Caterham CT03 launch: First pictures

2013 F1 cars

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Caterham CT03, 2013

The Caterham CT02 has made its first appearance in time for the start of testing.

Technical director Mark Smith said the car is “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”.

Smith added the car will remain in the same configuration for the first race in Australia. New front and rear wings and a new diffuser will be added “soon after the start of the season”.

Among the changes to this year’s car are more deeply undercut sidepods. “The diffuser, engine cover and cooling exits have also seen major changes,” adds Smith, “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 first car the team have produced since the arrival of new team principal Cyril Abiteboul. “I am very pleased that we have been able to allocate our resources and budgets as efficiently as possible to produce a car that will allow us to consolidate our position in Formula One whilst also starting work on the 2014 car as early as possible,” he said.

“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 pit lne.”

Caterham have a new driver pairing of Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde. They finished 11th in the last race in Brazil and need to go one better to get their first F1 points on the board.

The CT03 follows the CT01, last year’s F1 car, and the CT02, which is the company’s road car project with Renault.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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77 comments on “Caterham CT03 launch: First pictures”

  1. The stepped nose seems to be predominent amongst Renault-powered cars, I’m starting to wonder why.

    1. Interesting fact… but I would really think that the co relation between engine and stepped noses is nest to nothing.

    2. My guess is a subtle feed of information down the pipeline of what Red Bull were planning to do, so everyone copied.

      The only odd one out is Williams.

    3. Because they want their car to look like a lizard, or <a href="“>Gharial! They should take Jordan GP’s example and do some “Hissing Sid”-like livery!

  2. The colour of that car looks fabulous (and the livery generally) however it’s a shame they haven’t hidden that nose step :(

  3. Worst looking car so far!

    1. I like its color though, however, it’s not a looker.

    2. I disagree, in my opinion is the best addition to the grid, daring and remarkable.

    3. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      5th February 2013, 15:30


    4. OMG it looks sick! and I mean in poor health!

    5. firstLapNutcaseGrosjean (@)
      5th February 2013, 16:49

      I like it. It’s simple, not like STR and Red Bull which have to many colors.

    6. I think it’s cool and retro. The black helps a lot. But I liked their yellow and green rims. Don’t know why but I love it when they paint their rims hehe.

  4. A very nice shade of green. I like this simple yet eye pleasing livery.

    1. @cyclops_pl Yeah I prefer the slightly lighter shade of green as well, will look nice in the sun on a Sunday afternoon

    2. I’m not too sure about it to be honest, the metallic green doesn’t seem to look right with the more standard yellow. Lets hope it makes up for this on the track!

  5. The livery is great, what a cracking shade of green but the CT03 is not a looker. Still, let’s hope it can push them closer to the midfield.

    1. @keithcollantine calls it CT02 (as evolution of CT01!) for some reason I can’t explain…

    2. The Caterham CT02 has made its first appearance in time for the start of testing.

      Technical director Mark Smith said the car is “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”.

      1. Just a mistake, Given the amount of work he puts into the site, all for very little reward, I think we can forgive him.

        When I see a mistake, I use the contact for to send him an e-mail, just because mentioning it means that everyone will notice it, rather than just a few, also it doesn’t clog up the comments with off topic stuff.

  6. Is that a different shade of green? maybe the lack of yellow stripe is confusing me but either way it doesn’t look very pretty to me.

  7. Dat front wing

  8. They finished 11th in the last race in Brazil and need to go one better to get their first F1 points on the board.

    First, they took Charles Pic, whose only notable achievement to date has been losing tenth place for his team in the World Constructors’ Championship.

    Then they dropped both of their drivers – who might not have been blindingly fast, but they were pretty solid – in favour of Giedo van der Garde, who by all accounts has spent the past five years desperately trying to get into Formula 1.

    Now they’ve gone and launched a car that looks like their 2012 car with a few minor livery adjustments. Of the ten cars launched to date, the CT03 is perhaps the most conservative, uninspiring and downright boring. When Lotus released the E21, I remarked that it looked like nothing more than a slight evolution of the car that raced in Brazil. Well, forget evolution; the CT03 looks like nothing more than the car that raced in Brazil.

    At this rate, Caterham had better hope that Scorpion Racing gets accepted to the grid – because that’s the only way they’re going to stave off the wooden spoon.

    1. Have to disagree. The new Caterham looks way more sofisticated then the Marussia. Everything looks much more tuned to perfection, rather than Marussias car which looks very basic. I expect Caterham to beat them this year again. Entering the midfield is a total different matter though..

    2. Sorry Caterham, may as well head home. Some guy has written off your chances for the entire season based on a few pictures – game over guys.

      1. Oh don’t worry, @prisoner-monkeys is always right. He’s a specialist in all areas.


        1. And don’t you forget it.

          1. Pic isn’t that bad (IMO), he was able to catch up Timo last year on most occasion. also pretty solid and I don’t see any reasons why his ability can’t develop well.

            van der Garde on the other side (also IMO), is doubtful. he had been midfield runner in GP2 for 4 years. yes, he managed to win multiple grands prix but he was never challenging for the title. and those times on Friday practice in 2012, well nothing special.

            this year Marussia is KERS equipped. I wonder they would be a lot closer to Caterham. but who knows, both teams have inexperienced driver.

        2. @Dphect Depends what aspect of “specialist” you want to call @prisoner-monkeys, he’s quite special at being wrong ;} quite a number of times. I digress we’ll chalk it up to subjective thought

          Anyways I like the look of the car, the front wing is the same one (from the pictures) that they had in Brazil, so we’ll have to see what they run at Australia.

          1. Also what I can see differnt are side pods, slight changes to the rea, braking ducts aren’t as long but seem more rounded and wide, also there are three verticle aero parts (not sure what they’re called) instead of two sticking from the front of the side pod.

      2. Ha ha, but we are all speculating at this point so it’s good to join in.

        He does have a point though, it does at first look seem very similar to last years car, Cyril (first name because the last name spelling would be pure guesswork!!) also doesn’t seem to be pointing out any significant differences in the piece above.

    3. I guess that saving money on investment in the car meant it made even less point to spend much money in hiring top drivers @prisoner-monkey. I can imagine Heikki feeling no point in even trying hard to stay on if he is going to have to fight off Marussia all the way instead of having a go at the STR kids and the occasional other mid fielder.
      Lets hope they invest what they save for 2014, as it might well be that they won’t even have the money for 10th by then!

    4. Have you seen the Mp4-28?

      1. @prof-kirk – Yes, I have. I noticed the raised nose, introduction of pull-rod suspension, revised sidepods, changes to the rear suspension arrangement and the remodelled airbox and engine cover.

        Why do you ask?

        1. @prisoner-monkeys

          they’ve gone and launched a car that looks like their 2012 car

          …Yeah so the Mp4-28 looks a lot different from last years Mp4-27 then

          1. Well….. It actually does….


            I actually think PM has a point, you can see easily that Caterham have put their eggs in next years basket, which to be honest, is disappointing.

          2. @prof-kirk did PM say “they’ve gone and launched a car that looks like their 2012 car”, if so (not to defend) he probably had a quick reaction to the release, but then went back and saw the differences.

          3. No, I mean that there are noticeable differences between the MP4-27 and MP4-28.

            There are no noticeable differences between the CT01 and CT03.

  9. Still not too late to fit a modesty panel, this nose needs it. Otherwise, I quite like the back and I love the colour scheme.

  10. The livery color is the best so far on this years grid. I seriously wish they could have dumped the step nose.

    1. Maybe it’s just the angle the light is hitting the car. Or maybe it’s my colour-blindness wreaking havoc on what I see (though I doubt it; there’s no red to interfere with what I assume is supposed to be green). Or maybe my opinion is just being coloured by recent decisions the team has made … but the CT03 quite literally looks like a polished turd. It appears to me as a shiny brownish colour.

      Am I the only one seeing that?

      1. Yep. Only you… well, actually other color blind people might have similar perception, but in reality it’s a vibrant shade of green. Most people seem to like it, but I still prefer British racing green.

        1. “Vibrant” is not the word I would use. “Violent” is, or maybe “virulent”.

          It’s a ghastly colour on a ghastly car.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys I am partially colour-blind as well (mostly blue/purple), and I think it looks pretty much as you have described it. A polished turd. That is a really ugly green.

          2. @prisoner-monkeys

            “Vibrant” is not the word I would use.

            Well, I’m trying to describe how it looks to most of us. I also filtered some of these photos through a “colour blindness simulator” just to get your perspective. I agree that they don’t look pretty.

          3. @prisoner-monkeys
            Just curious.. what colour do you see the Ferrari with your condition?

          4. @gdon – I see it as red.

            I usually have problems with red on green or green on red, usually with the presence of a third, similar colour. The best example I can give you is a pool table: if you put the red ball and the brown ball next to each other on the green felt, and ask me to pick them apart, I won’t be able to do it (though if I see the numbers on the balls, I’ll be able to do it).

            Green seems to be the colour I have the most trouble with, so I’d say what’s happening here is that the darker colours on the CT03’s wings are skewing the colour of the rest of the car for me.

  11. that step nose resembles to 2012 Force India nose… greens should have been darker…

  12. LoreMipsumdOtmElor
    5th February 2013, 8:05

    Beautiful. Thank God they kept the stepped nose. The modesty panel was the only thing that kept the 2013 Ferrari from beeing the best looking car so far.

  13. That livery is horrible. What happened to the the yellow?…

    1. I agree, It looks like they started with the back of the car and then very quickly gave up caring about the livery… or ran out of paint.

  14. UNeedAFinn2Win
    5th February 2013, 8:20

    Why would they invest in this years car?
    2013 is a transition year and for them there’s pretty much no reason to try hard. This year has been bought and paid for (literally) by their fluke win over Marussiaa at the last race and their decision to run two purses instead of actual racing drivers.
    And they should focus 100% on 2014, that is their golden opportunity to break into the middle pack.

    1. no reason to try hard

      Well actually there is this tiny, little, itsy-bitsy reason called “money”. Every place in the WCC is worth a lot of money and sponsors don’t want to invest in a team that isn’t even trying. Without money there is no 2014.

  15. Looking pretty tidy – certainly better than the last three years.
    Not too sure about the colour though.

  16. It looks like they painted this car using the contents of a sick goat’s pancreas. Yuck. I really hope its either super fast or ridiculously unreliable. Anything to get it off the track, and my screen, sooner.

  17. Great colour and livery combination, but super ugly stepped nose.

    I think in the battle of the backmarkers, Marussia is the better looking car. On track however, I would be surprised if Caterham were slower than Marussia

    1. @todfod Never thought I’d agree on the looks. But yeah, Marussia have produced a real looker this year.

  18. Don’t mind the livery too much, I’ll settle for most liveries, given they change a bit each year. I do have to say I’m glad they didn’t go 90s backmarker on us and added blue to their livery for the McGregor logos.

    I’m not expecting much from them and while I’m not sure they’ll lose 10th to Marussia (I don’t think much of Chilton, but Razia is pretty decent, while both Pic and v/d Garde could do decent as well), I wouldn’t bet any money on points or closing the gap to Toro Rosso this year.

  19. looks a lot like a toy car!

  20. Love the livery! Classic 1990s era looking paint job.

  21. Caterham have no plans for a modesty plate.

  22. I’ve heard a lot about other teams complimenting Caterham on their livery, guess that ends this year.

  23. Oh dear.

  24. The shade of green might be nice, but that’s small consolation, cause this car is a whole bunch of ugly. The long step nose – ugh, there goes my breakfast. The team’s livery design has steadily gotten worse with each year. Used to be a fan, but now: no Heikki, no pretty, no nuthin’.

  25. the livery seems quite popular amongst a lot of people but im really not keen…simply because i feel like its their worst livery yet. No doubt the ugliest car on the grid..but its speed that matters.

  26. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    5th February 2013, 12:33

    “Caterham CT03 CT02 Launch”

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      5th February 2013, 15:28

      Wait, is it the CT02? Or the CT03?
      If last years car was the CT01, wouldn’t numerical logic make this the CT02?
      But the Caterham F1 twitter page has called it the CT03.

      I’m cofuzzled.

      1. @tophercheese21 Quoting the article above:
        “The CT03 follows the CT01, last year’s F1 car, and the CT02, which is the company’s road car project with Renault.”

  27. I like the car and the new sponsors. Hope they can move up the grid a bit.

    When I first saw it, the below image came to mind :)

  28. I love the pope
    5th February 2013, 13:10

    When did John Deere join F1?

  29. I really like it. I have a soft spot for Caterham. The car certainly looks the part, but it looked pretty cool last year and they were still fighting with Marusia :(

  30. I love this car – from the front. All other angles, not so much.
    The evil in me wants to say: no worries, from the front is the only way others are going to be seeing them (in their mirrors) this season anyway. ;)

  31. GE, Intel, Dell, Airbus. Hmm wonder what makes Canterham so attractive to sponsors?

    1. The GE, Intel and Dell link-ups started last year. Airbus is probably an agreement with Air Asia.

  32. I Love the Pope
    5th February 2013, 15:22

    In the States, we call that “John Deere Green” after the tractor company who uses the same shade of green and yellow.

  33. Nice color but so ugly shaped. Those stepped noses… I hate them so much

  34. Welcome back ugly duckling.

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