Presentata la nuova E21–28/01/2013
Lotus launches its new E21 Formula 1 car
Lotus has unveiled the new E21 Formula 1 car that it hopes will provide a springboard for it to become a top team in 2013.
After an encouraging 2012 campaign where Lotus delivered a victory in Abu Dhabi, the Enstone-based outfit believes its evolutionary car can move it further forward.
Team principal Eric Boullier said: "I think it is fair to say that great things are possible. The leap we made from 2011 to 2012 showed what we are capable of.
"Add to this the continuity and potential of our driver line-up and we have a very powerful cocktail for the season ahead.
"Our ambitious plan to turn ourselves into one of the top teams in Formula 1 is coming to fruition and now we need to harness this with strong and regular podium results.
"We are lean and hungry. Enstone knows how to win championships, but it is a while since we have won so we are very eager to taste glory again."
The E21 is visually similar to last year’s car, but technical director James Allison said that certain areas of it have undergone a wholesale redesign.
"Depending on where you look, some parts of the new car are a ground-up redesign and in other areas we have further optimised the best bits of the design philosophy we’ve adopted for several seasons," he said.
"The front and rear suspension layouts are substantially revised to try and give us better aerodynamic opportunities. The front wing is a continuation of the concepts we have worked on since the 2009 rules were published.
"For the rear wing system, we’ve continued to try to work on having a satisfactory level of rear downforce stability whilst having maximum DRS switching potential."
The E21 will feature the passive double DRS that the team evaluated last year and the outfit has elected not to run with the ‘vanity panel’ that is allowed this year to hide the stepped nose.
Allison has high hopes for the new car, but is equally aware that its performance will only become clear once the outfit starts racing.
"The E20 proved itself to be an effective racing car, so there is an element of expectation from the E21," he said.
"We have continued with our design themes and tried to build a more efficient and faster racing car based on all the lessons we learnt last year. How successful we have been at this we will only know once we take to the track at grands prix.".
Lotus E21 launch: Kimi Raikkonen sure team capable of F1 titles
Kimi Raikkonen believes there is no reason why the current Lotus team line-up cannot repeat the Formula 1 title glory the squad achieved as Benetton and Renault.
The Enstone team’s Abu Dhabi victory with Raikkonen last year was the first since it won the 2008 Japanese Grand Prix under the Renault banner with Fernando Alonso. It launched its 2013 car in an online event on Monday night.
Raikkonen said the outfit’s title-winning pedigree was clearly evident as he settled in with Lotus last year.
"It’s clear from working with them that they are racers, and you can see in their history that they’ve won championships," he said.
"Nothing I saw last year made me think that another championship was impossible in the future.
"Of course, there is some pretty tough competition out there and everyone wants to win.
"The team have beaten everyone before and there’s nothing to say they can’t do it again."
Raikkonen’s team-mate Romain Grosjean is certain he can drove his critics wrong and put his 2012 calamities behind him in his second full F1 season.
The Frenchman has been kept on for 2013 despite a series of first-lap incidents last year, including the dramatic Belgian Grand Prix crash that resulted in him being banned from the Italian round.
"I think everyone is waiting to see if I’m able to be consistent, which is where I was lacking a little bit last year," Grosjean admitted as Lotus launched its new E21.
"I know it and I’ll do everything I can to prove to people that I’m able to achieve this goal."
Grosjean said he wanted to get to the end of 2013 knowing he had not squandered any chances.
"I really want to jump out of the car as many times as possible thinking that I did a good job," he explained.
"Knowing that everything I could do, I did, and feeling proud of my race or session.
"I hope to feel that way as many times as possible this year."
Lotus E21 launch: Passive double DRS stays on new car
Lotus will run the passive DRS system that it trialled last season on the newly-launched E31.
The Enstone team tried the design for the first time in free practice for last year’s German Grand Prix but despite further tests in subsequent races never raced it.
This year, systems based on exposing holes in the rear wing endplates when the DRS is deployed are outlawed, but passive versions, which rely on the car hitting a certain speed to divert airflow to stall the rear wing, are still permissible.
Despite Lotus struggling to set the ‘aero switch’ up to deactivate at the same speed at which it activates, technical director James Allison is confident that the concept will earn its place on the car during pre-season testing. It was not present on the launch car.
"This is an area we continue to work on and the passive nature of the switching of our device means it is not outlawed by the latest regulations," said technical director James Allison.
"It is not something which will be a silver bullet to transform our car, but it is something which could add performance as part of the overall design."
Allison also confirmed that the team has no plans to run the optional ‘vanity panel’ which has been introduced this year to allow teams to cover up the step in the nose.
As this part has no performance advantage and adds weight, he believes there is no benefit in fitting it.
"There is one rule which opens the possibility for a change as we will now be permitted to fit a non-structural ‘vanity panel’ on the upper surface of the nose as a means of avoiding the duck-bill style designs that we saw in 2012.
"However, such a panel will add a few grammes of weight and so is only likely to run on the car if a team can find a performance benefit for doing so."
Kimi Raikkonen keen to prolong Formula 1 comeback beyond 2013
Kimi Raikkonen sees no reason why he will not continue his Formula 1 return into the 2014 season.
The Finn’s comeback deal with Lotus was initially a two-year contract, expiring at the end of 2013.
Speaking as Lotus launched its new E21 chassis, Raikkonen said he had not given much thought to the future, but was sure he would stay on if he continued to enjoy F1.
"I’m not really thinking beyond this season at the moment, but I’m sure there will be talk before the end of the year," he said.
"I enjoyed my comeback to Formula 1 last year and there’s no reason to say I shouldn’t enjoy the 2013 season too.
"I know there will be big changes to the cars and regulations for 2014, so who’s to say that won’t be exciting."
Raikkonen initially walked away from the sport when he left Ferrari at the end of 2009.
He switched to the World Rally Championship with Citroen, but struggled for consistent form. Despite forays into the NASCAR Truck Series and a test in Peugeot’s Le Mans contender, he ultimately returned to F1 with Lotus.