Caterham chief looks to cut gap to midfield

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Caterham team principal Cyril Abiteboul has set his team the tentative target of closing the gap to the midfield in 2013.

Since entering the sport in 2010, Caterham have failed to score any points, and have found themselves battling with Marussia and the now defunct HRT F1 team at the back of the grid.

For 2013, the team has been reinvigorated by the arrival of two new drivers, Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde, and this will also be Abiteboul’s first full season as team principal. Caterham are now aiming to challenge the likes of Toro Rosso, Force India and Williams, as well as perfecting their racing operations.

“The main target for this year is to make sure we now fully understand and control our development and manufacturing processes. Accurately predicting and measuring the level of performance we expect on track will mean that we have grown and become a reliable technical group.”

However, Abiteboul also revealed to the Formula One website that Caterham were looking beyond the 2013 season.

“Obviously, an expression of that should be a clear trend of a reduction of the gap to the midfield over the course of the season, but I am keen to get this done with style and within reason, with one eye always on the longer-term plans.”

The team has made a somewhat disappointing start to 2013, regularly trailing Max Chilton’s Marussia in the pre-seasons tests despite Charles Pic having more Formula One experience than the Briton. However, the gap to the front runners does appear to have been cut, and van der Garde finished ahead of both Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso in Barcelona today. The true pace of the “lean green racing machines” will not become clear until the Australian Grand Prix, but if Abiteboul’s optimism is shared by the rest of the team, it could herald improved fortunes for Caterham.