Make Your Minds Up, Caterham!

We didn’t actually get around to reporting on the livery that Caterham rolled their CT05 out in at the first round of winter testing. Which is probably a good job, as it turns out it’s not the livery they’re going to race in. We then didn’t actually get around to reporting on the second livery that they rolled the CT05 out in later on in testing. Which is also probably a good job, as it turns out that’s also not the livery they’re going to race in. But let’s have a look at the various paint jobs anyway, even though the colour scheme is really the last thing anyone’s been paying attention to on this particular car…

When the car first hit the track, it was in a rather simplified version of their previous livery. Gone were all traces of yellow that lingered from their Team Lotus days, and what was left was a straightforward, but very smart, design. The metallic green was actually offset quite well by the simple white lettering and the black front and rear wings – with the whole thing coming off rather like the 1983 Tyrrell of which I’m so fond. It was perhaps a little on the unexciting side, but a reasonably nice effort nevertheless.

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However, Caterham decided to tamper with the livery after this initial unveiling, losing the black wings and white lettering in favour of a silver accent to the car instead. In some areas, this was an improvement – the rear wing looked terrific – but on the main green sections of the car the various sponsor logos suddenly became a lot less readable. And the lighter-green stripe along the sidepod just looked awful – like someone had accidentally left a bit of duct tape on the car before pushing it out of the garage.

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Happily, despite being the “officially” unveiled car, it looks like this livery won’t be the one that takes to the track in Australia – as the team have now updated their Facebook page with an image of a third design. We’ll examine this in more detail when we’re given a closer look, but it appears that the amount of white (or possibly silver, it’s hard to tell from this distance) on the monocoque and nose has been increased, while there’s now a third shade of accenting green involved. And, perhaps most notably, the… uh… protuberance on the nose has now been painted black, to make it look less obvious. Although all that really serves to do is make the car look like it has a really, really short nose.

It’s a shame that Caterham have been so indecisive in their livery design, however – they came into the sport with one of the best-looking cars in many a long year, but it’s been gradually downhill since then. A green car shouldn’t be hard to get right, and some combination of the best bits of the two testing liveries should really serve them fine. The third design, however, is starting to look worryingly like a GP2 car – which, by all accounts, might actually be their performance level this year…


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