January 29, 2013 by thedavidryan
Lotus launch their 2013 contender
Nothing suggests there is a new Formula One season on the horizon quite like a hugely anticipated new car launch. First out of the gate was Lotus, as they revealed their new 2013 model from their Enstone base on Monday evening, the long awaited E21.
First impressions are that the E21 is a sleeker, more tightly-packaged advancement of its ancestor, the race-winning E20. The rear in particular led some to believe the Lotus designers had taken inspiration from the dominate Red Bull from last season. It comes as no surprise then that the team are convinced it will create an even more formidable challenge than 2012, as they have set a lofty minimum target of moving into the top three for the forthcoming season.
Before Monday’s unveiling of the first 2013 contender, the belief had been that the new season’s cars would no longer feature the hideous ‘step nose’ design that was seen on last year’s models, after teams decided with the FIA to include a laminate alternative ‘modesty panel’ over the nose for aesthetic reasons.
Surprisingly however, the new Lotus still sported the infamous ugly nose shape when it was unveiled yesterday. When quizzed on why this unflattering front end had reappeared in the 2013 model, Technical Chief James Allison made it apparent that should they find a solution, that didn’t compromise performance, then Lotus would have no hesitation in bolting it onto the car.
“If we find a cosmetic panel that looks nice, but much more importantly and crucially, develops us a bit of downforce then we’ll pop it on as quick as you like.”
Both Lotus drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean unveiled the new black and gold beast to the press, and the incomparable Raikkonen believes the team has what it takes to win F1 titles.
“Yes, I think they do. It’s clear from working with them that they are racers, and you can see in their history that they’ve won championships.”
At the end of the 2012 season Lotus finished 75 points behind McLaren in third place, the equivalent of three race victories, in spite of Kimi Raikkonen outscoring both of the then McLaren pairing of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers Championship.
Team Principal Eric Boullier also expects big things from fellow Lotus driver Romain Grosjean this year: “We believe he has the potential to deliver. He can qualify well, he can race well. He did it in the past – he won in every championship he entered – so there is no reason why he should not deliver as well in Formula 1.”
Grosjean himself added: “I’m confident, hopefully the car will be good – it looks very nice, which is always a good starting point – and we will try to make it as good as we can and try to improve myself every time I jump into the car.”
With big things expected from the team at Enstone this year, fans of Lotus will be hoping both Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean will be able to fire the E21 to the front of the grid when the 2013 season kicks off in a few weeks time.
Do you like the look of the new Lotus car? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.
You can also check out my thoughts on how Lewis Hamilton will do at Mercedes this year.