Analysis: Caterham chassis passes crash test

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Caterham has announced they have passed the front impact crash tests with their new chassis, showing a video of the chassis and the nose being smashed into a wall.

Even though the video does not give away too much detail, looking at it carefully already shows a sneak peak at the 2014 nose cones.

The nose, quickly shooting by in the video before being smashed looks to be a B-type nose, a design widely expected to feature on many 2014 cars. The chassis itself appears to be designed to a height of little more than 550mm above the reference plane, dropping to 525mm only at the very front of the monocoque (also known as the front bulkhead or A-A line). This creates a step in the upper side of the chassis.

The step though is hidden by a modesty panel made of very thin carbon fibre that is not built to absorb any energy. Instead, its sole purpose is to enhance the aerodynamic behaviour of the car while making sure it complies with the regulations. In the clip the modesty panel is visible immediately after impact as the piece that is thrown off of the impact structure.

Finally, the impact structure is a narrow 'finger' sloping down as mandated by the 2014 Technical Regulations. It is made especially narrow to allow air to flow alongside it and underneath the monocoque to get more air through the diffuser, and thereby increase rear downforce.