Following this morning’s trio of car unveilings in Jerez, Caterham this afternoon rolled out their Renault powered CT05 Formula One, after morning teething problems saw a delay in proceedings.
With rookie Marcus Ericsson at the wheel the team finally revealed their 2014 F1 challenger shortly after 3pm local time, with the car’s interesting front-nose assembly being the most notable feature.
As can be seen above the radically shaped nose is almost flush with the leading edge of the front-wing, meaning no protrusion. However, unlike the cars we have seen so far there is a wide vanity panel beyond the forward bulkhead, which stretches down the narrow nose.
“At the front of the car, the area that will obviously inspire most debate, we have focused a lot of effort on optimising flow structures around the nose, the front of the chassis and the reduced-width front wing area, all in response to the 2014 regulation changes,” said Technical Director Mark Smith.
Aside from the nose, which will divide opinion, the car that could bring the Leafield squad its first points in Formula One is an attractive one. Retaining last year’s colour scheme while featuring the same gearbox and rear-wing profiles as Red Bull makes for a neat package at the rear.
As reported last week, 2014 is a crucial season for Caterham, with team owner Tony Fernandes threatening to quit Formula One should there be no improvement in his team’s performance. After four seasons battling with Marussia yet still out of touch of the teams ahead, the change in regulations could open the door for some much needed success.
“We believe CT05 is a good starting point for us to deal with the new regulations and their associated challenges, in particular in terms of reliability,” said Team Principal and CEO Cyril Abiteboul. “We have a lot of very talented people at Leafield who have worked tirelessly to bring this car to life and everyone has played a part in helping us exceed all the targets we set. We obviously won’t know where we really are in relation to the other teams until the first race, but we believe we have answered the challenges presented by the new regulations as effectively as we can.”
With reliability set to be the central focus in the early stages of the season and little information on which powertrain manufacturer will be the most capable, Abiteboul believes that Caterham’s collaboration with Renault and Red Bull puts them in the correct position to move up the grid.
“In Renault Sport F1 and Red Bull Technology, we have technical partners that have powered the world championship-winning team for the last four years and while we are realistic enough to know we are very unlikely to be competing at the front of the grid there is no reason why we should not be fighting higher than we have done since we came into the sport in 2010. We have extensive experience of working with both Renault and Red Bull, and that is going to be crucial this year. Reliability and energy management will play a key role in 2014, especially early in the season, so our experience of working so closely with both organisations since 2011 will definitely help throughout the course of the season.”