Caterham F1 Team today opened the doors of its base at the Leafield Technical Centre to team partners and invited media ahead of the first F1 test of the 2014 season in Jerez Spain.
With a raft of new technical changes to F1’s rules for 2014, the team took the opportunity to showcase the developments at Leafield that will help it tackle F1’s biggest changes in recent memory since it moved the team to the Oxfordshire site in August 2012.
In addition, Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul and Caterham Group Co-Chairman Tony Fernandes used the event to highlight a number of significant milestones in the ongoing growth of the team, specifically a renewed, uprated partnership with Dell / Intel, the start of the team’s new wind-tunnel program at Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) in Cologne, Germany and the introduction of new branding across all Caterham Group brands with immediate effect.
Cyril Abiteboul: “We were pleased to see so many important team partners and media join us today at Leafield for an event that we think only our team would do at this, the busiest time of any F1 team’s year. We are in the final stages of the 2014 car build program and the whole factory is working at maximum capacity to prepare for the first test in Jerez and tests two and three in Bahrain.
“There are numerous changes to the rules for 2014 and we wanted to bring people into our factory to help explain how we’ve tackled those rule changes, and demonstrate how the investments made by our shareholders and our partners are helping us prepare for the most important season in our still-young life.
“Among the news we could share were two very significant deals that will definitely pay dividends for us in 2014 and for years to come – the first being our renewed partnership with Dell / Intel, the second being the migration of our wind-tunnel program to the TMG facility in Germany. The two deals are linked as part of our new deal with Dell / Intel is a major upgrade to our HPC (High Performance Cluster), the supercomputer that powers all our IT needs. We are delighted that Dell / Intel have renewed their support for us as they have been a partner of ours in the truest sense of the word since the first days of the team. Now, amongst numerous other benefits, with the upgrades they are making to our HPC we have a dramatically uprated CFD capability, something which will be particularly important with the rule changes governing wind-tunnel usage in 2014.
“In addition, we are moving our wind-tunnel program to TMG in Germany. The TMG facility allows us to run at 60% scale, more than the 50% scale we have been using to date, and that has obvious benefits in increasing the accuracy of the data generated in the tunnel. Ally that to our increased partnership with Dell / Intel and it’s safe to say our Design Office now has an IT infrastructure and wind tunnel that are on a par with any team in F1.”
Mark Smith, Technical Director, Caterham F1 Team: “Over the last year significant investments have been made across the team which put us in the strongest position we’ve been in since the team first started in 2009. In addition to our new wind tunnel program at TMG and our uprated HPC, through our renewed partnership with Dell / Intel, we have continued to invest in our human resource and welcomed a number of new people who are have all immediately made major contributions to key areas of the team. Among the main structural changes we made last year was promoting Jody Egginton to Deputy Technical Director and welcoming Hari Roberts who joined us in early 2013 as Head of Aerodynamics. Late last year we also had Paul Cusdin join us at Leafield as Head of CFD to strengthen our CFD team, an appointment that will help us maximise the value of the renewed partnership with have with Dell / Intel. The ongoing support of our shareholders and our partners has helped us reach the strong position we now enjoy, and further progress, in terms of personnel, resource and infrastructure, will be made throughout the year ahead.”
Tony Fernandes, Caterham Group Co-Chairman: “It has been a good day at Leafield and I am pleased to see how determined everyone is to make progress this year. 2013 was a tough season – we knew it would be hard and we took a gamble which, ultimately, did not pay off, but nobody’s heads dropped, every single person in the team is working harder than ever to come back fighting, and I believe that this year we have our best ever chance of surprising a few people.
“One change that will be immediately obvious is the introduction of our version of the Union Flag to all our brand platforms. This is our Caterham coloured Union Flag emblem and it is our celebration of Caterham’s British heritage. The Caterham brand has been in existence for over 40 years, and, in simple terms, is a brand that puts smiles on people’s faces. It is a proud British brand, one that celebrates Britain’s engineering prowess, and we, in turn, are proud to showcase our British heritage.
“This is an exciting time for Caterham across all our interests; our F1 team is embarking on its fifth season with everything in place to make serious progress this year. On the roads, Caterham Cars goes from strength to strength, winning universal praise for launching its fastest ever roadcar, the 620R, and the same acclaim for our lowest-priced model, the 160. We also have our roadcar partnership with Renault, which started in F1, and that is now firmly into the development phase of our first product which will be on the roads in early 2016.
“In late 2013 we launched Caterham’s first two-wheeled ventures – Caterham Moto Racing Team, which will compete in its first Moto2 season in 2014, and Caterham Bikes – an innovative new company that launched three new roadbikes in Milan in November 2013. CTI (Caterham Technology & Innovation) is involved in a number of fascinating projects, many of which we cannot talk about for confidentiality reasons, but there is a team in Hingham where CTI is based, working very closely with Caterham Cars and Renault on our new roadcar, bringing their skillset to bear alongside a major international car manufacturer.
“Caterham Composites, our specialist composite design and manufacturing consultancy in Germany, is also working on a range of concepts, including a project with Airbus Group on new, lightweight aircraft seats. The benefits of that project are obvious, and they are a good example of how we are creating innovation and revenue across the Group. Finally, Caterham’s interests in the marine industry continue to grow, and, through Caterham Challenge, we are actively involved in another sport we work in.
“Overall, this is an incredibly exciting time to be part of Caterham in all its guises. I am very pleased to see that companies of the stature of GE, Airbus Group and Dell / Intel continue to share our vision and I am excited about seeing how much further we can grow in 2014. A big year lies ahead of us, in F1 and all our interests, and I firmly believe that we will look back on 2014 as the year the Caterham story really began.”