Caterham F1 Team (a trading name of 1Malaysia Racing Team Sdn Bhd) is a Malaysian-owned Formula One team based in the United Kingdom. The team competed as Caterham for the first time in the 2012 Formula One season, following the renaming of the outfit that raced as Team Lotus in 2011. This followed the acquisition of British sportscar manufacturer Caterham Cars by former team principal Tony Fernandes, forming the Caterham Group. Caterham Racing is Caterham F1's feeder team, and competes in the GP2 Series since 2011.
Fernandes's team originally entered Formula One in 2010 as Lotus Racing, using the Lotus name under licence from Group Lotus. When Proton – the parent company of Group Lotus – terminated the licence, Fernandes acquired the privately owned Team Lotus name for use in the 2011 season. As Proton began legal proceedings against the team, Fernandes acquired Caterham Cars. In November 2011, the team applied to the Formula One commission to formally change their constructor name for the 2012 season from Lotus to Caterham, while Renault changed their name to Lotus. Permission was granted before being formally ratified at a meeting of the FIA World Motorsport Council. The team finished 10th in the Constructors Championship in 2011, with three 13th place finishes; two from Trulli, the other from Kovalainen.
Trulli and Kovalainen re-signed with the team, under its new guise of Caterham, for the 2012 season.
In January 2012, it was announced that the team would be moving to the Leafield Technical Centre in Leafield, Oxfordshire, the previous headquarters of both Arrows and Super Aguri F1 teams. The Caterham CT01 is the first car the team has built to run KERS.
On 17 February, the team announced that Vitaly Petrov would replace Trulli alongside Kovalainen for the 2012 season.
Mark Smith took over pitwall operations from Group CTO Mike Gascoyne starting from the Chinese Grand Prix.
The Caterham car looked slower than expected at the beginning of the season. However, Caterham quickly found pace through Kovalainen, who made it into Q2 for the Bahrain Grand Prix, eliminating Michael Schumacher in the process. At the Monaco Grand Prix, Kovalainen achieved a season's best thirteenth place, staving off McLaren's Jenson Button until the latter spun trying to overtake him. Kovalainen again made it into the second part of qualifying, in Valencia, qualifying 16th for the race, after eliminating both Toro Rossos and title contender Mark Webber with the final lap of the first session. Caterham continued their good form into the race with both Kovalainen and Petrov running well until Kovalainen collided with Toro Rosso's Jean-Éric Vergne. The incident caused a safety car, but Kovalainen recovered to finish 14th behind Petrov, who managed what was at this point the team's joint best finish in 13th. At the British Grand Prix, an engine failure on Vitaly Petrov's Caterham on his way round to the grid meant he had to return to the pits and retire the car before the race had even begun. The team then went on to secure 10th place in the constructors' championship, pipping Marussia at the final post, after a hard last race where Vitaly Petrov achieved a team record breaking 11th place finish in front of Charles Pic where Kovalainen finished in 14th behind STR-Ferrari's Daniel Ricciardo.
On 23 November 2012, it was announced that Marussia driver Charles Pic had signed a multi-year contract with the team. His team mate will be rookie Giedo van der Garde.
On 1 March 2013 the team announced that Alexander Rossi and Ma Qinghua would be its reserve drivers for the 2013 season.
On 17 April 2013 it was confirmed that the team had re-signed Heikki Kovalainen as a test driver (formal technical development role) in order to test their upgrades.
Complete Formula One results
(key) (results in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
* Season in progress.