Caterham team boss Tony Fernandes says his squad prepares to enter the new season “light years ahead” of where it started in Formula 1 two years ago, and must now look to score points for the first time.
A day on from issuing a teaser shot of the new CT01, the outfit formerly known as Lotus on Thursday officially became the first Formula 1 team to unveil a 2012 challenger via the front cover of F1 Racing magazine and on its own website.
Steady improvement has characterised the squad’s first two seasons in the sport but technical stability under Mike Gascoyne’s leadership appears to have allowed the design team to take a more aggressive approach for 2012. While the car’s platypus-style nose has unsurprisingly received most attention so far, the sculpted sidepods and some of the intricate detail on the front wing point to aerodynamic progress.
“This car represents another step forward for us,” Fernandes told Caterham F1’s official website. “The detail right across the whole package is light years ahead of where we were when we first started out, and we are all excited about seeing what it can do when we get on track.”
He added: “For me this is a new year, a new start as Caterham, and the next chapter in our story. This is the first time our whole design team has really been able to get its teeth into creating our own product and I know it will be a progression from the T128, technically and in terms of its performance.”
Caterham pulled comprehensively clear of Marussia and HRT last season and increasingly began to trouble the lower end of the midfield in race conditions. Fernandes reckons the fact it now has access to Red Bull’s KERS for the first time will prove a key additional weapon in its armoury.
“Target wise, I have been quoted as saying I want us to score a point this year and that really has to be the aim. It has to be,” he admitted. “Towards the end of last year we were so close to the midfield cars, but our lack of KERS limited our capabilities. This year, however, with the people and facilities we have in the factory and the wind tunnel, and with KERS, I am confident that we will become a danger to many of the midfield teams, and yes, I want us to achieve a point somewhere in 2012 – maybe two if we are very lucky!”