Caterham pinning hopes on upgrades
Caterham is hoping a series of updates will help it bridge the gap to the midfield at the next two races.
The team is targeting its first points this year, but a lack of results at the first two races suggests it still has work to do. Nevertheless, technical director Mark Smith is confident a raft of upgrades for the Chinese Grand Prix will help the team extract more performance from the new car.
"As we head to Shanghai for the third race of 2012 we know that we still have some margin to work on to extract the best from the car and the tyres in both qualifying and the race itself," he said. "We have been looking at this in detail since returning from Malaysia and have a number of plans in place to help us move forwards as soon as we get on track in Shanghai.
"Externally, we will be running the cars in high downforce configurations and we have bodywork updates targeted at increased load and more efficient cooling, given the lower ambient temperatures we will to see in Shanghai. China is not especially tough on brakes but we also have a couple of updates in this area."
Team principal Tony Fernandes believes that bringing upgrades to the opening races this year is proof of the team's progress after it had to wait until the Spanish Grand Prix for major updates to arrive last year.
"This time last year we wanted to bring updates to each race, but we were not in a financial or logistical position to do so," Fernandes said. "This year we can do just that, and that is another sign that we are going in the right direction.
"Before the Australian and Malaysian races we had a pretty clear idea of where we would be relative to the other teams around us, and the performances we saw confirmed what we need to do to keep bridging the gap to the cars ahead. Over the race weekends we need to look at improving our qualifying pace, and it looks like we can work more efficiently on maximising tyre performance levels over the whole weekend.
"Back at the factory the main focus for us is on improving the aero performance of the cars. This is what will give us the chance to fight for the point we want to win, and the fact we can now head into the next two flyaway races with the sort of upgrades we could only dream of last year is a very encouraging sign, and one that shows how hard the whole team is working to help us achieve our goals."