December 2014, the announcement came that the Caterham F1 Team would be on the grid in 2015. The FIA gave Caterham the special dispensation to use their 2014 in the 2015 Formula One season. To guarantee the teams future in the Formula One and give them some more time to find a new investor for the team. What many don’t know is the fact that the Caterham CT07 was already designed for the next season. Could the CT07 have been the saviour for the team?
I want to thank Kevin for providing the photo of the Caterham CT07 he had in his archive. He is currently working on the Caterham CT05 to restore it and to have it running in the near future. For more check his site.
Maybe the Caterham CT07 had the potential to be the saviour of the team, however due the miss management within the team and struggles that brought with it would have been an impossible task to do. To understand more of the team (and its struggles since the beginning) I will bring you back to 2009 when many teams left the Formula one due the worldwide financial problems. The FIA opened a bid for teams to enter the Formula One.
With the help of Proton Lotus Racing entered the Formula One under the lead of Malaysian business man Tony Fernandes. The team’s bid was accepted by the FIA in favour of the withdrawal of the Sauber BMW F1 Team (Sauber would return on the grid though) after the 2009 season. Also the teams of Campos Meta, Virgin Racing, and the American fairy tale USF1 where accepted by the FIA. After the 2010 season, the team’s name had to be changed to Team Lotus due some issues with the legal rights of using the name Lotus Racing.
On the 27th of April 2011 Caterham Cars came with the announcement that Team Lotus owner Tony Fernandez had bought Caterham Cars. This buy would result in the name change to Caterham F1 Team. The next seasons Caterham F1 showed a line up wards in their performance. Besides of that the team failed to score a single point and 2014 should have been a turning point. In July, the team came with the news that it had a new owner, some Swiss and Middle eastern consortium, which was advised by Collin Kolles the former F1 Team principal for Midland. Christijan Albers who drove previously for Kolles became responsible for the day-to-day running of the team.
While the team got a new owner, designers already started with the design of the Caterham CT07. In August 2014, the team had a wind tunnel model of the Caterham CT07 completed and tested. However in October the team went into administration and withdrawn its management team. To keep the team on the grid Bernie Ecclestone gave the team special dispensation to miss the United States and the Brazilian Grand Prix. Later the team would receive even dispensation to use their car Caterham CT05 car in the 2015 Formula One season. Despite the help the team received the assets where sold by an auction.
For a couple of years there was no news about the Caterham CT07, not even during the 2014 season. Until recently when a photo appeared of the Caterham CT07, which you can say looked promising, or at least the car looked better than its successor. The nose was completely different they did not continue with the futuristic looking nose coin or better known as the anteater. The front wing was different. The flaps where more smoothly with seems it would give a better airflow to the back. However, if you look at the back of the Caterham CT07 the car has not been changed that much. The rear wing showed most of the same features as on the CT05. The side pods seemed slightly changed for a better airflow. Moreover, the Caterham CT07’s engine cover had a straighter curve.
It is impossible to do a full report on the Caterham CT07 based on the photo(I’m not an aerodynamic specialist) , the mock up seemed to be an improvement compared to the Caterham CT07 but how much better the CT07 would have been will be a big guess. If the team survived and made it to the 2015 season, they would first start with their old car. If there had been money at all to produce the CT07, it probably would not have been able to create big update to the car. The car seemed to be an improvement but due the mismanagement and chaos within the team the Caterham CT07 would have failed on the grid.