Caterham F1 owner Tony Fernandes has never been one to shy away from opinion and controversy, and admits that he is happy to have both the launch and the design of the team's 2012 car causing comment.
The team was a relative latecomer to the launch party, but gazumped those rivals who have set their plans in stone by revealing on Monday (23 January) that it's latest contender would be revealed in the pages of F1 Racing
magazine. The excitement engendered the announcement was then scuppered slightly by subscriber copies arriving on doormats a day earlier than anticipated, allowing eager fans to publish copied images online, but Fernandes is still delighted to have created a talking point.
"I am thrilled that we broke cover first and that the CT01 is the first example anyone has seen of a 2012 car," he told the team's relaunched website, "I think I am riding on some very good energy at the moment!
"I am pleased that we were able to release pictures of our new car so soon. Riad [Asmat], Mike [Gascoyne], Mark [Smith] and the whole team did a fantastic job getting all the homologation and crash tests out of the way early, and keeping on track with the car's build schedule. I am very proud that we are able to take the covers off first and I think it looks fantastic.
"Our aim has always has been to be as open and interactive as possible, allowing our fans a real look inside our team. By launching the car through F1 Racing magazine, I feel we've been able to give our fans a unique first look at where we're heading and what Caterham is all about. Maybe next year I'll tweet a picture of the car to launch it!"
The Malaysian's views on the car's appearance may be clouded as if it were one of his children, for the nose treatment has come in for some harsh comment from more neutral observers. While chief technical officer Gascoyne insists that the CT01 won't be the first to be born ugly, Fernandes again appears happy to be part of a talking point.
"Personally I love this car," he insisted, "It's very flattering that people want to talk about our car and our team, but the main consideration is that it is quick. As long as it is quicker than last year's car, I don't think the looks matter, and I am sure that, when all the other cars are unveiled, we will see a pretty common thread running through all of them. I actually think it's beautiful. It's different, and different does not equal ugly - in fact, I think its difference is what makes it beautiful, but then I am probably a bit biased."
With two scoreless years behind it as Lotus, the next obvious step for Caterham is to make its mark on the top ten in races, and Fernandes is confident that the car, no matter what it looks like, should be capable of challenging those teams immediately ahead of it in the pecking order.
"This car represents another step forward for us," he stressed, "The detail right across the whole package is light years ahead of where we were when we first started out, and we are all excited about seeing what it can do when we get on track.