The new E23 Hybrid is the twenty-third chassis to come from the Enstone-based team. As with the new Williams that was the first new chassis revealed for this year, the principal difference you can see is the more conventional nose to replace the twin-tusk setup of the E22, but there's more to it than that.
For starters, it's the first new Lotus to pack Mercedes power after the team parted ways with Renault – the manufacturer that used to own the team and which has powered every car the team has built since Benetton signed with the French automaker way back in 1995. It also packs a completely new suspension setup after the original FRIC design in the preceding E22 was banned mid-season, forcing Enstone engineers to go back to the drawing board halfway through the championship.
Word has it that, after earlier rumors suggested the team might not even make it back onto the grid, new sponsors will be added before the season gets under way in Melbourne on March 15 with the Australian Grand Prix.
To pilot the new car, Lotus has retained the same two drivers as last year in Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado. The team is hoping to perform better this season than it did the last, when it finished the constructors' championship way down in eighth place – the same result it achieved in 2009 under Renault ownership and the worst it had performed since the Toleman days in 1983.