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 FIAWorld Motorsport Council. The team finished 10th in the Constructors Championship in 2011, with three 13th place finishes; two from Trulli, the other from Kovalainen.
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.
Charles Pic's 14th place at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix marks the team's highest finish of the 2013 season so far. On 17 April 2013 it was confirmed that the team had re-signed Heikki Kovalainen as a reserve driver (formal technical development role) in order to test their upgrades.Ma Qinghua consequently lost his reserve driver seat. At the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix, Giedo van der Garde achieved Caterham's best ever qualifying position with 14th place. Despite having a faster car than rivals Marussia, Caterham finished behind them on the constructors championship finishing 11th.
On 21 January 2014 it was announced that the team would have a brand new driver line-up with Marcus Ericsson and Kamui Kobayashi taking the seats. Team owner Fernandes warned team members that he would quit if results did not improve in the 2014 season.
Although World Championship races held in 1952 and 1953 were run to Formula Two regulations, constructors who only participated during this period are included herein to maintain Championship continuity. Constructors whose only participation in the World Championship was in the Indianapolis 500 races between 1950 and 1960 are not listed.