Caterham team principal Cyril Abiteboul says he is happy with the team’s progress at this stage of the season after they scored a double-finish in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Leafield-based team, who are already putting a lot of work into their 2014 machine, are running a hybrid car for the first three races, before introducing some updates in Bahrain.
Charles Pic finished 14th, one place ahead of team-mate Giedo van der Garde in the team’s home race at Sepang.
“Having both cars finish the first two races, including our home race in Malaysia, is a fair reward for the efforts the whole team has put in, considering where we are performance-wise at this stage of the season,” said Abiteboul.
“With the strategy we’ve employed for 2013 and in preparation for 2014 and beyond we knew the first few races of this season would be tough, but we’re not going to deviate from the plan.
“Even though we’re running a hybrid car for the first three races we’re still close to where we want to be and the updates we have coming will pay dividends.
“We have a long-term goal, one that is built around the whole group we are part of and one that is realistic, sustainable and which will see us right in the mix in the long run.”
While Pic’s 14th place was the team’s best finish of the season, the Frenchman could have achieved a better result had he not collided with Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso in the pit lane.
“As I was coming in to the box I saw Vergne being released right in front of me,” he said. “I couldn’t avoid him as I was turning in and there was nothing I could do to avoid their mistake.
“The guys did a brilliant job to change the nose and the tyres and I was out again after losing about 25 seconds. It may have cost us a place and while that’s frustrating it’s also positive to see how well everyone reacted.”
As well as the issues in the pit lane, Abiteboul said the team had several challenges behind the scenes.
“We had issues with our intercom failing, which prevents communication between engineers, our telemetry froze at certain points and the timing software went down which meant we weren’t able to accurately map how the race was unfolding.
“While they don’t directly affect the performance of the cars they don’t help, so we’ll make sure we have fixes for each of those in China.”