The team decided to move away from established drivers and signed rookie Giedo van der Garde and second-year driver Charles Pic for this season. This left race winner Heikki Kovalainen without a seat, but he remained with the team as their reserve driver.
The Finn has been strongly linked to a return to a race seat at Caterham. Of their current line-up, it is thought that van der Garde has the best chance of being retained.
“A combination of experience and younger blood is something that will make sense,” Abiteboul told AUTOSPORT. “As Caterham, we are committed to young people, to young talent. So I think that will stay.
“Experience is nice to have because it gives everyone confidence in terms of feedback and analysis, because next year we will be completely blind at the start.
“Of course there will be plenty of data, but there will be so much information to digest that it may be useful to have a driver who gives proper orientation just to save you time. What I don’t want to have is the excuse that ‘it is not the car, it is the driver’. A driver who we know is capable is something we would like to have.”
He said Kovalainen isn’t the only experienced driver who is in with a shot at a drive for next year: “Heikki is one of the options and you see that there is a lot of movement in the paddock. I know we are not considered as a priority where we are by some experienced drivers, but maybe there will be more experienced drivers than there are seats available.
“You have [Daniil] Kvyat entering the sport, you have [Kevin] Magnussen entering the sport, you only have one retirement which is [Mark] Webber, so something has to happen. We are open to talent, and proven talent, and there are very capable drivers both inside and outside of F1, and lots of discussions going on. What I would like is to have something sorted out very quickly.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic