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Exclusive Q&A with Caterham’s Charles Pic 19 Dec 2012

Charles Pic, Caterham factory, 19 December 2012 Charles Pic, Caterham factory, 19 December 2012 Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd20 Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 24 November 2012 Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 11 May 2012 Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 5 October 2012 Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team and Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Caterham on the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 9 September 2012 Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix Practice, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Friday, 20 April 2012 Olivier Panis (FRA) and Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, Thursday, 5 July 2012 Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 24 March 2012

Charles Pic may not have scored a point during his debut season of Formula One racing, but his performances relative to experienced Marussia team mate Timo Glock often caught the eye. We spoke with the 22-year-old Frenchman to find out how he’s been adjusting to life at Caterham since signing a multi-year deal with the team for the 2013 season onwards...

Q: Charles, you’ve visited the Caterham factory in Leafield several times since the season ended. Can you explain what you’ve been doing there?
Charles Pic:
First of all I met everybody and had a look around the factory. Then I spoke with the people that I will work with next year. The most important thing now is that I spend time with the team so that I know them better, and they know me better. It’s very important that we know each other before we start testing.

Q: You’ve only been a member of the team for a short period of time, but have you noticed any differences between Caterham and Marussia?
CP:
Both are very young teams. For me the Caterham factory is great. We’re doing everything we can to make a good car so now we have to work and start to prepare for next year. I think Caterham has big potential - I’m 100 percent confident of that. We just have to work very hard to improve ourselves to be better next year and to take a step forward.

Q: Caterham have been in Formula One racing for three years now, but are yet to score a point. Is there pressure in the team?
CP:
I don’t feel it like that. Caterham have always been the first of the three ‘new’ teams so I think what they’ve produced so far has been good. But for sure we can do better and our target is to do better next year. But I don’t think we are under pressure. We know where we want to go and that is the most important thing for the team.

Q: In Brazil you enjoyed a race-long battle with Caterham’s Vitaly Petrov. Was it strange to be racing so hard against a Caterham, knowing you’d be joining the team after the race?
CP:
No, I was just in my race, pushing very hard. I wasn’t thinking about that, I was just thinking about pushing hard and on things like the brake balance, diff setting and engine map because the track was changing a lot. It was quite tough. My target was to do my best job for Marussia, then after Brazil I started to work with Caterham. I’m very, very happy to be part of this team.

Q: Your 2013 team mate is yet to be announced. Last year you had a very experienced partner in Timo Glock. Do you have any preference as to the kind of driver you’d like to go up against in 2013?
CP:
Last year it was very good for me to have Timo as my team mate because it was my first year and I had a lot to learn. It was really good to be able to have a benchmark. I know I’ll have plenty of things to learn in 2013 because I’m convinced that you can’t learn everything in one year. I will try to improve myself as fast as possible, but it’s not my job to choose my team mate. I’m sure Caterham will take the right direction.

Q: You mentioned that you feel you still have a lot to learn - have you identified any specific areas?
CP:
Yes, of course. I’ve had one year in F1 and I’m only 22-years-old so I can improve plenty of stuff. I would like to adapt faster in different situations. Timo was really good at that, but then he has a lot of experience and I’m sure that helped. I was able to learn that from him and I will work on it for next year. But I had so many situations in 2012 that were completely new for me - new tracks, new problems that I had to solve that I’d never faced before. In all these new situations I always gave my best, but when I face them again I know I’ll be able to do a little bit better.

Q: You performed well against your more experienced team mate in 2012. Is your confidence particularly high at the moment?
CP:
I’m very happy about my first season in Formula One but I also know that my second season will not be easier because it’s never easier, it’s just different. My main target is to continue to improve.

Q: You’ve signed a multi-year deal with Caterham - how important was that for you?
CP:
I’m very happy about that because we can work together on the long-term and that’s very important. But it doesn’t change anything for me next year. I have my own targets, as do the team, and we’ll have to work really hard together to achieve them - that doesn’t change whether you’re on a one- or a two-year contract.

Q: Ex-Formula One driver Olivier Panis accompanied you to most races in 2012. How useful was it to have him around?
CP:
Very useful because he has great experience. He had a long F1 career and saw many situations so he can give me advice on many different things. If I had any problems I could talk to him.

Q: It’s less than two months until the first test of the 2013 season. What are your plans between now and then?
CP:
First, I will take a two-week holiday with my family in France. Then I’ll be back in the factory from the first week of January until the start of the season - I’ll be spending a lot of time in Leafield! I’ll train in England and spend some time on the simulator and I will also spend time with my mechanics and engineers, preparing for the coming year. But it’s a strange feeling - normally I’m very happy to have two weeks’ holiday with my family, but on the other hand I’m already looking forward to the first week of January and working with the team.

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