Team Lotus has had a busy off-season, principally dealing with the naming rights dispute with Group Lotus and its new Renault team. That issue is still far from resolved, with both teams laying claim to the name, but the Malaysian outfit is taking first blood by launching its new car online before their British counterparts unveil theirs at Valencia. In doing so, Team Lotus becomes the second team to launch its 2011 challenger (following the new Ferrari F150), and the team calls it a complete clean-sheet redesign over last year's car.
Designed by Mike Gascoyne, the new Lotus T128 is a considerably more radical than the T127 it replaces, which was rushed onto the grid with a more conservative design in order to get the team a foothold in its inaugural season. Swapping the previous car's Cosworth power for Renault, the T128 also uses a Red Bull gearbox and starts the season without the KERS regenerative braking system permitted for use once again under this year's regulations.
The T128 sticks with the green and yellow livery after initial plans to switch to the JPS black and gold were aborted before Lotus Renault GP released its own plans for the same. It will be piloted once again by Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen, with its reserve/test drive still yet to be announced. The new car isn't expected to make its on-track debut until the second day of testing at Valencia, but you can read more about it in the press release after the jump and take your first look in the high-resolution image gallery below.
[Source: Team Lotus]
Team Lotus Unveils 2011 Car
The Team Lotus 2011 challenger T128 was launched on Monday 31st January exclusively in Team Lotus Notes. The special launch edition of the team's magazine has a number of first-see images of the 2011 car and insights from key players within Team Lotus into the design and build process of the new car, including people from the Aero, R&D and Vehicle Dynamics, Design and Senior Management Teams.
Here are a few selected highlights, but click on the link to the launch edition on the homepage of www.teamlotus.co.uk for the whole story.
Marianne Hinson, Head of Aerodynamics: "In aero we started thinking about the new car around Spring last year, a bit before any of the other departments. The start of the process is a really fun period, when you're looking through the new rules, thrashing out ideas and trying to find loopholes."
Lewis Butler, Chief Designer: "The biggest design challenge was trying to package everything a bit smaller. We were trying to get that area around the driver really tight so the aerodynamicists were happy with it."
Elliot Dason-Barber, Head of R&D and Vehicle Dynamics: "We're definitely going to take a step forward with this car. Quite how much we'll close the gap to the teams in front of us we'll see, but my hope is we'll be competing with the teams that were a second or two ahead of us last season."
Keith Saunt, Chief Operating Officer: "You can just see that this car will be faster than last year's. It's got the right sweeps and curves on it - it's the very latest iteration of what an F1 car should be."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "I think that basically this car looks like a front-running car in every area. We said very clearly that we want to start challenging the established teams and I think that's very achievable."
Riad Asmat, Chief Executive Officer: "T128 takes Team Lotus in exactly the right direction. We have said since day one of the Team Lotus dream that the plan for our second year was to take the fight to the midfield, and with this car we are all confident that is what we will be able to do."
Team Principal Tony Fernandes: "There has been so much focus off-track it's a thrill to be able to get back to talking about racing. The launch of the T128 is a big step forward for Team Lotus and I want to thank the whole team for the amount of hard work that has already gone into the car, and I want to thank Renault and Red Bull Technology for their tremendous support in helping us make this step forward and for being such great team partners."