Caterham F1 chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne admits that he is not surprised by the questions raised over the nose of the team's 2012 design, but insists that race fans should be prepared for more of the same as the launch season progresses.
Having had its innovative launch in the pages of F1 Racing
magazine scuppered somewhat by the early delivery of subscriber copies, Caterham was already having its front end treatment being compared, unfavourably, to that of a crocodile by the time retail issues hit the newsstands on Thursday (26 January). The CT01 features a pair of ugly 'bumps' where the nose section rises to meet the leading edge of the cockpit, but Gascoyne is confident - with Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali having already referred less than flatteringly to the Scuderia's 2012 concept - that Caterham will not be the only unsightly car on track this term.
"As we're the first car out it is obviously stirring up a lot of debate but, because of the 2012 regulations, I think you'll probably be seeing this type of nose on most of the cars this year," he reasoned, "The regulations have changed to limit the height of the nosebox to try to ensure that noses don't get too high. Our challenge is that you always want to get the chassis as high as possible to allow clean air flow to the underside of the car, and what you see on the CT01 is our solution to that.
"Aerodynamics is always the main focus of performance and improvement. Last year it was all about the blown diffuser, which we struggled with because not having it in 2010 meant we were always playing catch up throughout the 2011 season in comparison to other teams.
"The fact it's banned this year certainly plays to our advantage. Other teams had so much more development time, they were able to get much more out of it than we were ever able to, so that eliminates a little of the competition in terms of technical development. But really, aerodynamics is always one of the main features of development and that's why we've put so much additional resource into it."