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Caterham and Marussia, 4 years in and still at the back.


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#1 Tron

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 08:22

Is there any hope for these two teams to finally race with the midfield?

 

It's four years they're in the sport, and there isn't a single race, not even in the rain ones, where either of these two teams seriously challenged for a point.

 

Certainly the bullet proof reliability of the field makes it harder to gift points, but more alarming is that there's still that massive gap between them and the midfield.

 



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#2 Roscoe

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 08:29

I guess it all comes down to next year with such big regulation changes.  It's the best chance they're going to get to play catch up.  I know someone's always got to be at the back, but trundling around a couple of seconds off the pace must get boring even for the teams themselves.



#3 PNSD

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 08:31

Caterham have had a factory move this year so I guess that must have hampered development. 

 

Overall they seem to be the most likely to break into the midfield, but what hasnt helped has been the improved form of STR, and FI. Williams have better drivers and that also makes a huge difference.

 

2014 will be interesting but you have to believe budget is still the biggest issue. With a little more investment I can see Caterham being strong midfield contenders. The ingredients are all there. Much of the staff are remnants from Toyota. Despite a lack of success those guys do know how to build a quick car.

 

As for Marussia, is a possible link up with Sauber a real thing?  



#4 Anderis

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 08:34

Certainly there is hope for them and it's called 2014. AFAIK, Caterham thought about 2014 for a long time and they didn't even spend as much resources at 2013 as they could, having 2014 in mind.

 

When Marussia and Caterham were joining in 2010, they were a whole year behind current teams in knowledge. How much it can be worth, look at Ferrari, McLaren and Renault. They were all pushing to improve cars late in 2008 and they all started 2009 with really disappointing cars. They were only a couple of months in "knowledge" behind Brawn, Red Bull, Williams and Toyota and that was enough to fall back behind them.

 

With 2014 they all will start with the same level of knowledge about regulations and that should help them. Wheter it will be enough to catch midfield remains to be seen, but I think they shouldn't be that much behind as they are now.



#5 Andrew Hope

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 08:35

I was always shamelessly hoping HRT would beat them.



#6 DampMongoose

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 08:51

With the regulations having been relatively static for quite a while now and experienced teams in front of them with decent budgets generally, which of those teams did you expect them to be challenging by now? They're playing catch up until the new rules kick in so i would never have expected them to challenge anyone, I'm slightly surprised that they are both still here...



#7 wj_gibson

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 09:06

Why do we think the new rules will help them? They'll have the same engines as the front end teams, but then Caterham already does. I can't see their aero teams makign much of a difference. The reliability issues that will inevitably see some of the opening races in 2014 with 11 or 12 fiishers might help them win the odd point by dint of being around at the chequered flag but I'm struggling to see why a rules "re-set" is going to help them.



#8 SenorSjon

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 09:12

Not a chance. They gap is always there for years on end. I still think that without proper testing, you cannot close that 1 second gap. F1 is not only very expensive, it is also very hard on newcomers who can't prepare like the teams with a vast knowledge in the class.

 

Also they were lured in 1) because they had Cosworth as engine supplier and 2) with the prospect of falling costs and budget limits.



#9 eronrules

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 09:23

i'll give you three reasons ...  :o

 

1. MONEY

2. MONEY

3. MONEY

 

did i mention MONEY ??? 



#10 Spillage

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 09:41

I think they've got a big chance next year - let's not forget that Force India used the 2009 regulation changes to make a leap forwards, and are now a solid and respected midfield team. So I hope they nove forwards next year and I don't see why they can't - particularly because, Chilton aside, there are three extremely promising young drivers there. I like the look of Pic especially.

 

Sadly though, if they can't move forwards now I'd be surprised to see them still around for the enxt big regulation change in a few years.



#11 redreni

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 09:46

These teams came in on the basis there would be a cost cap. On that basis, F1 couldn't have had any complaints if they'd all pulled out before the first race in 2010 like USF1 did.

 

These teams spend the least, so they're slower than the rest. I'm sure they'll have opportunities to get points next season when reliability starts to drop off. The current engine formula makes it virtually impossible for slow cars to score points because, if there are 18 cars in the race that are comfortably quicker than you, the chances of only 9 of them finishing are incredibly remote. That wasn't the case 15 or 20 years ago when you used to regularly get races with only 7 or 8 finishers.



#12 undersquare

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 10:37

It's always been a bit of a mystery to me that the small teams can't get enough downforce on.  That always seems to be the big weakness.

 

Yet you would think that the theory is well understood.  Aero is aero. The rules are there, the same for them all. They can eyeball the faster cars, get photos even of flowviz, see the little tweaks and shapes that we all see, work out the flows one would think.

 

Staff move around and junior staff who know a lot but aren't too expensive would be available, for a promotion.

 

There must be reasons of course, but from the outside you'd think it'd be easier than it evidently is.



#13 Lights

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 10:43

At least they seem to have more realistic expectations nowadays. All we heard the first couple of years was how they were going to close the gap to the midfield. Now it just seems quiet, as they have realized they can't and won't. They used to get more media coverage and I can't help but think that drivers like Kovalainen, Trulli and Glock helped in that sense compared to the line-ups they have currently. 



#14 purplehaireddolphin

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 11:04

I don't know much about football,but there are teams which are always in the bottom division, never approaching a promotion place, no one says that they should be beating Liverpool by now,so why is F1 any different? If they can stick around,they'll come good eventually, just as Williams will come good again and Red Bull will eventually produce a dog



#15 Andrew Hope

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 11:18

Well said. And worth remembering the obvious: someone has to finish last. It isn't like if all the teams try really hard, then they all get to be first. You can do a massive, awesome job and if everyone else does one too, you might still have SFA to show for it.



#16 Ferrari_F1_fan_2001

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 11:32

One of the teams might do a 'Brawn' and go from literally LAST to being FIRST.

 

Honestly, the whole Brawn story couldn't have been scripted by Hollywood any better (forgetting their resources aside in 2008)



#17 Wander

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 12:01

One of the teams might do a 'Brawn' and go from literally LAST to being FIRST.

 

Honestly, the whole Brawn story couldn't have been scripted by Hollywood any better (forgetting their resources aside in 2008)

 

They don't have Honda resources. 

But I definitely think they could finally score points next year.



#18 SenorSjon

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 12:31

And they don't have testing now where they could test the influence of new rules.



#19 Rinehart

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 13:24

Further forward than HRT and over 100 constructors who have left F1.

Only money can move them up the grid. Pound for pound they're as worthy as any team.

That F1 is so difficult has its upsides and downsides I guess.



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#20 Tron

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 17:34

You've all made sound points, with money, money, money, being the main factor, but still 4 years later that gap is still there, and it's scaring away the thoughts of potential new teams.

 

True, the testing ban is a huge wall to climb for any team seeking any extra second, but if Caterham and Marussia go bust, our present economy likely has no one to replace them with.

 

It's almost like a black hole of debt about to swallow them and  ever closer about to munch on the midfield.

 

Unfortunately only results will bring in money, like it happened to happened to Brawn after it's first race.

 

So Caterham's and Marussia's performance are a bit of a life line to F1... and it's not beating very strong...



#21 nosecone

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 17:45

I think those 2 teams will need more time to compete in the midfield. It has always been hard for new teams to get succesful, and now in the modern times i think it became even harder, because the top teams take all the high qualified engineers and the top teams do almost get all the money. They also have the more experience and better factories...

The last 4 years were mainly a struggle for finacial survival and also the next years will be a struggle for survival. Even old midfield teams are struggling, because there is a massive problem F1 has to address soon.

Although Marussia is nearly on one level with Caterham, i think Caterham has the better chances to get a spot in the midfield. Maybe the rule change will help them... but they still lack in workers and money. And it is very possible that they'll stay a backmarker for years, like ,i was told, Minardi was.#

 

 

Nevertheless these teams are important! Imagine that allways the slowest team withdraws! Within 11 years there will be no team in F1 anymore. Without those teams we will have only 9 teams and 18 drivers...

 

The worst case scenario would be that one team goes bancrupt, because i think then many other teams will fall with them. Investors would be averse to spend money for a f1 team if another team went bancrupt. But this is a issue which doesn't belong to this thread


Edited by nosecone, 02 October 2013 - 17:50.


#22 pingu666

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 19:37

have they actually closed the gap or not, performance wise?

im thinking its smaller, but i have no idea really



#23 redreni

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 20:21

It's always been a bit of a mystery to me that the small teams can't get enough downforce on.  That always seems to be the big weakness.
 
Yet you would think that the theory is well understood.  Aero is aero. The rules are there, the same for them all. They can eyeball the faster cars, get photos even of flowviz, see the little tweaks and shapes that we all see, work out the flows one would think.
 
Staff move around and junior staff who know a lot but aren't too expensive would be available, for a promotion.
 
There must be reasons of course, but from the outside you'd think it'd be easier than it evidently is.


I think they are better at copying these days which is why the backmarkers are so much faster now than they were 20 years ago. Just look at the spread of laptimes on a heavily aero-dependant track. In 1993 at Barcelona the slowest car in qualifying, Michele Alboreto‘s Lotus, posted a time that was 109.6% of Alain Prost‘s pole time in the Williams. In 2013 the slowest car, Charles Pic, was within 105.6% of Nico Rosberg‘s pole time. That‘s much closer, even though the backmarkers in 2013 don‘t get to enjoy the best track conditions because they get knocked out in Q1, which only tends to exagaerate the true gap.

So why did backmarkers score points in the early 90s despite being much slower relative to the leaders than their 2013 counterparts, and despite the fact that back then you had to be in the top 6 to get a point? Because there would be one or two events a year where you only had to keep going to get a point, and that‘s no longer the case. And that‘s also why Marussia and Caterham will have their best opportunity to get points next year, even if their performance gap to the top teams gets worse.

#24 Fastcake

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 20:34

have they actually closed the gap or not, performance wise?

im thinking its smaller, but i have no idea really

 

Someone will compare figures from 2010 and now, but if you look at one metric no team has exceeded the 107% this year, whereas it was common for the backmarkers to set times very close to it before.



#25 SenorSjon

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 22:00

The top of the field is slower as well. They mostly run on the 18k rpm limit and the Pirelli limits.



#26 redreni

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 08:20

The top of the field is slower as well. They mostly run on the 18k rpm limit and the Pirelli limits.


Whereas the Bridgestones had no limits of performance?

The rev limits have been in place for a while, although if you‘re comparing to 20 years ago then I accept that the customer engine cars had a big power deficit which Caterham, at least, doesn‘t have now.

#27 Tron

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 10:27

I think they are better at copying these days which is why the backmarkers are so much faster now than they were 20 years ago. Just look at the spread of laptimes on a heavily aero-dependant track. In 1993 at Barcelona the slowest car in qualifying, Michele Alboreto‘s Lotus, posted a time that was 109.6% of Alain Prost‘s pole time in the Williams. In 2013 the slowest car, Charles Pic, was within 105.6% of Nico Rosberg‘s pole time. That‘s much closer, even though the backmarkers in 2013 don‘t get to enjoy the best track conditions because they get knocked out in Q1, which only tends to exagaerate the true gap.

So why did backmarkers score points in the early 90s despite being much slower relative to the leaders than their 2013 counterparts, and despite the fact that back then you had to be in the top 6 to get a point? Because there would be one or two events a year where you only had to keep going to get a point, and that‘s no longer the case. And that‘s also why Marussia and Caterham will have their best opportunity to get points next year, even if their performance gap to the top teams gets worse.

 

Back to the days of Alboreto and before, there were more teams, like a new one almost every third of the season, unlike the 11 fixed teams these days, so the times back then were likely to be further away from Prost's pole time.

 

As for the backmarkers scoring points back then, well, it wasn't all really about reliability, there were races were Dallara or March use to qualify in third position in normal conditions on certain races, and would challenge for the odd podium.

Twice Minardi in 1991 came in a strong fourth.

 

With Caterham and Marussia they've just been glued to the rear in four years, and from what I recall, any team that's in F1 this long, has had some memorable races really racing for points.

Not even in the rain these two teams are able to challenge the lower end of the midfield??? Mazzacane in 2000 put his Minardi in the wet third for a while at the US GP.

Look at Jordan, in it's first season it was nipping at the top eight.



#28 SenorSjon

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 11:50

Whereas the Bridgestones had no limits of performance?

The rev limits have been in place for a while, although if you‘re comparing to 20 years ago then I accept that the customer engine cars had a big power deficit which Caterham, at least, doesn‘t have now.

 

It was in comparison to 1993 with the 107% rule. You had space age fuels, qualy tires and the like for the top teams. Most performance things are banned these days. But engines now need to be very reliable, so your slow but reliable (Minardi) tactic is no longer viable.

 

Also, races went on in the rain much longer than these days, so you could have a nice result in a rain race. Now you are behind the SC till it is dry enough for inters.



#29 CatInTheBag

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 14:10

      Hard to predict what these backmarkers will achieve next year. For Caterham, I think they spend their time upgrading and refining facilities like test rigs, simulators, CFD to prepare for a big push for 2014.

 

 

      As for 2013, Japan GP will give a good chance for Caterham or Marussia to secure that 10th spot. I think Caterham might be able to pull it off this weekend. Always that element of surprise.

 

 

      They very nearly made it in Korea.



#30 DutchQuicksilver

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 19:44

I doubt 2014 will bring them much luck. Their budget is still so low compared to everyone else, it's impossible for them to win over 2 seconds during the winter, even with new regulations.



#31 MikeV1987

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 19:47

I think next year is their best chance yet to score points, I don't expect the cars to be nearly as reliable as they are now. It might just benefit those teams especially if they make a little bit of progress on their pace.



#32 Ferrari_F1_fan_2001

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 20:54

Do these team have staff that fully understand Red Bull et al "performance" tricks such as the blown diffuser and would they be able to implement them on their cars?

#33 Tenmantaylor

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 13:40

Ferrari_F1_Fan_2001, it's one thing to understand something, it's quite another to design, test, manufacture and then make it work in the real world. Ideas and implementation are worlds apart in terms of capability and budget in high tech sport like F1.

 

Regarding Marussia, it's strange that they are still at the back given they currently employ the greatest driver in the history of F1 (according to Wikipedia at least): http://en.wikipedia....iki/Max_Chilton



#34 Maustinsj

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 13:41

Ferrari_F1_Fan_2001, it's one thing to understand something, it's quite another to design, test, manufacture and then make it work in the real world. Ideas and implementation are worlds apart in terms of capability and budget in high tech sport like F1.

 

Regarding Marussia, it's strange that they are still at the back given they currently employ the greatest driver in the history of F1 (according to Wikipedia at least): http://en.wikipedia....iki/Max_Chilton

 

:lol:  - but Wikipedia's always right isn't it?



#35 dau

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 15:43

What the....i'm having a bad case of deju vu here. Didn't we have a thread like that last year?

 

Edit: Nope, that's just me being unable to distinguish November from October. Carry on then.


Edited by dau, 04 November 2013 - 15:46.


#36 Paco

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 20:05

The gap has been pretty constant. I expected way more from caterham and mike. With mike experience I'm shocked he's deadlocked with marussia. I thought they be up with Williams and force India by now. I don't get why they are still at the very bottom, they should be 50%of time in q2 by now.

#37 William Hunt

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 20:45

I was always shamelessly hoping HRT would beat them.

 

I really miss HRT. That would have opened up 2 more seats as well. McLaren could have placed one of their junior drivers there (like Red Bull did with Ricciardo) if HRT was still on the grid, such a shame.



#38 William Hunt

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 20:54

 Michele Alboreto‘s Lotus, posted a time that was 109.6% of Alain Prost‘s pole time in the Williams.

 

I guess you mean Alboreto's Lola.



#39 BiH

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 21:41

Tbh Catheram progress is terrible.

 

They have Renault engine and KERS (third season with KERS), red bull gearbox, bigger budget, more experienced drivers initially.

 

 

 

Marussia only team using useless old Cosworth engine with old Williams KERS from 2011. Only thing that might be advantage is Mclaren partnership.

 

In my opinion Marussia has done fantastic job with what they have better then Catheram.


Edited by BiH, 04 November 2013 - 21:41.