New Caterham Formula 1 team chiefs approve upgrade programme
|By Jonathan Noble||Friday, July 11th 2014, 12:40 GMT|
The Caterham Formula 1 team's new owners have given the green light to invest in a major update package that it hopes will be ready for the Belgian Grand Prix.
The Leafield-based outfit, which has recently been bought by a group of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors, is doing all it can to finish in the top 10 of the F1 constructors' championship so it keeps hold of valuable commercial rights income.
Having ended last year in 11th spot, it risks losing around £20 million in prize money if it does not do better by the end of this campaign.
That is why the team is pushing on with freeing up funds towards updates that it believes are essential to try to overhaul closest rivals Marussia and Sauber.
"I want some upgrades, yes, and as soon as possible," team chief Christijan Albers told AUTOSPORT.
"It won't be easy because they always cost a lot of money, but we are working on it now."
When asked if finishing 10th overall was essential to guarantee Caterham's long-term future, Albers said: "Of course, but I will not tell you we are going to be world champions because that will be bullshit.
"I think you need to be realistic, you need to work first on a healthy situation where everybody can survive, and from there on push also. We have to push. For me the priority is to get as many upgrades as possible at a reasonable cost."
ALBERS READY FOR CHALLENGE
Albers' appointment to the new management team, working alongside Colin Kolles, was a surprise to many.
But the Dutch former grand prix driver makes it clear he is under no illusions about the challenge he has let himself in for.
"I love that people were very surprised when I was walking in here," he said. "I thought about it a long time, but sometimes in life the train is passing and you have to step in or keep waiting.
"If I did not believe in it, I would not do it. It will be a big challenge, tough and hard, but I am ready to fight and so are the team around me."
He is also aware that the team's situation, especially with a tough fight for 10th, means he cannot yet be credited with having saved the outfit - even though it would likely not have raced at Silverstone if former owner Tony Fernandes had not found new buyers.
"Saved this team? I am not saving anything yet," he said.
"I think there is a possibility we can turn it around and do good things, but also we have some difficult days because it turns out it was a bit more difficult than what we thought originally. There is a lot of surprise coming out of the box."
This week's AUTOSPORT magazine includes a full analysis of how close Caterham came to closing ahead of Silverstone, and of the challenges ahead for the new owners