Earlier this week Lotus became the first Formula One team to launch its new car for the 2013 season.
The new E21 will be closely scrutinised by Lotus’ rivals who know, that if the British-based French team have built a fast car, it may well challenge for the driver’s and constructors titles.
2012 was an unexpectedly good year for Lotus.
2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen finished third in the standings, recording a memorable win at Abu Dhabi.
Raikkonen also showed unparalleled consistency. The Fin was the only full-time driver to finish every race in the season.
Lotus finished fourth in the constructor’s championship, just 75 points behind McLaren. This is a remarkable feat which will no doubt frustrate the big-spending Mercedes, who finished a distant fifth.
Even the much maligned Romain Grosjean, who in 2012 found frequent and creative ways to destroy cars, posted three podium finishes including a second-place in Montreal.
It seems all the team require to challenge the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull Racing is a faster car. And that is where the E21 will hopefully come in.
According to the BBC’s F1 technical analyst, Gary Anderson, the E21 has added elements that have been successful for champion team Red Bull Racing:
“There are bigger downforce-producing turning vanes – curved bodywork – on the bottom of the brake ducts and more at the front of the sidepods, which are reminiscent of those raced by Red Bull and Sauber at the end of last year.”
The early release of the car gives Lotus an opportunity to test these new elements well ahead of the season start.
“We want to test in the Winter testing, things that we couldn’t do last year, and hopefully it will pay,” says driver Romain Grosjean.
Despite the positives, Lotus have been keen to avoid placing undue pressure on itself.
“It’s way to early to say how it’s going to go. It can go either way – it can go badly, or it can go a lot worse. So, hopefully we get the good car and everything works well from the first test and we go from there and try to do the best.”
Given the talent of the team’s drivers, Lotus’ technical team will bare the brunt of the directors discontent if it fails to make the top three this time around.