Caterham: Start-up F1 teams inevitably struggle

Caterham: Start-up F1 teams inevitably struggle

Formula 1

Caterham: Start-up F1 teams inevitably struggle


Caterham boss Cyril Abiteboul believes there is little his team could have done differently to become competitive in Formula 1 quicker.

The squad has yet to score a point since arriving in F1 in 2010, although it did beat peers Marussia and HRT to 10th in the constructors’ championship from 2010-’12.

Abiteboul defended Caterham’s record, arguing that it is now impossible for a start-up team to achieve success in the short term.

“It is difficult to know if we could have done a different job,” he said. “The only shortcut that potentially could have been found, is by getting a proper association with bigger teams. Because it is true that that creates immediate return from a performance perspective.

“But finding the place, moving from zero people to the 350 that we are now, you see the time that it costs an organization to go through a restructuring, so can you imagine starting from scratch, you have no process, you have nothing — no account, no delegation authority, no cashflow management, nothing. Everything needs to come together in parallel, and in addition to being a proper business you also have to be competitive enough to compete against companies that have been investing for 35 years like Williams.

“Would it have been possible to have done a better job? I believe in the last two years in particular we could have been closer to them, but the task is just huge.”

He argued that all the teams currently succeeding in F1 had their roots in long-established organizations.

“For Red Bull, it took a while to get it right and yet they were starting from Jaguar,” said Abiteboul. “Lotus is a fantastic team, nothing to say against that, but they started from Toleman and Benetton.

“Sauber was established and had BMW, so we see the teams that are competitive are competitive because they are established and proper run businesses, and that is also what we have to be.”