The fact Caterham made it to Abu Dhabi was intriguing enough, and now the team has stayed for the postseason test several days later.
There may be some late season sneaky level of speed and reliability in the Caterham CT05-Renault package, after all. Kamui Kobayashi posted the 13th fastest lap on race day, only 0.007 in arrears of Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari, per veteran F1 reporter Adam Cooper.
Today, Kobayashi’s Abu Dhabi teammate Will Stevens was in the car, and the Englishman had a successful day of running. He banked 102 laps and ended sixth on the charts, a respectable result ahead of fellow Renault-powered entries from Lotus and Toro Rosso (albeit suspension issues delayed STR’s Max Verstappen).
“Today’s been a really good day, I’m very pleased with myself,” Stevens said in the team’s release. “We got through everything we needed to do and we completed more than 100 laps, which is excellent not only for me to get more mileage under my belt but also to show that the car is reliable. Overall we got close to the pace we had in qualifying at the weekend. My last run got compromised a bit because of the red flag, but it’s been a very good day.”
After essentially being thrown in at the deep end for his Grand Prix debut, Stevens performed well in comparison to some other recent debuts and said he felt much more at home Tuesday having been through the rigors of a GP weekend.
“I feel completely different in the car now – every time I leave the garage I know exactly what I need to do, where everything is and I’m much more confident than at the beginning of the race weekend,” he said. “I feel very comfortable and I can now focus 100% on the driving side of things.”
The team listed a quote from Gianluca Pisanello, the team’s head of engineering operations, as the technical quote for the day: “It’s been a very useful first day of testing here at the Yas Marina circuit. We were able to follow the program as planned and Will did a very solid job, completing many laps and providing the team with valuable feedback while gaining experience. It was also very interesting to test the 2015 Pirelli tires for the first time and compare them to this year’s and the data we already have from the season that ended on Sunday. Trouble-free days like today are always what the engineers hope for at a test; let’s hope for the same tomorrow.”
There’s still much to sort out as it relates to Caterham’s future in F1 beyond this test, but for one day at least they could take comfort in a solid day of testing.