Caterham first out with ‘ugly’ new car
LONDON - Reuters
Finland’s Heikki Kovalainen and Italian Jarno Trulli are the Caterham’s named drivers, although there has been lingering speculation about the latter’s race seat. AFP photoMalaysian-owned Caterham emerged at the head of the pack yesterday as the first of the Formula One teams to show off its new car.
If the green and yellow CT01 was unlikely to win any beauty parade, with some branding the “platypus-nosed” car downright ugly, technical head Mike Gascoyne was sure it would not be alone.
“As we’re the first car out it is obviously stirring up a lot of debate, but because of the 2012 regulations I think you’ll probably be seeing this type of nose on most of the cars this year,” he said on the team’s Facebook page.
The rules have been changed to limit the height of the nosebox to try and ensure noses are not too high.
“Our challenge is that you always want to get the chassis as high as possible to allow clean air flow to the underside of the car, and what you see on the CT01 is our solution to that,” said Gascoyne.
Former F1 designer Gary Anderson, now a technical analyst for the BBC, said the nose’s ridges and bumps were inevitable.
“The nose on the Caterham looks pretty stupid, but everyone’s going to be heading in that direction with the new rules,” he said.
Renault-powered Caterham was Team Lotus last year, and Lotus Racing in its 2010 debut season.
The team has yet to score a point, like the other two “new” teams, but it has the KERS kinetic energy recovery system for the first time this year and has set a top 10 finish as a priority.
Finland’s Heikki Kovalainen and Italian Jarno Trulli are the team’s named drivers, although there has been lingering speculation about the latter’s race seat.
Gascoyne said the new car had passed all the mandatory crash tests and would be ready for the first pre-season test in Jerez, Spain, from Feb. 7. “The design of the car has been progressing since early 2011. It’s the first year of real stability for us on the technical side, and by keeping the Renault Sport F1 engine and Red Bull Technology gearbox, we know exactly what we’re working with and what we can expect,” he said.
“Each year so far we’ve effectively not only had a new design team but also a new gearbox and engine combination.
“Now, however, we have a very stable design team under our technical director Mark Smith, and this means we can take a much bigger step forward in terms of the detail of the design.”
Caterham has been using the Williams wind tunnel as well as one in Italy, with aerodynamics the focus as it tries and moves up the pecking order from 10th place overall last year.
“Until we run the car, we only have numbers and simulation data to work with,” said Gascoyne.