After a few disappointing performances in the last races, Caterham have found some positives, despite still having a difficult job in qualifying. Vitaly Petrov qualified in 19th position and teammate Heikki Kovalainen in 20th for the Singaporean GP.
Vitaly Petrov, car 21, chassis CT01-#2, 19th:
“I’m really happy with how quali went today. It’s my Father’s birthday and the performance is my present for him. He told me this morning “don’t push too hard” and then I went and crashed the car in P3! The boys did a fantastic job in the garage to repair the car and it was actually all ready 15 minutes before Q1, so thank you very much to them for putting in such a great effort.”
Heikki Kovalainen, car 20, chassis CT01-#3, 20th:
“Honestly it’s been a tough weekend for me so far and today’s performance wasn’t really any better. I’ve been struggling to find a decent balance in every session and that definitely affected me today. Despite that this is the type of race where anything can happen so I hope we can have a better Sunday and leave here on a positive note.”
Mark Smith, Technical Director:
“First I want to thank the team for the excellent work they did between FP3 and qualifying to repair Vitaly’s car, and give him what he needed to put in the performance he did in Q1. It is good to see that we have started to unlock the potential of the new parts we have brought here and the aim is to make sure we keep progressing. We have had a difficult last couple of races but everyone has redoubled their efforts and the laptimes we saw in qualifying are the first signs that we are heading in the right direction.”
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: “Over the last couple of races we deliberately stopped commenting because we did not believe our performance was giving us anything worth reporting. However, today’s qualifying performance has begun to give me confidence that we are back on the path to the promised land of the midfield and we have another six races to continue to extract the pace that is in the upgrades we have put on the car. We put a lot of effort, probably too much, into the major package we introduced with the new exhaust system, taking up a lot of resource and costing us time that could have been better spent on the more conventional aerodynamic upgrades that will put us where we want to be. Now we are working twice as hard on all the key areas of performance on the car and the last piece of the jigsaw is to find more downforce. All the other key areas of the car are working well and, after a nervous few days, I am looking forward to the remaining races of the season.
“I also want to address the noise that has arisen around Heikki. It is quite possible that what has been going on over the last couple of days has not helped him on track but I am pleased to say that discussions are going very well and we are aiming to make positive statements about that in the next few weeks.
“On the other side of the garage I think Vitaly’s performance today might just be the making of him as a Caterham driver. He drove outstandingly well today and I have never heard him speak so positively over the radio. He enjoyed his drive and his crew did a brilliant job to fix his car, and gave him the platform to show what he can do. Now we want to make sure we keep improving the cars we give both him and Heikki and let them enjoy themselves out on track.”