Lotus are set to be the first team to launch a 2013 Formula One car. The new Lotus, named the E21, will be revealed in an online launch on 28 January 2013 at 19:15 GMT. The launch can be watched live on the Lotus F1 Team YouTube channel.
The E21 will be powered by a Renault 2.4 litre V8 engine, and raced by Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean. Based on the team’s 2012 form – Raikkonen finished third in the drivers’ championship and Lotus came fourth in the constructors’ championship – this should be a competitive car. How good the new car is will begin to become clear when testing gets underway in Jerez, Spain on 5 February, but the real pecking order will not be known until the first race in Melbourne on 17 March.
In terms of appearance, the E21 car is likely to do away with the stepped nose that characterised the 2012 cars, as new regulations permit the teams to cover the step. The black and gold livery, which has been on the cars for the last two seasons, is likely to be retained. Most of the aero development will be focused on the rear end of the car, where the exhaust exits will be designed to direct the hot exhaust gases towards aerodynamic pieces around the rear floor. Those changes will deliver performance, but will not be visible to the casual observer, particularly when the cars are at speed. The most noticeable change will be the smooth nose.
Lotus have already fired up the engine in the E21 in preparation for the launch and start of testing. The sound of the engine being fired up for the first time can be heard here.
The schedule of launches (as revealed so far) and testing can be found here.