Lotus have become the first team to launch a 2013 Formula One car – the E21 was revealed a few minutes ago live on the Lotus F1 YouTube channel and right here on chrisonf1.com. At first glance, the most obvious feature of the new car is that it has retained the stepped nose that was characteristic of last year’s F1 cars. In general, the car looks very much like an evolution of the E20 that was raced in 2012.
Perhaps the most important technical feature of the new car is the Coanda-style exhaust that was pioneered by Red Bull in 2012. Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn predicted at the end of 2012 that all of the cars would make use of this exhaust technology that allows the teams to direct the exhaust gases with high degrees of accuracy towards aerodynamic pieces of the rear of the car. Lotus have so far proven Brawn’s prediction to be correct. The livery of the E21 is dominated by the black and gold colour scheme used for the past two seasons, although the sidepods now bear prominent red signage for Genii Capital, who own the team. The air intake has above the driver’s head is now red as well.
Lotus technical director James Allison assured Sky Sports News, who covered the launch, that the car contained plenty of innovation under its familiar looking skin:”I can assure you we’ve done a lot… The whole team here has been working heart and soul on this thing for a long time… there’s a lot that’s gone in to it and it’s going to be an exciting car.”
Allison revealed that the stepped nose has been retained as there would be no obvious performance advantage to be gained from covering the step. He was unwilling to add weight to the front of the car for cosmetic purposes. It is likely that Lotus are not the only team to follow this line of thinking, but that will only become clear as the other teams launch over the next week.
Lotus are targeting third place in the Constructors’ Championship this season. Considering how strong the team’s performance was in 2012 – Kimi Raikkonen finished third in the drivers’ table and the team finished fourth overall – that aim seems quite conservative. Whether or not it is achievable will remain largely unknown until the season starts in Melbourne on 17 March, although pre-season testing – starting on 5 February – will provide some indication of the pecking order.
Click here to see photos of the new car.