Pre-Season F1 2012 Car Preview: Caterham CT01


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I have always thought that the unveiling of an new F1 car was a chance to show off a teams sponsors, new or old. A great chance for that company to get there name on a big double page spread (at least) in Car and F1 racing mags. However this not how Caterham F1, nee: Team Lotus, aka Team Air Asia, does things.

Understandably they don't want to give away any secrets of the new car and give any advantage to rivals, who may at least study the car to try and see weakness and strengths. And even try and copy parts if teams think that Caterham have found something. Yet the effect of this is that it looks as if somebody forgot to pay the electricity bill at base in Hingham.

However it doesn't matter how low the lights are, There is one feature of the car that is impossible to miss. The nose. Looking like the designer got knocked whilst drawing the nose cone and forgetting to correct it before manufacturing. the "Dolphin Nose" takes the new rules about nose height to extremes. Concerns about Suspension packaging rather then any aerodynamic advantage. There is no doubt about one ting though. Its butt ugly.

Overall the rest of the Car or a least what I make of it. looks rather conservative more evolution rather then evolution. The Air intakes on the side sidepods looks larger. The somewhat controversial 2010 Style roll hoop gone and replaced with a very Traditional looking round hole above the driver. and the Exhaust outlets looking rather pre-2009.

It seems that with the roll hoop, Caterham couldn't do what Mercedes also couldn't do in 2010 and find any particular advantage to the Fin with split inlets. It was a surprise to many in the know that Caterham then Lotus, and Force India used them last season as it seemed not to provide much advantage and its own pitfalls. Time will only tell if Force India will also drop the Roll Hoop style too. As for the Caterham? ot looks as if a proper look at it will have to wait until the first Test.

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Good article. I have to say I thought the Dolphin nose was going to be standard across the teams because of the new regs but with the Mclaren not featuring it and apparently the new Ferrari having something completely different again its obviously something the designers have delib gone for.

Ugly it is but ugly doesn't always mean slow. I guess at least they're trying new things to close the gap.
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