Mar.22 (GMM) Caterham's hopes of pushing into the midfield in 2012 are not dead yet.
That is the claim of team owner and boss Tony Fernandes, despite the former Team Lotus looking to have once again emulated the pecking-order of the past two years by outpacing only Marussia and HRT in Australia.
"We have obviously improved our pace relative to our 2011 speed," the Malaysian businessman said.
"But the teams ahead have also improved, so even though we are closer than this time last year we still have work to do to bridge the gap in qualifying," he added.
Fernandes insists, however, that the race pace shown by Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov in Melbourne last weekend was "on a par" with some other teams.
Former F1 driver and Finnish commentator Mika Salo, however, is not impressed.
"The Caterham car is neither fast nor reliable," he told MTV3.