Caterham and Marussia have both taken the wraps off their respective 2013 Formula 1 season designs, with the backmarker outfits doing the honours on the morning of the year’s first pre-season test at Jerez.
Caterham’s new creation is the Renault-powered CT03, a creation that technical director Mark Smith describes as having “significant changes” when compared with its predecessor, the CT01.
Having once again failed to make the promised great leap forward in 2012, Caterham was perhaps a victim of its limited resources last year.
Granted, the CT01 wasn’t an entirely bad package – it was generally quite reliable and enjoyed a host of Red Bull components (including KERS) bolted on to its Renault powerplant – but it was simply too slow.
Along with half of this year’s field, the CT03 will run with the ‘stepped nose’ front end. The chassis has been lowered and the sidepods are also aggressively undercut to improve its aerodynamics. The diffuser, exhaust exits and cooling systems have all been given a rework in their designs.
The Leafield-based team enters the year with a brand-new driver line-up, having dispensed with both Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov in favour of the better-funded duo of Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde.
Ultimately, the team will need to step up and claim its first championship point in its fourth season of F1 competition. There will no doubt be question marks over the depth of its technical team and its relatively inexperienced driver pairing.
Meanwhile, over at Marussia, the team presented its Cosworth-powered MR02, the first in the team’s history to be designed under the leadership of Pat Symonds and with the use of a wind tunnel.
And perhaps the influence is immediately apparent. While the design certainly appears to be the most simple on the grid, the MR02 also looks very streamlined. The bodywork design looks much more polished, and the car should be quicker than its predecessor – not least of which because the car is KERS-equipped.
While the team has boasted that it is in the best financial position in its history, the MR02 is rather bereft of sponsorship stickers. That, however, could soon change when the widely-expected major sponsorship from insurance group AON is announced.
The new design was shown off with new driver Max Chilton (son of AON chairman Grahame Chilton), whose new team-mate is still to be announced.