Lotus-Cosworth T127 – Click above for high-res image gallery
What's in a name? Maybe not as much as there is in an engine, but given its misfortunes so far this season, the Lotus F1 team is on the verge of changing both.
One of three new entries on the grid, Lotus has – like HRT and Virgin – failed to score a single championship point so far this season. Some of the races it has failed to start, others it has failed to finish, but of those completed, Lotus has yet to place better than 13th. That's still better than either HRT or Virgin could manage, but Lotus is determined to do better next year, and to that end is making a couple of changes.
Despite a three-year contract with Cosworth – the engine supplier also powering the aforementioned other newcomers as well as Williams – the first of the changes will have Lotus switching to Renault motivation for next season. Notwithstanding some noteworthy reliability issues, Renault-powered cars (including front-runners Red Bull) have fared far better than those employing Cosworth engines.
The other big change may seem less substantive, but was probably just as complicated to orchestrate. Dropping the Lotus Racing moniker currently in use, the team is set to switch to the Team Lotus name for next season. What's the difference, you ask? Team Lotus was the name used during the (previous) team's heyday, when the likes of Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Stirling Moss, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna and Nelson Piquet drove the iconic green-and-yellow (and even more iconic black-and-gold) cars to 79 checkered flags and seven world championships. The name belonged in the interim to David Hunt, brother of the late world champion James Hunt, but has now been acquired by the Malaysian outfits backing the new Lotus team.