Charles Pic’s move from Marussia to Caterham has been in the pipeline for several months and even though his current team are beating his future team in the championship, Pic’s move seals his F1 future. The announcement confirming Pic added that the Frenchman’s deal is a ‘multi-year contract’. With the recent appointment of Cyril Abiteboul as Caterham team principal, the move consolidates the French connection of the Oxfordshire based outfit.
In the press release, Pic talked about his enthusiasm to join a team that has “the opportunity to continue to grow in a team that has a technical relationship with a number of French global companies, including Renault and Total, plus an Official Partnership with EADS”, while the managing director of Renault Sport F1 also had his say. “We are always motivated to see promising drivers in our partner teams and Charles is no exception”, said Jean-Francois Caubet. “Additionally, France remains the largest Renault market and having another young, dynamic French driver join the Renault ‘stable’ will give us further branding, marketing and PR opportunities, both for our F1 involvement and road car range in France and the rest of Europe”. Renault has not owned a team in F1 since the start of 2010, but it appears that the French manufacturer is becoming increasingly linked to Caterham. The two companies recently announced a deal to build new sports cars under the Alpine moniker.
Caterham has also undergone some changes this season: the team moved from Norfolk to the old Super Aguri base in Leafield, in order to be closer to F1’s heartland, south of the Midlands in Britain. There has been disappointment this season that Caterham has been unable to close the gap to the midfield this season, having been challenged and so far beaten by the KERS-less Marussia under the technical leadership of former Renault don Pat Symonds.
Pic has also been impressive in his rookie season in Formula One. Having been unfairly tarred with the pay driver paintbrush, Pic has more than held his own against experienced team mate Timo Glock. Pic’s move to Caterham for 2013 should give the team some stability when the new rules come in at the start of the 2014 season. It’s unlikely that the team will make a huge jump forwards next season, but another twelve months of experience with Caterham should give both Pic and his new team a good platform for 2014.
It’s unclear who Pic’s team mate will be next season, although Heikki Kovalainen’s position in the team has been under threat. Three into two doesn’t fit in Formula One, so one half of the current line-up will depart the team; with possibly a complete overhaul considering that Giedo van der Garde is lurking in the background.
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