Caterham uncovered the CT03 prior to the opening Formula One pre-season test at Jerez yesterday.
The Leafield squad also officially presented its two new drivers Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde alongside the Renault-powered machine.
The CT03 is the first of the teams’ cars to be produced at Leafield and it is hoped that it will lift the squad higher up the order.
Mark Smith, Technical Director, commented the “…season ahead presented us with an interesting challenge early in the design process as it is the last year of the current regulations before the introduction of the new engine rules in 2014.
“With that in mind we decided that CT03 would be an evolution of CT01 rather than a complete re-design, allowing us to focus our resources on developing areas of last year’s package where opportunities would give us the greatest return, whilst also beginning work on the 2014 package.”
As with other 2013 machinery, the changes that have been introduced are not so instantly obvious. “Among the most obvious are around the lower chassis where the sidepods have been significantly undercut to improve airflow to the rear of the car. The diffuser, engine cover and cooling exits have also seen major changes and there are more subtle improvements to other areas of the car, such as the sidepod turning vanes and the lower tea-tray area.
“This is the package we will take to race one in Australia and as part of the 2013 upgrade program we will then bring new front and rear wings and a new diffuser soon after the start of the season.”
For new Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul, yesterday marked a proud morning, with the CT03 being the first Caterham F1 machine produced under his leadership. “This is the first car we have produced since I joined the team so this is a proud day for me. From the outside, the most obvious change to CT03 car is the livery. Whilst retaining the green and yellow paint scheme that has become synonymous with our team since 2010, we have refreshed both colours to enhance their visibility on track and give them what will be, we believe, one of the best looking liveries in the pitlane.”
Like Marussia, Caterham are also running with two drivers low on F1 experience, but with plenty of motor racing years behind them; something Abiteboul is keen to note will not present issues for the squad. “[Charles and Giedo] give us a good mix of youth and experience inside and outside Formula One. Charles and Giedo are both young and dynamic and we expect that their enthusiasm for the sport and the team will be fuelling our growth.
“Additionally, they provide clear proof of our dedication to developing young driver talent and now, any aspiring driver who dreams of F1 can see that there is a clear route to the F1 grid under the guidance of the Caterham Driver Development Program, the 2013 format of which will soon be presented.”
If results of the past three seasons is anything to go by Caterham have a lot of work to do to catch the back of the midfield, but they are closing – slowly.
Co-Chairmen: Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun
CEO: Riad Asmat
Team Principal: Cyril Abiteboul
Technical Director: Mark Smith
Performance Director: John Iley
Team Manager: Graham Watson
General Manager: Mia Sharizman