Caterham T127

The Lotus T127 was launched in London during February 2010 and was first driven in Jerez, Spain, around ten days later.

It was initially launched along with two other teams in 2010, Virgin and HRT. All three teams came on to the F1 team list following on from the push in 2009 to reduce costs, wind tunnel activity and a simpler F1 design.

This was pushed along by Brawn winning the 2009 F1 world Championship, something no one in the sport thought could happen and looking forward, may never happen again.

  • The car was simple, light, elegant and effective according to the design philosophy.
  • Had a useable fuel cell of 235 ltrs
  • Dry Mass of 510kgs, excluding ballast, fuel and driver
  • Minimum race weight of 620 kgs
  • Weight distribution of 45-49% with a 70kg driver, full ballast and no fuel
  • Dry car CG height of 240mm without driver or fuel
  • Wheelbase of 3250mm
  • Front axle position x-100mm
  • Forward and low placement of all components where possible to allow for forward weight distribution and low CG height

Below is the wind tunnel model and complete car.

The team built a total of 4 Chassis' in that year. The car tested the car in Jerez and Barcelona before its first Grand Prix which took place in early March 2010 in Bahrain.

Driving the car were Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli, signed by the team as both has previously won a grand prix, through other teams and were seen as famous names to be associated with. Despite their obvious skills the car did not perform well in 2010 with a best result of 12th in the 2010 Japanese Grand Prix.

Below is a typical set up sheet from the team, this one is from the pre-season Jerez test. The screen grab next to the set up sheet shows the bonded body assembly for the T127

Below is the monocoque mould made to create the T127.

Unlike the Virgin VR01, whose 2010 car was designed through the technological advances of CFD (Computer Fluid Design) the T127 had a more traditional design having been tested in the German wind tunnel, previously used by Toyota F1.

The car weighed in at 266kgs and when added to the 55kg weight of the Xtrac gearbox, plus the Cosworth CA 10.01 series engine, should have been competitive but it was not. Nothing really surprising for a new team as despite Brawn entering as a new team in 2009 and winning, Brawn were a historic team, having been Honda Racing until a couple of months before the start of the 2009 season.

Below is an image from the teams archive of Heikki Kovalainen being measured in car for the FIA tests.

The car was cleared as ready to race by the FIA and I must say it was a great looking F1 car. Basic in F1 terms but reliable by the end .

If you are looking at a Lotus T127 Part, or own one, the number scheme is attached below to help you find which part of the car it came from. All Lotus tT127 parts start with a number 10, which depicts the year it was used in. The numbers are the same for 2011 on the T128 car but please see below:

The team were learning as they were going, just like all F1 teams, as the season before did not exist for the Lotus team so had very little historical data. Below you can see that their assumption on lateral acceleration and speed were over estimated, thus leaving them behind the top teams. This pattern did close during the year but the team were playing catch up to the pack in 2010.

The team utilised the development of the 2010 to create the 2011 T128. Below is a typical plot from the 6 post rig used by the team.

As for the results of the car in the 2010 F1 season? 

  1. Bahrain - 17 (JT) 15 (HK)
  2. Melbourne - DNS (JT) 13 (HK)
  3. Malaysia  - 17 (JT) NC (HK)
  4. China - Ret (JT) 14 (HK)
  5. Spain - 17 (JT) DNS (HK)
  6. Monaco - 15 (JT) Ret (HK)
  7. Turkey - Ret (JT) Ret (HK)
  8. Canada  - Ret (JT) 16 (HK)
  9. Europe - 21 (JT) Ret (HK)
  10. Britain - 16 (JT) 17 (HK)
  11. Germany - Ret (JT) Ret ( HK)
  12. Hungary - 15 (JT) 14 (HK)
  13. Belgium - 19 (JT) 16 (hk)
  14. Italy - Ret (JT) 18 9HK)
  15. Singapore - Ret (JT) 16 (HK)
  16. Japan - 13 (JT) 12 9HK)
  17. Korea - Ret (JT) 13 (HK)
  18. Brazil - 19 (JT) 18 9HK)
  19. Abu Dhabi - 21 (JT) 17 9HK)

Heikki had a better year of it all and the pair stopped with the team for the 2011 season. 

Two T127's remained with the team as a demonstration car which were used for events such as Goodwood and PR across the world. This Chassis did not make it back to the factory after its last event in Jerusalum and is now suspected to be in Germany.

As a foot note: Chassis T127#4 sold during the Administrators auction 

Chassis # 3 was used by the R&D team in 2011

Below are some of the images I took of the T127 during 2010.