Regardless of how you feel about the Caterham crowdfunding event, the simple fact is that Will Stevens has a chance to drive in Formula 1 because of fan support. While it wasn’t direct fan support for Will, it was, nevertheless, a key element in getting the team to Abu Dhabi and providing the opportunity, if not the empty seat, for Will.
The big hurdle seems to be the seemingly not-so-elusive super license required to drive an F1 car as Will told the press:
“We’ve been speaking to these guys for a week or so now, to try and get this deal over the line,” Stevens told reporters. “We actually signed for these guys at the end of last week; the final thing we had to get over the line was my Super Licence.
“We did the mileage at the Silverstone test this year and there’s a criterion racing CV which we’ve passed as well.
“So we always knew it should go ahead; we just needed to go through all the correct procedure to get here. Earlier today was when we found out.”
Will was a test driver for Caterham in the past and briefly switched the Marussia for the Japanese Grand Prix. He raced in Formula Renault 3.5 this season and says that while it’s tough to walk into a situation like this, he had support from his sponsors to make it happen and realizes that you have to grab these chances in life.
Grabbing chances is exactly what Caterham are doing this weekend with administrators saying they have a big meeting at the race regarding a possible acquisition opportunity that would see the team continue in 2015. If that were to be the case, perhaps Stevens has a potential ride for 2015 as long as the money continues to flow.
Will Stevens: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be getting this opportunity and am very grateful to everyone involved at Caterham F1 Team for giving it to me. I feel ready for the challenge of my F1 debut and look forward to working as part of the Team in a race environment after all the work we’ve done together previously in the tests I’ve completed and back at Leafield in the sim. Hopefully this will be something we will be able to carry through to the 2015 season together”.
Gianluca Pisanello, Caterham F1 Team Head of Engineering Operations: “We know Will very well through his involvement in the Caterham Racing Academy and more importantly he has done a vast amount of time in our simulator, completing around 10,000km, which has built his experience both of this year’s car and with the engineering team that are going to Abu Dhabi. In addition, his 2014 test at Silverstone in our current car, where he completed over 500kms, was very successful and his race pace was very good. As a result, he was one of our best candidates for this race weekend and we are delighted to have secured his services for our return to the F1 grid. We in fact signed Will last week but have had to wait for confirmation of his Super licence before making our announcement”.