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Posted on November 15, 2011
Darren Heath

It is well-known in Formula One that time is integral to any development. Whether it be designing the car or testing new configurations; strict limits on wind-tunnel use and testing can only allow for a certain amount of improvement during the season. For the three new teams that joined the grid in 2010, the last two years have consisted of non-stop development just to keep within touching distance of the more established outfits. Team Lotus has proved itself to be the out-standing case of the new entries and as we come to the end of the 2011 season the T128 is quickly becoming a nuisance for the mid-field runners.

The team began the season with the usual teething problems; having to build a brand new car based around a Renault engine and a Red Bull gearbox would not be simple. Due to these complications they lost out on exploiting parts of the car which other teams had maximised, most obvious was the use of the blown diffuser. “Obviously in 2010 we didn’t have it, so we worked on it over the winter.” Said Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer of Team Lotus. Gascoyne believes that unsolved issues with the diffuser is the key reason that the team has been unable to make the extra step to challenge the likes of Toro Rosso and Williams. “The numbers were there but we just couldn’t translate them to the track. Teams that had the technology for a while and that had more opportunities to test it were able to do that. Ultimately that is the real reason why we didn’t manage to close the gap to the people in front.” Added Gascoyne.

The team also suffered with it’s power steering system, Jarno Trulli in particular found it difficult to establish a feeling with the car. Both drivers had asked for the T128 to have more assistance with the power steering, however with more assistance came more friction. This caused a bigger “dead band” (an area where no control boost is applied, which can result in the steering wheel twitching to keep the car in a straight line) and gave both drivers a lack of feel. It hampered Trulli most and due to the problem he sat-out of the German Grand Prix. By Hungary, however, the team had fitted a new system to the car which gave Trulli much more confidence in pushing the car to its limit. “As soon as we put the new power steering on, he instantly found a huge amount of time in the car and was able to push a lot harder than previously.” Gascoyne said.

As more rule changes come in next year Gascoyne feels that the repositioning of the exhausts, effectively getting rid of blown diffusers will help them to make strides towards the front. “It is a very big change. And as a team coming from behind that curve, it very much plays into our hands.” Said Gascoyne of the rule change. The team are looking forward to next year and believe that with the T128 they have a strong platform with which to develop. “I would say that the 2012 car will look quite different because of the regulation changes regarding the nose of the car and things like that, but under the skin it will have a lot of the T128’s DNA.”

With an extra year of knowledge and stability through the team, the 2012 Caterham F1 Team are set to be a much improved player on the grid. As they are able to focus on designing a car in-tune with its engine and gearbox we may be seeing the green and yellow livery turning even more heads next year.

GASCOYNE LOOKS TO 2012 FOR BIG STEP
12 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: Martin
        Date: November 15th, 2011 @ 12:28 pm 

    here’s hoping – there’s something of the likeable ‘underdog’ spirit about the team (and Heikki) that makes me hope they really crack it next year.

    [Reply]


  2.   2. Posted By: Vvipkho
        Date: November 15th, 2011 @ 12:34 pm 

    Look forward next year Caterham F1 car

    [Reply]


  3.   3. Posted By: Dave
        Date: November 15th, 2011 @ 12:42 pm 

    Good on them. I have a soft spot for Team Lotus – as it seems do many F1 fans – so heres hoping they make the step into the midfield next year!

    [Reply]


  4.   4. Posted By: Rob Newman
        Date: November 15th, 2011 @ 1:02 pm 

    Team Lotus has been the stand out team this year – from the new comers. I am sure they will do a better job as Caterham next year thanks to the new initiatives they have taken.

    I wonder what happened to the bet Richard Branson lost last year with Tony Fernandes. Did he ever dress up as an air stewardess?

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  5.   5. Posted By: andrew roseblade
        Date: November 15th, 2011 @ 2:57 pm 

    i hope they can get just the 1 point it will make such a difference 2 their next year spend

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  6.   6. Posted By: ben
        Date: November 15th, 2011 @ 3:20 pm 

    job well done for this year and another round of great improvement.
    the team deserved a pat on the shoulder and we the fans looking forward to next year car.
    please update us on your development and activities during the F1 break.
    we’re sincerely behind you….Caterham F1.

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: Mon Pen
        Date: November 15th, 2011 @ 3:50 pm 

    I love this team, was at their test at Duxford earlier this year and really liked what they were doing. And met Karun, who is easily one of my favourite people in F1 at the moment. However they really need to get rid of Trulli, he is utter dead wood at the moment (has been for years actually, but that’s another discussion for another day).

    [Reply]


  8.   8. Posted By: ColinZeal
        Date: November 15th, 2011 @ 6:43 pm 

    i of course meant “latest news” not “recent news”

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  9.   9. Posted By: Nilesh
        Date: November 15th, 2011 @ 7:31 pm 

    To think that this team almost didn’t make it with the other new teams in 2010!

    James, any idea how likely it is the Trulli train will be on the 2012 grid? It looks increasingly likely that Sutil will be without a drive at FI. Do you see a possibility of him ending up at Caterham?

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  10.   10. Posted By: Ross
        Date: November 15th, 2011 @ 7:50 pm 

    I’ve heard this all before from this team. Even to stand still are going have to have to find a second a lap just to be in their with the lower midfield. Such improvements in F1 over a winter are very rare.

    I am hoping that the rules not changing too much over the winter that the midfield will close the gap to the front runners next year. A similar scenario in the 2008 season saw an incredibly tight grid from front to back.

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  11.   11. Posted By: Stuart Harrison
        Date: November 16th, 2011 @ 1:10 am 

    I’d love to see some predictions about which of the three new teams will be first to score a championship point .. and in which season :)

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: vvipkho
        Date: November 16th, 2011 @ 4:10 am 

    More news coming soon from this team, looking forward to hear the future of Caterham F1 Team.

    [Reply]

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