The new-look Caterham F1 squad has taken great pride from becoming the first team to show off its new car for the 2012 season this week and at its factory on Friday completed another important stage of the CT01’s birth – the symbolic first fire-up of the engine.
From the outside this could seem like a trivial task given the months of design and development work that go into a Formula 1 car’s conception, but Caterham explained why the maiden fire-up of the Renault Sport engine in the new chassis was an important moment.
“Firing up the engine for the first time is a key part of the new car build process, as it allows the team to check that all the systems are working as they should, and to take a look at the basic architecture of all the mechanical and electronic items that are usually covered by the bodywork,” the team said.
The Norfolk-based outfit said the fire-up process had gone to plan and has made available an audio file of the moment the CT01 came to life for the first time for fans to listen to, with pictures of the process also on its Flickr site here.
Friday’s fire-up marked the end of a big week for the team; the CT01 is the first car to run under the Caterham name following the end of its two-year Lotus era and the one with which team owner Tony Fernandes is eyeing a first points finish.
Caterham F1’s chief technical officer, Mike Gascoyne, has been pleased with the work completed over the winter and explained that recent additional time in Williams’ wind tunnel had provided a boost in its bid to improve the car’s aerodynamic performance.
“The car build has gone very smoothly. The car will be completely ready for the first test in Jerez on February 7th,” he said.
“In terms of aerodynamic development, we’ve continued our programme in Italy but have augmented that with a development programme in the Williams wind tunnel, which has significantly increased our resources. All of that means I think we’ll be able to have a better and more competitive car, and we look forward to getting it out, testing it, and proving what the numbers are telling us.”