After a long break, the Mid-Season Review’s have returned, with Charles Pic at the center of attention. The Frenchman commenced only his second season in Formula One working at Caterham, following a successful first campaign at rivals Marussia. Pic has had a consistent but innocuous season so far, and will need to improve if he wants to attract the attention of the elite teams.
With his P14 in Malaysia marking the Frenchman’s best result, Pic must acknowledge that there is significant room for improvement in terms of his performances. However, initial signs are very positive. Considering Pic’s standing within the team it is easy to overestimate his experience and objectives, as he only has one full season in F1 to his name. It is a credit to his attitude and natural talent that misconceptions are made in regards to his expected attainment.
Last season, Marussia brought Charles into the team following Jerome D’Ambrosio’s below par 2011. Many analysts, including myself, believed that the introduction was too soon in Pic’s career, especially considering his average results in GP2 over the course of his three seasons within the series. While he had demonstrated consistency, three victories could and should have been more considering the strength of the Arden International Team. Regardless, he proved his doubters wrong when he challenged Timo Glock throughout his debut season at the pinnacle of motorsport and was perhaps unfortunate to not receive offers from midfield teams during the “silly season” of last year. Nevertheless, Charles saw the Caterham seat as a better prospect for success in the future yet may have been considering an error in judgement prior to a recent resurgence of form.
Undoubtedly, Caterham started the season slowly. Both Charles and Giedo recognised the flaws within the early package which were responsible for their daunting deficit to Marussia during the opening rounds. It was not until Bahrain, that Pic showed signs of promise, as he finished ahead of both Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi for the first time. Since then, the team have grown in confidence as development has seen them accelerate past Marussia – a feat demonstrated by Charles’ excellent results at Silverstone, Nurburgring and most recently the Hungaroring. Real progress has been made and Pic’s relationship with the team will have benefited from the gains in performance.
In terms of finishing races, Pic is among the most solid performers of his age group. His only DNF so far in 2013 came during the Monaco Grand Prix, where his CT-03 suffered a fiery exit. Charles is yet to make the mistakes that would be expected of a driver so early in his F1 journey and the team will be pleased to have a driver which they can rely upon to take the maximum result away from each and every weekend.
In terms of the rest of the season, Charles has a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate his talents. His lackluster start to the campaign was a result of a weak package. The latest incarnation of Pirelli tyres has complimented Caterham’s development work, allowing them to build an advantage over Marussia in terms of machinery. Slowly but surly, Caterham are gaining ground on the midfield teams and if Charles Pic could become the first driver to score points for the team, his stock will rise considerably. It is a tantalizing opportunity for one of the sports underrated young talents.