Caterham CT03 makes an appearance at Jerez

CT03 2013 front

The Caterham CT03 made its first public appearance just in time for the start of pre-season testing at Jerez.

The CT03 will be powered by Renault engines and is an evolution of last season’s car.

Technical director Mark Smith said the car is “an evolution of CT01 rather than a complete re-design, allowing us to focus our resources on developing areas of last year’s package where opportunities would give us the greatest return, whilst also beginning work on the 2014 package”.

Smith added the CT03 would remain in the same configuration for the first race in Australia. New front and rear wings plus a new diffuser will be added “soon after the start of the season”.

CT03 2013 car

Among the changes to this season’s car are more deeply undercut sidepods. “The diffuser, engine cover and cooling exits have also seen major changes,” adds Smith, “and there are more subtle improvements to other areas of the car, such as the sidepod turning vanes and the lower tea-tray area”.

This is the first car the team have produced since the arrival of new team principal Cyril Abiteboul. “I am very pleased that we have been able to allocate our resources and budgets as efficiently as possible to produce a car that will allow us to consolidate our position in Formula 1 whilst also starting work on the 2014 car as early as possible,” he said.

“From the outside, the most obvious change to CT03 car is the livery. Whilst retaining the green and yellow paint scheme that has become synonymous with our team since 2010, we have refreshed both colours to enhance their visibility on track and give them what will be, we believe, one of the best looking liveries in the pit line.”

CT03 2013 side

The Leafield-based team are feeling optimistic in the upcoming Formula 1 World Championship and hopes to make steady progress towards the midfield.

Last season Caterham only just fended off rival Marussia for the lucrative tenth position in the constructors’ championship standings.

And having begun the Formula 1 life with a pair of Grand Prix winners in the hot seat with the shape of Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli, financial realities have now forced the team towards less experienced drivers with financial backing.

Both former winners have left Caterham at the end of 2012, and so the line-up for this season will be ex-Marussia driver Charles Pic, who will be partnered by test driver Giedo van der Garde.

3 thoughts to “Caterham CT03 makes an appearance at Jerez”

  1. Caterham team principal Cyril Abiteboul said it was more important to improve the team’s infrastructure this winter than to revamp its car, after unveiling an evolutionary design at Jerez on Tuesday.

    The CT03 features a number of carry-over elements from last year’s challenger, but Abiteboul believes Caterham had to get its processes right first before being more aggressive with its design.

    He promised a major redesign of the car during the course of 2013.

    “We cannot satisfy ourselves anymore from being the best of the new teams,” said Abiteboul, who took over the team principal role last September.

    “We need to be doing better than that – and we need to say and demonstrate that we can do better than that.

    “It is about finding the right balance between what, given the level of resources, we can put on the car for the first test, what will be on track for race one and how we will be able to develop the car for 2013 keeping an eye on 2014.

    “Everything is about efficiency: where are we most efficient using our resources because we are operating on limited resources like everyone.

    “The philosophy was to start from something we know and push in the areas where we knew we were a bit week.

    “There is a little bit of carry-over, there is no doubt about that, but having said that everything that is there is making a difference.

    “From where we are, we will be able to afford something totally new, a new concept, along the course of the year.”

    Abiteboul believes the benefits of Caterham’s windtunnel partnership with Williams, allied to progress on its own simulator development, should help deliver improvements over the course of the campaign.

    And although well aware that the team has challenges, especially with the 2014 regulation overhaul on the horizon, he says it is not going to forget about delivering this year.

    “Yes, it is a transition year but we are not writing off this year,” Abiteboul said.

    “You hear some people saying it is a transition year and let’s meet next year, but I don’t want to have any accountability for this year by saying it is a transition year.

    “It is a lot about consolidating the platform. Making sure that we understand what we do, making sure that we have the right people in place, the right processes in places, the right driver line-up to keep building for the future.

    “So that is the transition. It is part of a step, part of our growth, and part of our development.”


  2. The Caterham CT03 features the ugly stepped nose and yet the team will not cover this up with the vanity panel. has the story.

    Caterham has no plans to hide the stepped nose on its CT03 with a vanity panel, as the team questions whether other teams will keep with their launch designs.

    Teams have been divided so far on whether or not to fit the optional vanity panel over the ‘ugly’ noses that have become a feature of the current rules.

    Caterham has joined teams like Lotus and Red Bull in coming to the conclusion that the vanity panel cover only provides a weight disadvantage, and team principal Cyril Abiteboul says outfits that are running them currently may even ditch them for the start of the season.

    “The thing is it is extra weight,” said Abiteboul. “Let’s face reality: we cannot afford the luxury right now to add extra weight on to the car. We will see later in the season.

    “What we would not want to be doing was being the only one who has an ugly nose. So if everyone was to follow that trend then maybe we would do something.”

    He added: “I have not seen a lot of cars , maybe Ferrari has a nice nose , but I would be interested to see what they run in the race when the weight makes a difference, not just for a car launch.

    “We have a car that we will be developing during the season, so we are not ruling out anything , including a different nose.”

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