F1 Winter Break
Caterham F1 Team unveil teaser shot of first F1 car
Posted By:   |  25 Jan 2012   |  8:06 pm GMT  |  110 comments

The Caterham F1 Team has today unveiled a teaser photo its 2012 season challenger, the CT01, a day ahead of the planned release in F1 Racing magazine.

Caterham had intended to showcase their car, the first since the name change from Team Lotus, on the cover of F1 Racing magazine, which is released on Thursday. However at midday UK time, the team posted an image of this years car on its official Twitter feed with more images set to be published on Caterham’s website tomorrow, along with some thoughts from technical boss Mike Gascoyne and team boss Tony Fernandes.

The photo confirms that the 2012 cars will look quite unusual, due to new regulations regarding the nose area; the car has a platypus-style nose.

This is a car which needs to propel the team into the midfield, to challenge teams like Sauber, Toro Rosso and Williams. The new car has also been built with a more aggressive aerodynamic approach, featuring low rear bodywork and slim sidepods aimed at minimizing the drag effect in that section of the car. The team will once again use Renault engines and a Red Bull gearbox. It will also have KERS for the first time, which will give a boost of around 0.4s per lap compared to last years KERS-less car.

The CT01 is scheduled to have its debut outing, along with many of the new cars from other teams, at the first official test at Jerez, which begins on February 7th.

What kind of season do you think Caterham will have?

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Good grief, that nose is hideous! A real dog's breakfast. Let's hope other designers found more graceful solutions to the 2012 regulations.

On another note, Kimi completed over 170 laps in his two day acclimation with Lotus; according to James, testing costs $1500 per lap, so Lotus have laid out a cool quarter of a million bucks just to help get Kimi up to speed -- a real testament to their seriousness this year.


I think it is Ron Dennis who used to say that if the car doesn't look quick, it won't be quick.

As much as I like the CaterhamF1 team, at first sight, I don't expect it will super aero efficient.

I hope I am proven wrong though.


I think if you read James's earlier posts on Kimi's test, James said they(Pireli) use a neutral tyre so that he does'nt get an advantage. But this is Kimi, I think he would have been mixing with the midfield even if he truned up on race day with no running.


Wow that is one ugly car. I hope they are all not like that. Think I may be listening to 5 live instead of getting sky to save my eyes.


Oh my god. Is that what the cars will look like this year. Thankfully I have a nice high seat in the Webber stand for Melbourne. So I can lean back and be sick out of the way, everytime one of these noses drives past....

As for Caterham. I really hope they get on the scoreboard this year. It's been so interesting to see a team built from total scratch. Prior to 2010, Stuart must have been the last ??


super aguri ?


allthough might not count as a 100% new team 🙂


The last entirely brand new teams from scratch before the 3 'new teams' in 2010 were Toyota (2002) and Stewart (1997).

Super Aguri were essentially new in 2005, but did campaign old Arrows chassis out of the old Arrows factory as the Honda B Team, so not totally from scratch.

As I understand it, BAR in 1999 was essentially a new team and a new car, but because they bought Tyrell for the entry slot (and still have the same company number) probably don't count either.

Prost was just the Ligier team with a new name!


Yeh thought they were an Arrows, then developed.


Prost GP was last. And it's "Stewart", not Stuart.


I think I'm the first to point out ... that Prost bought Ligier... Do I get a prize?


Nope! Prost GP, if you remember correctly, was originally the Ligier team! The last team actually built from the ground up was Toyota, and then yes, Stewart before them.


Nope, Prost bought Ligier and renamed them. Prior to 2010, Super Aguri were the last team to enter without buying another team, but Stewart were the last to enter with their own built car in the first season (Super Aguri using an old Arrows chassis updated for the 2006 rules)


Prost was essentially a takeover of Ligier.

The last totally new F1 projects I can think of prior to the current three were Super Aguri (2007, with initial help from Honda) and Toyota (1997).


Didn't Prost just take over Ligier?


Prost was Ligier before, no?


Prost wasn't made from scratch I'm afraid. He bought out the Ligier team. The last before Lotus/Caterham, HRT and Virgin/Marussia would be Stewart. Super Aguri's car in their first year was a four year old Arrows.


Prost GP previously had been Ligier. So, not from scratch.


Stewart Grand Prix was the last. Prost just bought Ligier and they raced since 1976.


Prost GP was Ligier.


Prost bought out Ligier, so wasn't a completely new team.

The last completely new team, 'developed from scratch' before the latest three (excluding Super Aguri, which was basically a B-Honda) was Toyota.


Forgot about Prost, easy to.


I think to get a points finish or two will be a big achievement for Caterham. They're certainly in reach of the slower midfield teams, the likes of Williams especially.

They need to do away with Trulli though.


If they resolve the power steering issues that have dogged the car then I expect to see Jarno return to form.


They really should have considered how the cars would look when making the rules. The look of the cars has a lot to do with the attraction of the sport.

Love the paint scheme, though.


Farmers among us may like the resemblance to tractors of the 1950s


There is no getting away from the fact that it is an ugly car, but then maybe this is what we are going to have to get used to from now on.

It will be interesting to see how all the cars look this year and the first car launch of the year always increases the anticipation of the cars to follow.

A fast car is a beautiful car... well we will see. I wish them well, I am a fan of the team and the spirit with which they race, but they are going to have to do consistently well straight out of the box to move up from 10th in the constructors.

Bring on Melbourne!!!


Are these new F1 cars going to look like last year's IndyCars?



think someone leaked a picture of the magazine before they released this did they not ?



apparently the magazine got to people early than planned hence they tried to tweet the pics before other people had a chance to.


Correct! The subscribers go the mag two days earlier than they should!


Sheesh some people!

Why didn't Caterham just say from the start that they would release their car on the Jan 24th, now thanks to the speed of Twitter, they have just rendered tomorrow's official launch DEAD!

But hey, isn't that a funny species we got there, big front wing & broken nose & all, it has the makes of a child only a mother can love.

And apparently all cars are going to feature the same nose due to the new regs, I guess well we should brace ourselves for some shockers when they're unveiled.

But one thing if for certain, which ever geniuses comes up with these new regs should get banned from the sport, just look what those *&@#? are doing to our cars.


Very funny, I didn't know Caterham were KERS less last season.

Okay Sauber should watch their backs in 2012 for they're now in Caterham's firing range.


OMG - its got a broken nose!!

I thought that such a step in a leading edge aerodynamically would cause a lot of resistance.

Let's hope they do well this season and secretly I hope they outdo lotus!!

I just hope that this is not the trend for other teams as it doesn't look sexy does it?


if your refering to the 'step' in the top of the nose at the front wheel area, i think this may just be at the sides, a bit like what red bull had.


An F1 car already has the drag co-eff of a brick, it's all about getting airflow to the 'right' places.


That's funny! Broken nose. I guess we need to call a cosmetic doctor for a nose job!


More than a platypus-styled nose it seems like a Pinocchio-styled nose


Looks like i was right about Caterham launching first to try and get a jump on the competitors for possible sponsorship attraction (not the highlighted big shiny side pod area) And also certainly correct about the cars getting yet even more ugly revolting! be interesting to see the comparison in looks when the Ferrari after the Luca di Montezemolo's comments on his own teams car!


In all likelihood, I still see the team finishing 10th this year. The difference being that if there is an interesting race result, they will be able to capitalise on others mistakes, rather than being too far behind even the slower teams to take advantage.

I do hope they get a point or two. I like Fernandes and the way he runs things. He may not be going in F1 forever, but his business is smart and he clearly wants to propel the team forward, rather than the ridiculous ideals of HRT and a nationalised team. Who wants to put a flag on a car if it's going to be at the back ?


Don't mean to nitpick but are you selectively ignoring the fact that for two years in a row HRT have not finished in the middle of the new teams? If thats ridiculous where do you rank Virgin Marussia?


In terms of talking of where Caterham are aiming (middle of the pack) and where HRT and Marussia Virgin will be (firmly at the back) I chose to not really count them within the conversation.

Marussia have the most realistic opportunity to move forward, with their tie in with Mclaren, but HRT are too busy 'restructuring' to be a Spanish team. Isn't it also rumoured that if someone comes up with 6 million euros the other race seat is theirs ?


Apparently, Royal Mail surprised everyone by delivering F1 Racing a day earlier, which led to scanned photos on the net and then the official teaser shot. (The Cat is quick shocking from the front)

If protruding proboscises are going to be the norm (along with underdeveloped rear wings and front wings suffering from elephantiasis), at what point with people want make F1 pretty again?

They need to bring sexy back.


Shouldn't that be proboscii? just kidding around.


You'd think so.

I actually had to look it up. 😛


That's good to know. Especially this season. It'll be used alot.


Thanks Scarbs - really appreciate the reasoning behind both the regs and the 'solutions' that the designers come up with. Cheers.


Like many people I am sure, I am in awe of how accurate you managed to predict the look of the new nose. You could paint your pics green and yellow and not tell the difference to the actual Caterham. Kudos to your work.


Hi scarbs,

My understanding then is that noses will change again in 2014 with an even lower 25cm regulation? So we will get two years of these broken flat nose cones and then they'll have to be almost as low as the old days... Interesting.

The nose height regs I understand are to prevent t-boning and piercing impacts but also increase driver visibility - but if the bulk chassis is still higher giving this broken nose look the visibility argument seems thrown out.

Roll on 2014 then, a rash of ugly as hell cars wont help.

Chris of Adelaide

Interesting Read, Thanks for the post!


Looks like your predictions were (sadly) spot on. Can we assume all the '12 noses will look like this then?


What a beauty!


Deary me.

That nose is ludicrous. Did they not forsee this in the regs???

Please tell me they are not all going to look like that. F1 cars are supposed to be a thing of beauty.

I thought the 1995 Mclaren was bad.


the 1995 Mclaren LOL. That was awful!


Looks like someone forgot to tell Caterham that F1 Racing gets delivered a day earlier to subscribers.


not a picture of beauty, if the saying 'if it looks good, it is good' is true, i don't have much hope for them. i wish them well though.


Love the back end but the front is dog ugly. The wing especially is the worse part of a car (design wise) in the last ten odd years.


You mean the 2011 wing that is fitted to it :0


Doh! meant to say nose 🙂


Interesting car, looks a lot like the sauber from 2010 and that is not a compliment, really hoping the top tier teams have a better lookin interpretation, although if it's fad I guess then who cares? Right?

As for their season, I figure they will pick off one of the midfield stragglers and grab 9th. I almost dare to say they could have made a more convincing assault on 9th this year if Trulli had pulled more evenly with Heikki. At the start. They will need to score some actual points this year though.


I just hope this car will be up to it. Be a good thing that the cars in in effect an in house design and unlike the last two years where it been bits and bob from other cars. I can only pray. I just want them to get a point if they get one i consider it progress. James do you think we could see progress this year. ALso good luck with your new position.


I hope that this car catapults them up the grid, they're a fantastic outgoing team, opening up Formula 1 to the fans a lot more than most of the other teams put together. Because of this team I have a small sweet spot for QPR lol


The nose is so ugly! It sounds like most teams will be doing a similar thing which is a shame. I didn't realise the worries of a t-bone incident were so significant. I fancy Caterham to score points this year it will be interesting to see if that means moving up in the constructors table


Oh no...it seems 2012 is destined to be the year of the ugly F1 car!

For pure aesthetics, can I propose a rule that states flat undertrays all the way to the tip of the nose. This is all the evidence you need:


I rest my case!


Long gone are the days when F1 cars looked like racing cars, I felt my stomach sink on seeing this monstrosity. Another year of watching freakish looking cars racing in some of the most glamourous locations, I just hope the racing distracts us again. Just had to look up some of the following cars just to settle my stomach:-

Jordan 191

McLaren mp4/5b

Ferrari F1/87

Lotus 98t

McLaren mp4/22


Some might say all F1 cars have been ugly since 1968 😉


That is a fair point 🙂


The funny looking nose has been predicted for awhile so I'm not too surprised by it, but it will take some getting used to.

I'm glad to see that they changed the Caterham logo on the side of the car, but surprised its so small, and unnoticeable.

Also glad that they'll be running KERS this year. If it truly is worth four tenths it will be a good thing. Seeing how they only a half second off the Toro Rosso's & Williams a couple of times last year.

Hoping for a good year for these guys this year.


The platypus nose will take some getting used to!


OMG! I've seen some other pictures too. Looks like a poorly made fake F1 chinese toy.


Not a pretty car and I hope other teams have interpreted the rules differently to create something a little more pleasing on the eye.

Also, when we use the term aggressive, do we just mean risky? i.e. that's an aggressive strategy...aggressive design....aggressive tyre choice etc


So the stepped nose is the trend for this season. It could be one of the ugliest grids for a while!

Low back to the sidepods looks neat packaging.


I just want them to announce Petrov to drive instead of Jarno now. I always liked Trulli but I believe his better times are in the past and it is time to give way to younger drivers that I'm sure are hungrier for results. IMHO Vitaly deserves another shot in F1 and he has shown he can learn and improve. I love the fact that he started his racing career when he was 17, with no karting experience, and still made it to F1 - impressive isn't it?

Regarding the car... well, the nose is ugly no doubt, but the back is rather sexy, so I'll keep my final judgment till I see it on track. Wonder what the new Mac will look like


I was one of lucky ones that got their F1 Racing msg early then? (Arrived Weds morning)

One ugly ugly car I'm afraid. I hear others will be similar particularly in respect of the nose.

Hope they do well tho, really like this outfit


You can't truely see the horror that is the nose from the cover shot. When i saw the side view inside the magazine i thought it must have been a printing error. Lets hope its a trent that no body follows. I dont think the new Ferrari has a nose like that in the apparently leaked images in Gazetto dela sport.


The regutions that have necessitated this design are a travesty. I had just begun to find (some of) the post 09 cars aesthetically pleasing and until recently was looking forward to the return of the lowered nose (envisaging something more like an early 90s car). This car looks far from cutting edge and in my opinion a large part of the appeal of f1 is to see cars that are an emodiment of pure aerodynamics not an incongruent ugly compromise. The formula needs an overhaul to bring back beauty to f1 cars as these monstrosities will do little for the popularity of the sport.


Doesn't matter what it looks like if it performs well. As they will have the Red Bull KERS although that's perhaps not much of a recommendation, but perhaps this year the problems will have been cured. Personally I hope Caterham can move up the grid beyond 9th this year, but they will be up against stiff competition all of whom want to do better this year.


Dunno why people are freaking out: Marussia (Virgin at the time) and HRT had more or less the same type of nose in 2010. I seem to recall reviews were more favourable.

Looks funky to me. Certainly Caterhammers will need to deliver at least something this year: Stewart won a race in its 3rd year of existence but those were the different times of course. Either JYS knew what he was doing or new kids on the F1 block aren't good enough.


I thought they were running lower noses on the cars this year, to stop them from becoming air borne in rear end crashes.

This nose looks rather high like the 1999/2000 Ferraris


I don't think it looks all that bad...


today more photo will release to everyone..

looking forward jerez testing ..


Dear F1 tech / regulators,

Why are you lot tweaking the regulations to make the cars more and more ugly ever since 2009? We had a huge shock back then and now it's even worse.

For Pete's sake just bring back regulations from 1990 or something when we had good looking cars AND damn great racing! There's no need to introduce new AND POINTLESS regulations when there are old ones you can make bloody good use of.


One ugly car I agree, but hey everyone, Mike Gas has never been a great F1 car designer, his cars have always looked a little bit weird, no?


Just another thing...

This car's nose remind me of AP01 from Prost



2012 - the Year of the Platypus, eh? Just curious to anyone who can answer - does the raised nose increase risk to drivers in collisions, especially in side on contact potentially deflecting off the side pods (sidepod removes underset wing, nose skims across top of side pod and then at driver)?


the reason for the lower nose is actually to improve safety in the sort of contact you mention.

the really high noses we have had the past few years have started to get into the zone where they would go above the crash structure in the event of a t-bone type crash.


I do not know why everybody is harping on about it looks. Everybody agreed at the start of the 2010 season that the Virgin Racing car looked absolutely stunning... But was it stunningly fast? You all know that answer. So, I will reserve judgment until the first race,grudgingly I admit because I want to know NOW how fast it is, if it is indeed beautiful. If it is fast, it can look like the ugliest thing dredged out of the deepest ocean for all I care. Like Luca DeMontezemelo said, If it is fast, it is beautiful.


Totally agree. It's new and different which is putting off some people because it's not what they're used to or expect. I remember thinking the high nose cars were ugly as sin when they first appeared, but now it seems normal. Same with the high air intakes for the engine. Many people considered rear engined cars ugly when they first appeared. btw the most beatiful F1 car for me are the Maserati 250F, The Ferrari 156, and the Eagle.


(btw the most beatiful F1 car for me are the Maserati 250F, The Ferrari 156, and the Eagle.)

I tend to agree with you. For me, the Brabham BT19 is still the best looking car in F1 history.


Yes, the Brabham is right up there. I could also add the Lotus 78/79 - and what a beautiful livery!




Ok, everyone except you I guess... Even Angelina Jolie is considered ugly by some people... 😛


I think FIA should concentrate more on banned 'Ugly Looking' cars like these rather than banning Renault's Dive-stall device.

F1 is ought to be about beauty. The reason why Ferrari has been ruling the passions of us fans is that they churned out the most beautiful looking machines since F1 started. No matter where they finished, no matter how much they broke down (Alesi era) they always were revered and worshiped.

When you eliminate the 'beautiful' aspect from F1 then it turns out to be a fat efficient chick in a nightclub... which is useless to be honest 😉


A large part of me thinks that the whole 'leak' may have simply been nice marketing. I don't believe that the Team wouldn't have known that subscribers often get magazines a day or to before they hit the shelves.

Any chance that this is going to improve when they start putting 2012 spec wings on and this is simply a launch spec? Not overly optimistic but as long as it is fast all will be well.

The rest of the car looks rather nice, especially the packaging round the rear end, I think this could be a trend we will see on all cars this year. Significant that they have KERS this year as it alone will provide them a noticeable step forward, assuming they get better reliability than last years RBR. Is it this years RBR KERS or last years?

Also, is it my eyes and the lighting or has the Caterham got an incredibly long wheelbase?


[mod] Fans who believe an F1 car must meet a very narrow range of aesthetic criteria to be judged "beautiful". It's clear none of these people have what it takes to be F1 designers. It's all about going fast. I don't subscribe to the view that beauty is defined by how much a car looks like a 1970s Ferrari. To me, this is a beautiful car - it's tightly designed to excel given a certain set of technical restrictions. It looks pretty exciting to me.


Right on... Form follows function, the way it should be.


Oops sorry if I was too strong with my original (moderated) comment. It does interest me though why people expect fighter jets to look functional and aggressive but f1 cars have to look pretty. Maybe it's because people have that mindset when it comes to road cars that the buy, because image is important to them if they're going to be seen driving the thing, and they carry that over to f1.


It is so ugly that they chose to show only pictures of it in the dark. Yet still it evokes thoughts of the Elephant Man.


The look of the car should be a serious factor as it is part of the attraction, therefore should be considered when setting up the rules. These new cars won't look just ugly, they will look stupid.


Not too ugly. The shock of seeing the cars with big front wing and small rear wing was way more worse (especially that first photo of the BMW).

Still, I think it will look a lot better when seen in action.


I won't be buying one of these for the model cabinet. It'll frighten the neighbour's kids.


I'm not impressed... there was too much light in the picture.


It occurred to me that a lot of what's being said is if the car is ugly or not, and how this was influenced by the technical rules. People say that fast is beautiful and it doesn't matter how the car looks. I completely agree. Cars that adapt to the technical rules with innovation define what's beautiful. This new rule, I feel, is different, in that it took a part of the car and limited its height, but left all other parts of the car alone. There is no other interpretation of the rules other than this one for the teams, if they want to be competitive. The rule makers must have known this. Adapting to these regulations, I fear, will not result in beauty following success. It just looks like what it is: An arbitrary rule tacked on to an already established set of rules that the cars have come to adapt to.


I hate to think what impact such a radical change in boundary layer will do to laminar flow, surely this is a transition to turbulent flow, its not going to re attatch further back unless its forcing down the BL further back


Its looks a bit like the nose that Sauber ran in 2010 does it not?


Love it , 🙂


UGLY, that's how most of us felt when the 2009 car was exposed.

Better wait for testing to begin. But looks like the front humpy effect will be the basic feature as mentioned by Mike.


I have enjoyed watching this team very much, and they seem to have a strong technical group. However I'm concerned about the general direction of the team.

Tony made a poor decision to go with the Team Lotus branding, and then decided to battle it out with Lotus, alienating himself from both brands and diluting the teams DNA.

They are still missing a title sponsor, so are using his Air Asia business, and now they have rebranded to Catterham, his side project/niche kit car builder, which for Catterham cars may be an amazing deal but makes little to no financial sense for Tony or the F1 team.

They've gotten lucky with the Renault engine deal and more so with the Red Bull gearbox/kers tie up, but what they really need to continue moving forwards is a proper manufacturer works deal, and/or a major title sponsor.

To me, while the team stays the plaything of Fernandes and he keeps double dipping in sponsorship, branding etc it will be difficult for them to move to the front of the midfield or beyond.


If they would just legalize ground effect tunnels again we could get back to beautiful race cars. Lotus 79 to mentionjust 1. The reasons to ban ground effect are no longer relavent, and shoud cornering speeds get too high,they could make minor changes to the rules and limit tunnel volumes.


Caterham CT01 now as Call The Duck because of nose by the fan..


James, Off-topic (I'm sure I won't be the only only one to ask about this) what's the legal position regarding Lewis Hamilton being 'expected' to attend the Sutil Germany trial: Is he legally obliged to attend, and what if he didn't?


C'mon guys, it may not be a pretty sight to see but if the racing is intense and close, I'm sure we'll soon forget the fact that the cars are a sight for sore eyes! 😀

I really cant wait for this season to begin!! Its like all the recent greats (on the grid and elsewhere), are positioning themselves for what will be an epic season!

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