The paddock has been awash with rumours about the future of Caterham F1’s current driver line-up – Vitaly Petrov and Heikki Kovalainen. Petrov because he’s been outclassed throughout the season by Kovalainen, and Kovalainen because the team is looking for drivers who bring more money.
So it’s unclear from this morning’s announcement what this means for either driver’s future.
Twenty-two year old Pic, who raced for Marussia F1 in 2012, will join Caterham F1 in 2013 after an impressive first season in Formula One.
Cyril Abiteboul, the new Team Principal of Caterham F1 Team, said “We are thrilled that Charles has decided to join us for his second season in F1 and beyond. We are all looking forward to working with a young driver who has clearly shown in his first season in F1 that he has the pace, racecraft and demeanour to help us achieve our goals.
“Throughout the 2012 season we have been monitoring the progress that Charles has made, challenging us on several occasions in qualifying, and it is clear that he is a special talent. As the year has progressed he has performed extremely well against a very experienced teammate and we are looking forward to seeing him develop further within the environment we will provide in 2013 and beyond.
“We will continue growing together, and the energy and image he will bring to our team and his partners will be a very positive influence on the seasons that lie ahead.
“Being able to make this announcement before the end of the current season gives us the chance now to allow Charles and the team to prepare fully for the 2013 season and quickly learn how to maximise the performance benefits of the Renault Sport F1 and Red Bull Technology powertrain that will be new to him.”
Jean-François Caubet, Managing Director of Renault Sport F1, added; “We are always motivated to see promising drivers in our partner teams and Charles is no exception. 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.
Pic is naturally delighted to secure his place on the F1 grid for several years to come, albeit by leaving the team which provided him with the opportunity to shine, “I am very proud to be able to confirm that I am joining Caterham F1 Team next year and I’m looking forward to many seasons of successful racing cooperation.
“I’m enthusiastic to have 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.”
“The prospect of the automotive industry project nurtured by Caterham Group to produce sports road cars in conjunction with Renault is another reason for my decision to join the team. I would like to thank Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun for the roles they have played in helping make this dream come true.”