterham Racing Academy soon after. Having shown he could win in Asia, he was very busy in 2011 as he raced in karting in both Asia and Europe.

He made his first step up to cars in 2012 in the Formula JK Asia Series, and in 2013 will race in the Formula Renault 2.0 BARC Championship in the UK.

Daim Hishammudin
Age: 15
Country: Singapore
Championship: European KF3; Rotax Junior Asia

Daim has been part of the Caterham Racing Academy since 2010 and is the most successful driver to come out of Singapore so far, winning several karting championships in the last five years – most recently the Rotax Max Asia Junior series. In 2013, he will contest European KF3 karting as well as the Rotax Junior Asian Karting Championship.