The first pictures of the Caterham 2012 car have been leaked today and we present them to you here. The team was supposed to launch the car via the upcoming issue of F1 Racing. One would presume F1 Racing is not thrilled to bits about it. Oh, well, here goes:
Our first observation has to do with the nose. It has been raised to reach the maximum allowed height of 550 mm, in order to maximize the airflow travelling underneath and towards the rear of the car. Behind it, we find these 2 “bulges” that are used to raise the car up to 625 mm, in order to conform with the rules. The bulges are also used as housing hard points for the upper front wishbones and the push rod. The result is this “platypus” styled nose, which is a trend most F1 teams are expected to follow. It will be interesting to see which teams will go for a slightly lower or slightly more rounded nose, and what kind of benefits / drawbacks such a choice may present.
In terms of suspension, Caterham have gone for pushrod at the front and, although I can’t see what’s going on at the back, I presume it will be a pullrod. Rumours that have Ferrari going for a pullrod at both ends are probably unfounded.
The sidepods is a big departure from the past. They are heavily sculpted, with an undercut, to increase airflow to the back, which will be critical in 2012 (ok, arguably it’s always critical, but with the ban on EBD’s that’s where all the loss in downforce has to be regained). The roll hoop is of conventional design (gone is the blade) with parts of the supporting members showing. The exhausts are not shown and just like the front wing (which is nothing new, we’ve seen it before and it’s there for presentation purposes only) the final solution may not appear until the first pre-season tests.
Although we don’t have a clear view of the back, we can surmise that it will have a lot of 2011 Red Bull features, since Renault is supplying the Engine and the KERS, whereas Red Bull themselves will be supplying the gearbox and the hydraulics.