ABU DHABI – Caterham’s return for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix failed to produce a big result, but simply getting to the finish line at Yas Marina Circuit was a considerable achievement for the team at the end of a tough year.
After entering administration after the Russian Grand Prix, Caterham failed to race in the United States and Brazil, but made a sensational and surprising return in Abu Dhabi when enough fresh investment was found following a crowdfunding project.
Chief adminstrator Finbarr O’Connell was at Yas Marina all weekend in full Caterham gear, effectively taking up the role of team principal as he tries to find a new buyer for the operation.
Any hopes of moving above Marussia, which folded earlier this month, in the constructors’ championship were dashed on Sunday in Abu Dhabi, though, as Kamui Kobayashi retired from the race on lap 42.
However, F1 debutant Will Stevens did see the flag, which must be noted as a considerable achievement in light of the team’s struggles in recent months.
“We completed the objective of the day, and that was to finish the race, which is good not only for me but also for the team – we can be pleased,” Stevens said. “I struggled quite a bit during my first stint on the option tire, trying to keep it up to temperature at the start during the formation lap, so I had a lot of graining on the front.
“But the middle stint wasn’t too bad and I was able to get into more of a rhythm. Towards the end I was feeling good in the car and it feels really good to have completed my first Formula 1 race!
“I want to thank all the fans once again for giving this team another chance to race, this is where we belong.”
Caterham now enters the winter looking for further investment and a possible buyer to keep the team afloat. 2014 was meant to be the big breakthrough year at Leafield, but it will not be remembered fondly due to the financial problems that blighted its best intentions.