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7 Jul 2012

As you may have read in my previous article Caterham are a team that are looking to achieve far more than their budget may allow. The wealth of expertise the team is now attracting makes them a great proposition for the future but as that article proves there is a disparity between front and lower tier teams. In F1 you must run to stand still and so even the small teams must look to make big gains in order that they aren't really trailing in the wake of everyone else come the end of the season.
This weekend for me really goes to show Caterham's ambition with almost a B Spec car arriving at their home grand prix.

Front Wing

Front Wing Selection Available for Silverstone (New Wing at the Bottom)

It may seem like a small alteration but as we know in F1 the finite details can make a huge difference. The Wing planes have lost some of their bulk but the overall ethos remains the same, the largest visual change here is the depth of the cascades and them being pushed more inward from the endplate.

Sidepod Flow Conditioner

I chose this rearward angle as it best shows the seperation or gap in the flow conditioner

Caterham decided to go with a similar design path as Ferrari here utilising a split in the element. Usually these flow conditioners will simply aid in turning the airflow that without them would spill outwards back toward the rear of the car. They also manage the airflow spilt from the tyre as it moves left to right under cornering. Having this element split allows the airflow to be managed and energised creating an airflow wall down the side of the sidepod. This will minimize the airflow that downwashes over the top of the sidepod spilling laterally off the side of the car.

Rear of Sidepod / Exhaust Solution

I have seen others mentioning the exhaust tested by the team at Mugello as the version we see this weekend but as we can see from the pictures below this particular exhaust is actually a new component. The Mugello spec was a response to the original Red Bull crossover/tunnel system with the flow exiting into the coke bottle area and converging with the exhuast plume. Caterham only tested the RBR style exhaust system on the second day of the test and abandoned the setup for the final day confirming that like Red Bull this method provided less aero stability.

 Caterham CT-01 Test Package for Day 2 in Mugello

The new exhaust solution (below) is akin to the McLaren style of exhuast with an exhaust channel that overhangs the rear floor in order to try and converge all the airflow into coke bottle region using the exhaust plume.

Whilst on the subject of exhuast flow I'd like to present you with a statement from Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader:

"Silverstone is a power circuit, one where the drivers should spend up to 64% of the lap on full throttle in qualifying. Obviously the weather conditions today meant that the challenges for us on the engine side change, and we have to work very closely with the team’s engineers to decide what gear ratios will give us maximum performance in what could be a dry qualifying session, but a wet race.

"Today we have also been working with the team on optimising engine performance with the updates that have been brought to this race. The main area of focus for us is the revised exhausts, a version of which were first tried at the test in Mugello but which have been revised and refined since that test and require a series of new engine maps that help the driver optimise all the performance characteristics of the engine around this circuit. The immediate feedback we have had from both drivers is positive so, despite the weather today, this has been another good day for us and the whole team."

Engine Cover

Each circuit requires a different demand in terms of engine cooling and so the cover used here at Silverstone has been revised for the aero demands and to be in line with the adjusted bodywork we see around the exhaust solution.

Silverstone Engine Cover with enlarged cooling exit blowing the Monkey Seat / Beam Wing

Canada Rear End with Small Cooling Outlet and slimline Engine Cover

Monkey Seat

Monkey Seat that was first introduced in Valencia with a centralized Stalk mounted via the gearbox in the same way Williams do with theirs

This Williams-esque Monkey Seat uses a stalk mounted atop of the gearbox in order to gain additional downforce. It's exclusion from the usual beam wing assembly means its interaction in terms of flex on that component is minimised allowing the beam wing to function independently. The other thing to consider with this stalk style Monkey seat is that it allows the seat to act with the force impacted on it allowing it to move on it's axis. This will allow the seat to add benefit in both cornering and reducing it's drag element as it almost reclines at higher speed.

Although these are the larger, more visible elements bought to Silverstone in order to bring the team forward. I'm sure there are many more mechanical updates to take advantage of the additional downforce these elements produce.  I'll add more as the weekend proceeds and the images become available for me to compare from the previous race weekends.


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