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Dec 03, 2013 - 10:43 AM
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The Big PICture: Austin & Interlagos
Posted by: newsla on Dec 03, 2013 - 10:40 AM
Formula 1 News
The Big PICture: Austin & Interlagos

Hi everyone

So, the 2013 Formula 1 season is over following back-to-back grands prix in the US and Brazil, which rounded off an action-packed year. After three difficult race weekends in India, Abu Dhabi and Austin we outpaced Marussia at Interlagos, though unfortunately this did not prove enough to snatch 10th in the constructors’ championship.


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I was really on the pace in Brazil where the mixed weather conditions gave us one last shot at beating our closest rivals, but our hopes were dashed when I was sidelined by a suspension issue with only a few laps remaining. I’d love to have ended the season on a better note, but I’m still pleased with my overall performance at Caterham this year.

Anyway, here are a few things you might have missed from the last two grand prix weekends of the 2013 season …

Austin Power
I was really looking forward to racing at Circuit of the Americas again having enjoyed a great time last year – and I wasn’t disappointed. The atmosphere around the venue was equally amazing and it was nice to see the US fans embrace our sport. Americans love to attend big events and I think that F1 has exactly what it takes to put on a great show and keep them well entertained.

On Friday Texas Governor Rick Perry invited us to a reception at his house. I went along with a couple of other drivers and several team principals and we all enjoyed a good evening. The next day I was one of several drivers to attend the FanFest. This gave us an opportunity to chat with supporters and sign autographs; I even met a group of Frenchmen who were in Austin! Giedo and I then had a bit of good old-fashioned Texan fun when we learned to throw a lasso – though I must admit I wasn’t very good at it! Unfortunately we had a bit less on-track fun, as we finished behind both Marussias in Sunday’s race.

Bouncing back in Brazil

When you arrive at Interlagos you can immediately feel the Brazilian fans’ passion for motorsport. It’s a cultural thing and creates a pretty amazing atmosphere in the grandstands.

I was pleased to be back to our usual pace in Sao Paulo and qualified well, ahead of Giedo and both Marussia drivers. I was making good progress in the race until I was forced to retire with a right-rear suspension failure 13 laps from home.

Afterwards we fired up our engine one last time to bid farewell to the V8s. Next year we’ll switch to V6 turbos, which represents a major change for Formula 1.

Time to review 2013
With the season now over it’s time to assess our performance this year. Of course, it was a shame to finish 11th in the constructors’ championship, but you need to bear in mind that we were the only team that did not develop a fully new car for 2013. We struggled during the first three races and then recovered well when the new upgrades were introduced in Bahrain. This enabled us to seize the initiative over Marussia.

The team then did a great job to keep up the development so that we retained this advantage for the majority of the season. Ultimately we came frustratingly close to 10th spot, but Marussia made the most of an action-packed Malaysian Grand Prix, where they clinched a crucial 13th place finish to our P14. This would prove to be the only high-attrition race all year, so we weren’t able to better their result. I came close in Korea though, again crossing the line in 14th.

On a personal note I am quite happy with my overall performance, though I wish we hadn’t had to play catch-up with Marussia right from the start. We recovered well and quickly got the better of them, but suffered from this slow getaway all year long.

Gearing up for 2014

Over the next few weeks I will be sure to stay in shape and train hard ahead of the 2014 season. Ideally I’d like to reach an agreement regarding my future before the end of the year, and I’ll then celebrate Christmas with my family.

On a rather different note, I was really happy with the news that my boss Tony Fernandes has been awarded the Légion d’Honneur for his outstanding contribution to the French aviation industry. This will strengthen his relationship with France, and hopefully ours can continue to flourish in 2014 as well.

Speak soon,


PaddockTalk Perspective

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