Rule changes and big data revolutionise Caterham F1 chances

Testing is in full flow for the start of this season’s Grand Prix in Australia, but for Formula 1 cars in 2014 one thing is certain… they will be going slower than last season.

The sport is effectively becoming greener and a fuel limit of 100kg, down from last year’s 150kg, means the engine’s efficiency will be more important. A raft of new rules will also lead to radical changes in the design of cars, leading many insiders to call these new vehicles ugly.

But esthetics and slow cars apart, this could be one of the most exciting seasons in Formula 1 history. The reduction in engine size from 2.4-litre naturally aspirated V8s to 1.6-litre V6 turbos and the use of hybrid technology means that the days where one team dominated are likely to be over.

Such a situation offers opportunities for the sport’s smaller teams and the differentiators between teams are now going to be reliant on the provision of big data and how this is used in the most effective way.

One such team is the Oxford-based Caterham outfit, previously known as Team Lotus and with a budget that they say is only 20 per cent that of the bigger teams. Even with its Renault engines, Caterham had a disappointing 2013 and finishing bottom of the Formula 1 table without winning a point. Since its inception in 2010 the highest position it has finished has been 11th, but the team is confident this will change in 2014.

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