Report: Charles Pic not returning to Caterham

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Caterham’s 2014 driver lineup remains officially undetermined at this time, but a French report says that Charles Pic, who competed with the team last season alongside Giedo van der Garde, will not be returning.

L’Equipe quotes Caterham team principal Cyril Abiteboul as confirming the Frenchman’s departure from the Leafield team. However, the report does also note that Pic could be in the running for a third driver gig at Lotus.

Pic was expected to be a team leader at Caterham in 2013 after completing his rookie season with Marussia, but his second year in Formula One was marred by mechanical failures and driving errors on his part. Marussia also beat out Caterham for the 10th position in the constructors’ championship.

With Pic now out of the picture, it remains to be seen if van der Garde will retain his seat – although reports are starting to center around a likely pairing between former Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi and GP2 racer Marcus Ericsson. Kobayashi has been among those linked to a Caterham ride, along with van der Garde, Ericsson, and Heikki Kovalainen.

While the team has yet to reveal its new pairing (and seemingly had a bit of fun last Friday with the subject), it has confirmed its presence for the entirety of preseason testing, starting with next week’s sessions at Jerez.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.