Lotus launches the E21

_I4V9391Lotus F1 team is the first F1 team to launch its 2013 F1 car with the E21 being unveiled on Youtube this evening. The car is, inevitably, a development of last year’s E20, given that this is the last year of the current Formula 1 and regulations are very tight. The team hopes that development over the winter will result in better performance so that Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean will be able to score better results than last year, when the team finished fourth in the World Championship.

“We are lean and hungry,” says team boss Eric Boullier. “Enstone knows how to win championships, but it is a while since we have won so we are very eager to taste glory again. We have a fantastic facility at Enstone and one which has benefitted from significant and strategic investment over the past couple of years. We have a highly accomplished technical and design team who last year produced a fantastic car, the E20. The E21 builds on this. We have a superb driver line-up with the 2007 champion, Kimi, and a hungry young gun in Romain. We have further strength in our partners and we are certainly primed and ready for action.”

_I4V9474What is noticeable is that the team does not have the much-rumoured sponsorship from Honeywell, however the appearance of much more red on the car (Honeywell’s corporate colour) suggests that the deal is still on the cards.

Kimi Raikkonen says that the aim this year is to do better than in 2012.

“I’ve not driven the E21 yet so it’s difficult to say what could or could not be possible,: the Finn says. “We know we had a good car last season, but everyone is working hard to make the best car. I will be working with the team to help get the car as strong as we can, then in Melbourne we’ll have our first taste of results. It’s a long season from there. 2012 was a good start; let’s see what we can do in 2013. It’s clear from working with them that they are racers, and you can see in their history that they’ve won championships. 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.”

_I4V0393The team has three other drivers on its books with the announcement of Davide Valsecchi as Third Driver, Jérôme D’Ambrosio as Reserve Driver and Nicolas Prost as Development Driver.

The E21 has been designed by James Allison and his team at Enstone.

“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,” said Allison. “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.

“2014 brings some enormous regulation changes. In particular, the transmission designs which have been pretty stable for the last 6 years or so must all be torn up and started from scratch for 2014. The RPM and torque range of the 2014 engine is so different to what went before it that we must replace our factory testing facilities to make sure that they are compatible with the new designs. This investment will ensure that Enstone’s 2014 gearboxes are fast and reliable from the moment that the season begins.”

The team has benefited from a great deal of investment at Enstone in the last couple of years. The ‘driver-in-the-loop’ simulator went live at Enstone in 2012 and enables a driver to give input into the development process.

“Although conventional computer simulations are very powerful, they are still limited in their ability to tell us whether a new concept will produce acceptable handling characteristics,” said Allison. “The driver in the loop simulator goes a long way to closing off that gap in our previous competence.”

The team also has a new gearbox dyno facility.

carTeam chairman Gerard Lopez said that much of the work in relation to the team has been behind the scenes.

“We are developing and enhancing the fantastic facility we have nestling in the Oxfordshire countryside,” he said. “Where in 2011 we implemented a 60% wind tunnel, so 2012 saw our ‘Driver in the Loop’ simulator go live. For 2013, it’s the Gearbox Dyno facility which adds to our operation, and this has particular relevance to the developments for the 2014 change in regulations.”

53 thoughts on “Lotus launches the E21

  1. No Honeywell yet but they have manged to poach CNBC from Marussia.

    Not sure I like the red, hopefully It will look better on track.

    Rear wing end plates look similar to the 2010 Red Bull

  2. What’s the point of the “cosmetic piece” nose regulations if teams can ignore them ? The nose is still ugly. I was hoping F1 would walk away from the duck-billed platypus this year.

    1. I believe they are holding back on the ‘modesty panel’ until they can show an aerodynamic advantage. Like a lot of launch cars it has a lot of old pieces on. A few sites quote James Allison saying they’re basically working on modesty panels that increase downforce too – they just need to figure out if it offsets the slight weight penalty.

    2. Same here – I’m sure a read something from Charlie Whiting about cars better this year in this area. Maybe designers now prefer it for other reasons best known to them. Hope McLaren haven’t changed their design philosophy – by far the best looking car last year.

    1. Third Driver they do all the testing, reserve driver is if something happens to one of the drivers such as a ban, and development driver is one for the future!! (right joe??)

      1. The difference is that one is called a reserve driver, the other a 3rd driver. Neither name matters. It’s down to how the team use & name them. Teams have decided not to use their “official” reserve driver previously (Sauber in 2011 when they needed someone to step in for Perez). Same for Friday driving – the driver used only needs to be nominated with the FIA at the appropriate time, with or without a title within the team.

  3. Joe –

    What has happened to this smoothing of the nose that was touted earlier in the year?

    I thought the stepped noses were on their way out, to be replaced by some cosmetics on top?

    Am I talking rubbish?

  4. Joe

    With in season testing banned these day’s why do teams need so many drivers?

    I know they do a lot of simulation work at the factory but having five drivers is a bit excessive. Valsecchi is the third driver, D’Ambrosio reserve driver, Prost development driver, they are unlikely to ever drive the car except for maybe some straight line testing.

  5. I don’t mind the nose and if the modesty panel is not compulsory why have it? It adds a little bit of weight but could possibly be used for aerodynamic advantage so pros and cons I guess. If its fast, its beautiful. PS Joe will you be talking in Melbourne this year?

    1. I think the stepped noses look hideous (though they don’t hurt my retinae like they did 12 months ago), but the numbers from the wind tunnel/CFD/track testing trump all aesthetic considerations.

      (There is also the remote (but unlikely) possibility that the top of the nose is a removable panel and the nose is a “2012” one like many launch car parts?)

      1. Ditto rmm but the front wing, looking again, also looks ungainly doesn’t it? It’s a real pity that these things aren’t properly considered by the FIA in terms of aesthetics and performance combined ie minimum uglyness possible!

        1. Handsome is as handsome does, they say. I hated the look of rasied noses when the first arrived (Tyrrell 019) but, because they work, I like them.

          There’s enough petty costraints on F1 design, I think, without having a committee of FIA/FOM beauty contest judges. 😉

          1. Fair comment rmm. I was looking at the Lotus 49 the other day, in launch form – pre-Gold Leaf sponsorship, no aerofoils, no engine fairing/cover. What a beautiful car – I worshipped that car when I was a young lad!

    2. I never understood the ‘voluntary’ modesty panel advertised by the FIA. I mean, if there was any gain to be had by it teams (McLaren and Marussia, notwithstanding) would have done it last year, and there would be no such thing as stepped noses. Unless the panels gives any gain, teams won’t use it. Why would they?

      1. The “modesty panel” wasn’t legal last year. The front bulkhead was one height, the tope the nose was lower. The transition (along the longitudinal axis of the car) was over a distance of (I think) 150mm.

        McLarena and Marussia avoided the step by having the bottom of the nose under the front bulkhead much closer to the reference plane. This may (or may not, I haven’t the data) have carried with it an aerodynamic penalty.

        This year the blending from one height to another can be done over a much greater length, but must be non-structural.

  6. I was expecting more mention of “burn” than on just the front wing. That was a major announcement for the ‘Enstone Team’ and yet the word ‘Lotus’ still appears larger in two more prominent places despite – and correct me if I’m wrong here, Joe – Lotus handing no money to the team. “Himi” appears more prominently than “burn”, and I’ve never even heard of them (although I realise that’s the whole point of advertising).

      1. Well clearly they’d adopted it as Lotus brand colours / design – hence why it appears on “Lotus” cars in other racing series despite the JPS Lotus never appearing in, for example, the American Le Mans Series.

        As for the red, surely the aim is to switch the Genii sticker for a Honeywell one…

  7. I do hope they change the font they used for “Kimi’ cos it still looks like Himi to me, but I am sure the team have more to worry about than fonts

  8. Some questions & thoughts on sponsorship:

    – who or what is avanade? Sounds like an energy drink 😉 – were they there last year?

    – no Henri-Lloyd anywhere I can see, no Alpinestars on the car (& not much on the overalls), which makes me think they’ve been putting out press releases about not much recently.

    – On the other hand, the CNBC sticker looks new & I don’t remember an announcement about that.

    – thought there’d be more burn

    – the red isn’t nice, but it’ll look fantastic with a sponsor’s logos stuck over it

    – the ‘Kimi’ script (both the idea and the execution in that horrible font) is like something HRT would have done. Smacks of desperation, and the typeface doesn’t convey F1 brand values (John (Other John) – comments? Happy to concede if you think differently).

    – the car is quite possibly a gussied up E20. Isn’t that what Lotus did last year? Reveal a 2011 car with the FEE removed?

    1. Avanade is an IT consulting company specializing in Microsoft solutions. they are a subsidiary of Accenture. Accenture is the world’s largest consulting company (by revenue).

  9. Total = Oil and petrol,
    Renault = cars,
    Symantec = IT security,
    Magneti Marelli = Engine ECU and electronics.

    Japan Rags ??
    Clear ??
    Net App (IT I assume),
    Rexona ?
    Genii = Finance ??
    Avanade ??
    Elysium ??

    All the sponsors I know above have been around for years. Who are the rest ?

      1. I understand that google and wikipedia are your friends, but the point I was trying to make was these companies have virtually no other exposure, certainly in the uk that i’m aware of, such that I have no knowledge of who they are, or what they sell/make.

        1. Well you’ve basically got two answers :

          1) Businesses who deal with other businesses and not consumers – Magneti Marelli are a perfect example and while many F1/motorsport fans know what they do, 99% of fans aren’t their target audience. These guys tend to be suppliers to the team in question, but still insist on a little logo being shown so that everyone *knows* that they’re suppliers to the team in question. Some of them also get the team in question to participate in parts of their advertising, which is why you’ll find James Allison on the back cover of the current edition of Private Eye.

          2) Brands which don’t exist in the UK but are very strong elsewhere. Rexona is a classic example – as yet Unilever hasn’t switched names from “Sure” in the UK and EIRE but to the rest of Europe Rexona is a very familiar brand. Wiki tells me that North America sees Rexona sold as “Degree”, but it seems that everyone else in the world gets Rexona. It’s a similar story with Axe, which you may know as “Lynx”. Clear is yet another Unilever brand, similarly unavailable in the UK.

          The obvious questions are “why not unify the brands?” and if/when Unilever will do so. The answer is probably that they’ve almost certainly considered it and very informed people have decided not to, so they must think it’s a dubious move to make. Possibly in some regions they would open themselves to copyright disputes or simply confusing customers. Bear in mind that Unilever also own Cif, which used to be Jif in the UK (and remains so in some areas according to Wiki), and the sales data might simply say that changing a name of a strong brand was/is a bad move.

        2. The point you’re making is exactly why those brand names are there..

          It is proven that people respond more positively to names they have seen or heard before than they do to ones they haven’t. It has also been shown to be advantageous to your survival for your brain to conjure the illusion that you’re in full control of the decisions you make when the reality is that you’re not really. Hence your natural reaction to argue that the advertising activity being discussed here is pointless and won’t persuade you – which I think is the underlying argument you’re trying make.

          Also, the focus for much of the marketing activity in F1 is not currently aimed at the UK. F1 is a global advertising medium that gets names in front of people that otherwise wouldn’t necessarily have heard or seen them before. You haven’t heard of them before and neither has a large proportion of the world’s population. Now you all have = mission accomplished.. on a global scale.

          Detailed information about the company and what they do is not required to exploit the mechanism described above. It helps if the name is positively associated with something such as a race winning team, but it’s not essential. The seed of familiarity will still be sown.

          It’s as simple as that.

  10. Avanade is (or at least was) a technology consulting company – I thought it was a joint venture between accenture and Microsoft, but I could be wrong about that.

    Joe – Caterham must be having a private smile about “Lotus 7” being prominent on this particluar car 😉 Free advertising for their road car…?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s