Caterham F1 Performance Director John Iley believes that with the package of upgrades Caterham is bringing to the car for Silverstone, the team is poised to become a “giant killer”.
In a Caterham TV interview on the team’s website Iley has given a review of Valencia as well as a preview of their home Grand Prix at Silverstone.
“Silverstone is going to be a significant upgrade for us; floor, more work on the front of the car, more work all over the car. It’s a significant step,” he said. “We were talking 2 or 3/10ths of a second in Valencia and we are hoping for significantly more than that for Silverstone.”
Last weekend’s race in Valencia saw Caterham’s best Grand Prix to date, in terms of their competitiveness to their nearest rivals, where Heikki Kovalainen out-qualified both Toro Rosso cars. “Sixteenth doesn’t sound much but a lot of people here have been waiting quite a long time to beat another team in the midfield on pace, and we definitely did that on Saturday,” he said. “It just felt like a little bit of a turning point.”
The European Grand Prix was Iley’s first race appearance as a Caterham employee following his introduction to the team in May. He is working alongside former colleagues Mark Smith and Mike Gascoyne as the team look to step up their competitiveness during the European stage of the season.
Caterham F1, now in the third season since the team’s creation, are yet to score a World Championship point, but Iley believes that the determination and enthusiasm that comes from a small team will soon see them making strides.
“Clearly big budgets, lots of resources and lots of equipment make your life easier but when you are a small team you have to be closer and shoulder to shoulder,” he said. “But bang for buck we are trying really hard to move up the grid with not as much as other people have and I’m really looking forward to doing some giant killing sooner rather than later,” Iley added.