Sainz Jr close to Caterham drive

Carlos Sainz Jr is in negotiations with Caterham about a possible drive this season, the Red Bull backed driver has spent the year dominating the FR3.5 series with 4 wins so far and a 33 point championship advantage over his nearest rival Pierre Gasly, It would appear that the young Spaniard has impressed new Caterham bosses enough for them to consider him for a drive.

It comes just a short time after the Caterham team was sold by Tony Fernandes to a consortium based in Switzerland and the Middle East which appointed Colin Kolles and Christian Albers as team bosses and it looks as if they haven’t wasted any time in ringing the changes.

So there must be a victim in all this, if Sainz is to take the step up to F1 then either Kamui Kobayashi or Marcus Ericsson will make way, judging by performances so far this season I would expect the Swede to be axed, for me personally I haven’t seen anything that has made me think he is ready and capable to compete in F1, that despite securing the teams best result at the Monaco GP though he was still beaten by Marussia rival Jules Bianchi.

Sainz has backing from Red Bull and was seen as a potential candidate to drive for Toro Rosso this season before the role was handed to Daniil Kvyat but they rate him highly at Red Bull and if he does get the Caterham drive then it will provide a similar way to analyse his performance as they did with Daniel Ricciardo when they put him in the HRT in 2011, Sainz will hope that his F1 career can follow that of Ricciardo and see him move into a position to compete for wins in F1

Interestingly a few points to take note of, Colin Kolles was in charge at HRT when Red Bull gave Ricciardo the chance to drive for them in 2011 and was key in allowing the deal to go through. Also with Caterham using Red Bull technology and also the Renault engines, there is certainly a realistic chance that Red Bull may want to use Caterham as a measuring point for Sainz Jr ahead of what may end up as a move to Toro Rosso in 2015, most likely to replace Jean Eric Vergne.

Sainz is a good racer, whether he is yet ready for the move up to F1 remains to be seen, if the talks do end up in a drive for him then it will be interesting to see how it pans out.

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Changing of the guard

If one thing was evident during the Australian GP, it was that the talk that the 2014 era would favour the more experienced drivers on the grid was totally wrong, the main stand out performances came from the youngster and in particular three men, Kevin Magnussen, Valtteri Bottas and Daniil Kvyat.

Magnussen has been on McLaren’s radar for a long time now and after winning the FR3.5 series, the next step was for him to replace the disappointing Sergio Perez for the 2014 season.

Fast forward to the Australian GP and the Dane had impressed in testing but the big question was, could he do it on a F1 race weekend, he silenced any doubters immediately with his solid performances during the practice sessions, he followed this up with a hugely impressive 4th place on the grid in what was a tricky Q3 for all the drivers, he had now shown he had the raw pace but was the race craft there? Again he proved his ability with a stunning drive which saw him battle throughout the race with Red Bull and Daniel Ricciardo, after the Australian got disqualified it meant that Magnussen had secured 2nd on his Formula 1 debut, one place better of than the debut of the last rookie to race for McLaren, Lewis Hamilton.

Valtteri Bottas enjoyed the better of his more experienced team mate last year as he out-pointed Pastor Maldonado although the fact was that it was one of the worst seasons in the history of the Williams team, with huge changes at the Grove based outfit over the winter, including a new team-mate in Felipe Massa, could he show his talent this year?

Judging on the Finns performance at Albert Park, he is going to have a great year, despite a poor qualifying performance which was made worse by a grid penalty which had him starting from 15th, he fought his way through the midfield runners before colliding with the wall sending him back to the pits with a puncture, despite that setback Bottas came back again and finished well in the points in 5th place.

Perhaps the biggest surprise from the first race weekend was the performance of Toro Rosso teen Daniil Kvyat, his selection last year surprised many within the F1 paddock but his debut was one to remember,

The Russian had a few nervy moments during the practice sessions although what else would you expect from a teenager making his debut in F1, however he recovered from this in qualifying and coped with the wet conditions superbly putting himself 8th on the grid and followed that with a solid drive to finish 9th, in doing so he became the youngest ever points scorer in F1 history, not a bad way to announce yourself to the Formula 1 world.

Many said before the season started that experience would be vital in the new era of F1 but as it turns out it may be the youngsters like Magnussen, Bottas and Kvyat that can become the new faces of the sport.

Australian GP – Qualifying Report


The first qualifying of the 2014 season provided an opportunity to see this years crop of cars out on track and perhaps a chance to establish an 
early pecking order, however it would turn out not to be the case, instead it would be a dramatic hour with rain set to cause mayhem and a few surprises thrown in.

Q1 was the only session that had any dry laps but that would change later in the session, as the rain that had been forecasted closed in on the track, it would be home favourite Daniel Ricciardo that would top the timesheet in the first session however the weekend continues to get worse for troubled Lotus as both Grosjean and Maldonado spent more time in the gravel traps than on the track which meant neither of them progressed to Q2, Caterham driver Kamui Kobayashi put in a great lap to sneak through into the second session, the same couldn’t be said for Esteban Gutierrez as he failed to get out of the bottom six, Max Chilton out qualifies his Marussia team-mate Jules Bianchi, something he failed to do too often last year.

Q2 was more affected by the worsening conditions with drivers struggling around the track, a number of spins and brushes with the barriers was the theme of this session and it would end with three world champions being knocked out therefore failing to reach the top 10 shootout for pole position, the first of these was Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari, he had a spin which sent him into the wall which meant the end of his session and also the waving of the yellow flags, this meant that the drivers would be very unlikely to improve on their current lap times meaning that both Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel would end up in the middle of the grid, in Vettels case it was to the joy of the Albert Park crowd as cheers were loud signalling his failure followed by boos as he walked back to the Red Bull garage, the top ten had a few surprise names, most notably the two Toro Rosso drivers Jean Eric Vergne but most impressive was the Russian rookie Daniil Kvyat.

The top ten battle started with the rain refusing to stop and getting worse it would be a tricky task for anyone to get a good clear lap, it would be a lottery, Mercedes outlined their pace that has been evident all weekend and had looked set for pole with Rosberg but then came a major shock when the sole remaining Red Bull RB10 of Ricciardo crossed the line to move into top spot, it seemed that they had pulled off the ultimate comeback after a difficult winter but there was still one man left to complete his lap.. That man was Lewis Hamilton, known for his ability in the rain and also as this years championship favourite, he showed exactly why as he took pole position by just over a tenth of a second.

Williams struggled to show their pace in the rain and Massa qualified 9th and Bottas 10th although the Finn will fall to 15th because of a penalty, they will be hoping for a dry race tomorrow, the surprise team must be Toro Rosso, the Red Bull juniors secured 6th with Vergne and a great debut from Kvyat that saw him get 8th, on that performance the young Russian looks set to have a long career in F1, after all he is only 19, however not the best rookie on the grid, that would be Kevin Magnussen, he had the pure pace over a lap and starts 4th hoping that he can follow Hamilton in getting a podium on his McLaren debut as the Brit did in 2007.

It is set up perfectly for a fascinating race tomorrow and with the problems that teams have had getting used to the new era in F1 along with the added prospect of rain it will be interesting to see how it all pans out, It should be a good one, Remember the race starts at 0600 GMT tomorrow morning, don’t miss it!

Hamilton
Ricciardo
Rosberg
Magnussen
Alonso
Vergne
Hulkenberg
Kvyat
Massa
Button
Raikkonen
Vettel
Sutil
Kobayashi
Bottas
Perez
Chilton
Bianchi
Ericsson
Grosjean
Gutierrez
Maldonado

 

2nd Bahrain Test – Day Four Times

Bahrain

1. Hamilton, Mercedes, 1.33.278 (70 laps)
2. Bottas, Williams, 1.33.987 (108 laps)
3. Alonso, Ferrari, 1.34.280 (74 laps)
4. Hulkenberg, Force India, 1.35.577 (74 laps)
5. Vergne, Toro Rosso, 1.35.701 (74 laps)
6. Sutil, Sauber, 1.36.467 (91 laps)
7. Chilton, Marussia, 1.36.835 (61 laps)
8. Gutierrez, Sauber, 1.37.303 (86 laps)
9. Vettel, Red Bull, 1.37.468 (77 laps)
10. Button, McLaren, 1.38.111 (22 laps)
11. Kobayashi, Caterham, 1.38.391 (106 laps)
12. Grosjean, Lotus, 1.39.302 (32 laps)

2nd Bahrain Test – Day Three Times

1. Massa, Williams – 1.33.258 (99 laps)
2. Rosberg, Mercedes – 1.33.484 (103 laps)
3. Raikkonen, Ferrari – 1.35.426 (87 laps)
4. Magnussen, McLaren – 1.35.894 (88 laps)
5. Kvyat, Toro Rosso – 1.36.113 (81 laps)
6. Hulkenberg, Force India – 1.36.205 (115 laps)
7. Bianchi, Marussia – 1.37.087 (78 laps)
8. Ericsson, Caterham – 1.38.083 (117 laps)
9. Grosjean, Lotus – 1.42.166 (33 laps)
10. Sutil, Sauber – No time (1 lap)
11. Vettel, Red Bull – No time (0 laps)

2nd Bahrain Test – Day Two Times

1. Perez, Force India, 1.35.570 (108 laps)
2. Alonso, Ferrari, 1.35.634 (122 laps)
3. Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1.35.743 (66 laps)
4. Massa, Williams, 1.36.507 (103 laps)
5. Button, McLaren, 1.36.901 (52 laps)
6. Bianchi, Marussia, 1.38.092 (75 laps)
7. Hamilton, Mercedes, 1.39.041 (89 laps)
8. Vergne, Toro Rosso, 1.39.636 (61 laps)
9. Gutierrez, Sauber, 1.39.976 (106 laps)
10. Maldonado, Lotus, 1.41.613 (31 laps)
11. Ericsson, Caterham, 1.42.516 (55 laps)

2nd Bahrain Test – Day One Times

1. Perez, Force India, 1.35.290 (105 laps)
2. Bottas, Williams, 1.36.184 (128 laps)
3. Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1.36.432 (54 laps)
4. Rosberg, Mercedes, 1.36.624 (89 laps)
5. Sutil, Sauber, 1.37.700 (89 laps)
6. Magnussen, McLaren, 1.37.825 (109 laps)
7. Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1.37.908 (39 laps)
8. Chilton, Marussia, 1.38.610 (44 laps)
9. Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 1.39.242 (56 laps)
10. Maldonado, Lotus, 1.40.599 (31 laps)
11. Kobayashi, Caterham, 1.42.285 (19 laps)