Caterham CT03

The Caterham CT03 was launched in Jerez during February 2013. It utilised many of the CT01 front suspension and was claimed to be a CT01 car with a few tweaks and a paint job. The initial Chassis numbers were CT01#4 and CT01#5 so that gives a hint as to the chassis', however the team moved towards calling the car CT03 when it was time to launch. 

This team hoped for a great step forward aiming at reliability of a known chassis against pure speed, thus hoping to pick up points at the odd high attrition race, having ended 2012 in 11th position and scoring an 11th position with Vitaly Petrov at the last race in Brazil. No Championship points to date but the team had high hopes for 2013.

The team built a total of 3 Chassis for the season which were a hybrid of the 2012 CT01 design and were numbered 4,5 and 6. This was classed by Heikki Kovalainen as the same as the CT01 but with a paint job, which could account for the numbering of the chassis as only 1, 2 and 3 CT01's were seen and yet 4, 5 and 6 CT03'c were circulated. Heikki was probably right and the team may have only ever built 6 cars during 2012 and 2013? Below are a few team photo's as they completed the build of the 2013 CT03 cars.

Caterham signed Charles Pic and Giedo Van De Garde for the season and one of the title sponsors launches was in Holland at the McGregor clothing store, which had its own issues!

The car was in readiness ahead of plan as it was very similar to the CT01 that the team had run in 2012

and the team were very impressed with the looks as seen below, new paint scheme and refreshed sponsorship. The pictures below were all taken by the team at the newly refurbished Leafield base, where the team had moved to.

I am limiting the images I use as there are too many to choose from. The team enlisted LAT to photograph the car and these images are all over the net so I am avoiding these, however, at the same time the team were pushing "Caterham TV" which recorded several short films for the team. Below is Becki presenting on one of those films.

Although the team seemed to be doing well and started to show the glamour of F1, in real terms they were financially challenged.

The drivers and sponsors were bringing in ten's of millions of pounds however the cost of running a competitive F1 team needed more and shortages in cash, along with being on stop with some suppliers due to money being owed, led the team or certain team members to have to focus part of their time on working around issues. Not the ideal way to develop an F1 car however as the car was similar to the one the team ran in 2012 they could focus on driver development more.

Below are the comments of Charles Pic from the 2013 pre-season test in Jerez. The notes look more like driver training than development of a new chassis.

The team wanted to stiffen the front end to be more like the T128, Gain camber at the rear, make better use of the V8 Renault F1 engine and Red Bull Gearbox, although both contracts were putting a financial strain on both the Management team and ability to spend cash on developing the car.

During the early races of 2013 the car had a similar step nose to that on the CT01 however the team changed this nose set up in Spain for a more traditional nose, however a surprise change back to a mid point nose came towards the last part of the season.

Below is the first version as tested prior to the season starting. I took this image at the back of the circuit in Barcelona.

By the middle of the season the cars nose had changed, as per my picture from Silverstone in 2013. In addition the exhaust outlets were banned early on in 2013, another step backwards for the team.

As mentioned, 3 Chassis were made (4, 5 & 6) and 2 of these were sold during the Administration auction. I do not know what happened to Chassis CT03#4., possibly its with GVDG or CP? 

The season went well but not as well as the team had hoped. Some good mileage in the opening pre-season tests made the team comfortable with the Red Bull gearbox and Renault engine however things did not go to plan when it came to running the car.

The car had its best finish with a 14th in three races, very dissapointing after the previous years near miss with an 11th. Both drivers left at the end of the season having spent their sponsorship money and the team then aimed at the hybrid turbo era with new cars for 2014.

Below are a couple of images Caterham F1 staff took, when their 2013 cars returned from the last race of the season.

The teams results in the 2013 season were

Chassis number after drivers initials 

  1. Melbourne - CP 16(#6) VDG 18(#5)
  2. Malaysia - CP14(#6) VDG 15(#5)
  3. China - CP 16(#6) VDG 18(#5)
  4. Bahrain - CP 17(#6) VDG 21(#5)
  5. Spain - CP 17(#6) VDG Ret(#4)
  6. Monaco - CP Ret(#6) VDG 15(#4)
  7. Canada - CP 18(#6) VDG Ret(#4)
  8. Britain - CP 15(#6) vdg 18(#4)
  9. Germany - CP 17(#6) VDG 18(#4)
  10. Hungary - CP 15(#6) VDG 14(#4)
  11. Belgium - CP Ret(#6) VDG 16(#4)
  12. Italy - CP 17(#6) VDG 18(4)
  13. Singapore - CP 19(#6) VDG16(#4)
  14. Korea - CP 14(#6) VDG 15(#4)
  15. Japan - CP 18(#6) VDG Ret(#4)
  16. India - CP Ret (#6) VDG Ret(#5)
  17. Abu Dhabi - CP 19(#6) VDG 18(#5)
  18. USA - CP 20(#6) VDG 19(#5)
  19. Brazil - CP Ret (#6) VDG 18 (#5)

Not a great season for the team and a car that was basically a version of the 2012 CT01 car. With new drivers the plan to work on reliable but slow did not seem to work, no matter how good the drivers were. At the Administrators auction 2 Chassi's were sold and are now on display as show cars.

CT03#5 was sold to the Fast Toys club in the USA

Chassis CT03#6 was sold to a similar Fast Cars club in the United Arab Emirates

Below are a few images that I took of the team in Barcelona and at Silverstone.