Rebuild of #1

The rebuild from basic tub to show car took just under one year. My aim was to rebuild the car in two main stages. The initial build was carried out by Comptech engineering and Sweet Fabrications. These guys turned a wrecked tub into an F1 car

Stage 1 - Bring the car back to looking like a complete F1 car.

I needed to have the car look like a car before I could gain buy in from potentail mechanics. Whilst I had the tenacity to source parts I am no F1 repair expert.

The guys I found were brilliant and had just left the Red Bull F1 team at the time. They helped massively and managed to get my car back to me in around ten months, at which point I showed it at The SIlverstone classic in 2016.

The car when Tom had worked his magic but before the bodywork was repaired.

It was unpainted but was back as a rolling chassis. I cannot recommend the following guys enough:

  • Tom Sweet from Sweet Fabrications carried out the front and rear suspension work.
  • Ben and Pasty from Computech carried out the bodywork repairs

The car as Ben and Pasty completed the bodywork, shown at the Silverstone Classic back in 2016 in matt black, note the new roll hoop cover.

Back to black, CT05#1 was back home after the Silverstone Classic prior to being sent off to be wrapped in Hexis Boston Green, The original team colour as used by the team in Spa 2014 when they needed to have CT05#4 ready for the meeting, after my own chassis was crashed by Marcus in Hungary. I wanted the car back in Green but once all the mechanical work has been completed to get the car running it will be painted rather than wrapped.

Once wrapped back to Green it was a complete car and ready for the next and more complex stage, adding an engine and gearbox.

Stage 2 - Put the car back on track with a running engine for display purposes

This was much harder as I soon started to meet dodgy mechanics who said they could help but wanted to fleece me, I lost around three, yes three years with these people. I will not name them here but would recommend that if you want to build an F1 car back up, you only use recommended people who have the correct experience of doing so. I will always be happy to help, just drop me a mail

First of all in the rebuild were a few decisions I had to make, to ensure the rebuild went the way I wanted. My list was as follows:

  1. The car must look like it did when racing in 2014
  2. The car must have a Renault engine
  3. The car must not require pre-heating of the engine
  4. The car must be affordable to run with a budget of around £5,000 per year

With these simple rules I knew that the original suspension design in carbon fibre would not be a possibility. I had the CAD for the front suspension and the wrong uprights but having the uprights rebuilt as original would have cost around £10,000 and the front suspension nearly five times as much.

At this point please remember that this was meant to be a hobby!

As for the engine and back end of the car, I wanted to use a donor car, which I chose to be the 4 cylinder Formula Renault 2ltr and using the front uprights, brakes, discs etc from the Formula Renault would mean a massive design project but a cheaper end result. I bought a donor car from a Team based near Derby, only to find that they had sold be a dud. As mentioned, please drop me a mail if you are thinking of restoring an F1 car like I have. Using the original Donor car uprights and brakes was the way I needed to go, maily due to the fact that they had been designed to stop a Formula Renault and as my tub was lighter, they would work as needed. 

Likewise using a Renault engine, for me was the right option due to the team using Renault originally, albeit with a £1M V6 hybrid turbo option. The size of the 4 cylinder Renault engine also helped me make up my mind. I had a few comments about fitting a V8 Ford engine in but that would not have fitted under the engine cover and redesigning aero is very expensive.

Design of the front suspension

Design was carried out on the front suspension and took the guy around two years to do.The Suspension is now steel, heat treated and coated to look the part. 

When the car was crashed in Hungary in 2014 the front right hand side of the monocoque took the majority of the impact and that has since been repaired in 2018. Once the monocoque was repaired the knuckles and bolts could go in to accept the front wishbones, although the repair included many additional pieces of bonding agent that needed cleaning out before the knuckles would fit correctly

Wheels

I wanted to use the original Caterham F1 Oz wheels on the car. I could have used the Formula Renault uprights and had a set of wheels made by Rimstock or Image wheels that would have fitted and looked like the original wheels but instead had the help of a Designer called Martin who designed new hubs to bolt onto the Formula Renault uprights that are similar to the Original Caterham F1 hubs, This means I can use a set of original Caterham 2014 wheels on the car. They were a pain to find with two front wheels in Lincolnshire, one rear wheel in Mainland Europe and one rear wheel in Las Vegas. That was one hard piece of detective work. Below is the design of the revised hub.

I did speak to Pankl about making a replacement set of wheel nuts which they have agreed to do. I have a set up this is just in case I need more in the future. Luckily changing a wheel will be done at around 1 minute per wheel rather than the F1 average pit stop of 2 or 3 seconds

Design of the engine mount and rebuild

Using the original V6 Renault F1 engine was not an option for two main reasons, one being that I could not buy one from Renault, and even if I could you would be looking at £1M plus and an Army to start and run the car. Likewise there would have been a similar story around the gearbox.

Originally Red Bull technologies supplied the carbon gearbox that the team used in 2014, however, these were all returned to Milton Keynes in 2014 when the team went in to Administration. A similar price tag of around £1M would have been associated with using it, that is if Red Bull would have sold me one. On top of that price there would have been the cost of the maintenance. A Formula Renault engine and gearbox requires a basic maintenance programme, however an annual service and monthly tweaks are all that are required for this tried and trusted set up. I had purchased a Formula Renault running car by this time however have had to have the gearbox fully rebuilt, added a new clutch and had the entire unit cleaned up as per the image below. The time line is now January 2021

The engine and gearbox would have been too short for the floor compared to the original Hybrid engine and Red Bull gearbox so "spacers" were made to extend the wheel base to be in line with the floor of the car. These were way too heavy when made so have been milled in line with needs as above. I did this rather than tweaking the engine cover and floor. 

As you can see this creates a gap between the monocoque and engine however this will be used for various engine parts and switches to keep then more accessible. 

At the rear we need to extend the Formula Renault drive shafts and wishbones so the wheels and tyres work with the wider carbon floor of an F1 car. It is around 14cms difference which means new drive shafts are needed and our Designer will work on extending the original design for rear wishbones. 

Then there was fixing the rear wing on to the car. I could have opted for a Formula Renault rear wing but that would have ruined the look of the car. Likewise there were no full rear wings for sale in the auction and I missed out on the Caterham RWEPs so had to but a used Formula 1 Carbon Fibre rear wing unit from another team. This then needed tweaking with design work, as did fitting a rear light as the Sadev Formula Renault gearbox was not the same as the Caterham rear crash structure originally used on the car.

The rear wing I was using will be fixed mainly though a steel insert within the lower wing and then the rain light and pick up points will be fixed to the Sadev gearbox as per the diagram above.

A brace plate has had to be placed under the monocoque to stop any probability of twist occuring as previously this area had the cars battery pack. Within this area is the battery. I have added a battery so the car can start on the button rather than need a team to start it. 

Likewise the original fuel tank was way too large for what I needed so we have had a new fuel tank made that holds around 30ltrs or 30% of the size of the original ATL Bag tank. It fits in the same space as the original but as I will not be driving the car for more than 20 - 30 minutes at a time this will be sufficiant.

The nose I am using is a later season nose meaning that a small vanity panel will need to be added.

The front wing will be bolted to this nose via a plate underneath the wing as the wing was from another 2014 F1 car. Cost wise I could have used an earlier front wing but the rules changed in 2014 so earlier front wings were much wider.