Ravetto: Caterham have performed miracles to get this far

1 Comment

Newly-appointed Caterham F1 boss Manfredi Ravetto believes that the team has performed small miracles to survive following its sale by former owner Tony Fernandes.

After months of denying that he was set to pull the plug on his F1 programme, Fernandes sold Caterham to a consortium at the beginning of July in a deal brokered by former F1 team principal Colin Kolles.

Since then, there have been a number of staffing changes at Caterham, resulting in a group of released employees launching legal action against the team. Ravetto took charge of the team following Christijan Albers’ resignation after just two months as team principal, with his exit appearing to sum up affairs at the backmarker team.

However, in an interview with the official Formula 1 website, Ravetto said that even getting to this point and saving the team has been an incredible achievement.

“My feeling is that with the previous owners having already pulled the plug in a quite evident way, the team did not believe anymore that they would race at Silverstone,” Ravetto said. “There is some additional evidence for that, but not only did we manage to race at Silverstone, we also did the test at Silverstone and made it to Singapore.

“In the meantime we have also made some significant improvements to the car – some significant improvements in terms of restructuring – and we keep fighting.

“I think we have done a small miracle to bring it to where it is. I think we also did a small miracle by improving the performance and being ahead of Marussia in terms of speed and very close to Lotus and Sauber. We are set to deliver miracles.”

Contrary to speculation, Ravetto also confirmed that plans for the team’s 2015 season are already in place, with a car currently being tested at Toyota’s wind tunnel in Germany.

“We are currently testing our 2015 car in Cologne, at Toyota’s wind tunnel,” he said. “Obviously you cannot run your car in Cologne just because of our extremely nice attitude. You only can do this with an injection of cash, which we did.

“And if we do this it means that we are fully committed to being here next year. Let me explain some of the reasoning: a Formula 1 team and a Formula 1 entry are huge assets, and therefore you have to do your maximum to protect these assets.”

James Hinchcliffe on Andretti: ‘It’s certainly the place I want to be’

Leave a comment

Since before the start of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, James Hinchcliffe tirelessly has worked to ensure the future would include a full-time return in 2021.

And with an opportunity to run the final three races this season with Andretti Autosport, there seems a surefire (albeit unlikely) path.

“If I go out and win all three,” Hinchcliffe joked with IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview Friday (watch the video above), “it would be hard for them to say no, right?”

Regardless of whether he can go unbeaten at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course next weekend or the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida (where he earned his first career win in 2013), Hinchcliffe will have the chance to improve his stock with the team that he knows well and now has an opening among its five cars for 2021.

All three of Hinchcliffe’s starts this season — the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, July 4 at the IMS road course and the Indianapolis 500 — were with Andretti, where he ran full time in IndyCar from 2012-14.

“Obviously, the plan from January 2020 was already working on ’21 and trying to be in a full-time program,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed being reunited with Andretti Autosport, and everybody there has been so supportive. It’s been a very fun year for me on track. It’s been kind of a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways.

“It’s certainly the place I want to be moving forward. We’ve been working on that, working on those conversations. Genesys has been an incredible partner in my three races. We’ll be representing Gainbridge primarily, but Genesys will still have a position on our car in the last three.”

Gainbridge is the primary sponsor of the No. 26 Dallara-Honda that was vacated by Zach Veach, who left the team after it was determined he wouldn’t return in 2021. Hinchcliffe can empathize having lost his ride with Arrow McLaren SP after last season with a year left on his deal.

“You never want to earn a ride at the expense of somebody else in the sense that has happened here with Zach,” Hinchcliffe said. “I feel bad that he’s not able to see out the last three races of his season. I’ve got a lot of respect for him off track. He’s been a teammate this year, a colleague for years before that and honestly a friend for years before that. I’ve got a lot of time for him and his family. I understand a little bit of what it’s like in that position and what he’s going through.”

Hinchcliffe is ready to seize the moment, though, starting with the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He had been hoping to add the Harvest Indy Grand Prix to his schedule and had been working out for the possibility.

“Then last week I had given up hope (and) was resigned that wasn’t happening,” he said. “I told my trainer, ‘I think we’re done for this year.’ Three days later, this call comes. I’m glad we didn’t make that decision too early. I feel great physically.

“I look at it as a great opportunity to continue to show I’ve still got what it takes and should be there hopefully full time next year on the grid.”

Watch Hinchliffe’s video with Leigh Diffey above or by clicking here.