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New Caterham 'an evolution' - Smith
Caterham technical director Mark Smith says that the new CT01 is "an evolution" of the previous T128, but a lot more efficient.
The CT01 is the first new car that Smith has worked on since joining the team from Force India in May last year. While the team is yet to score a point in its brief history, it had closed the gap to the midfield under its previous guise of Team Lotus last year, and Smith told ESPNF1 in an exclusive interview that the new car was not a big departure from the previous one.
"No it's not, for a number of reasons," Smith said. "One, obviously the engine partner and the transmission partner remain the same, so that gives some continuity there and the hydraulic system is all part of that. It's an evolution but in many respects it has moved forward and I think that the main reason for that is - whilst I wasn't here when last year's car was designed so I can only go on things that I'm told - I think there were quite a lot of people here for whom it was the first time through the whole process of being involved in the design and build of a Formula One car, certainly the design of the car. So that's a bit of a baptism of fire. There were obviously a few experienced guys, and it was a smaller group."
With Caterham looking to establish itself in its third season, Smith said that the expanding technical team had allowed it to focus on maximising the efficiency of every part of the car.
"What we've had an opportunity to do this time around - because the numbers are slightly higher in terms of designers and aerodynamicists and R&D engineers - is we've had the opportunity to just go further with every aspect of the design. So whether for example it's the front suspension, we've had more opportunity to refine the solution that we eventually take to the car in terms of their efficiency.
"So every part on the car I'd like to think is more efficient in terms of doing its job, which normally means probably air ratios, stiffness to weight or strength to weight. And I think that's what comes with evolution. Because the team was a very new team and in all honesty last year's car was the first car that designed at Hingham, it's been relatively easy for the design group as a whole to take things forward to a fairly reasonable extent."