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Analysis: Lotus wins the race to unveil first 2013 F1 car, but what’s it like?
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Lotus F1 E21
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Jan 2013   |  9:53 pm GMT  |  140 comments

Lotus became the first F1 team to unveil its new car, when it pulled the wraps off the E21 in front of an audience live online via You Tube and on Sky Sports News in the UK.

The launch was handled by team owner Gerard Lopez and team principal Eric Boullier, while technical director James Allison together with the drivers Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen pulled the wraps off the car. Raikkonen said that he believes the team has what it takes to win the world title.

Boullier said third place is the target for the 2013 season, which is ambitious, but builds on their success of 2012. He said that he expects Grosjean to deliver in 2013, having kept faith with him after some rocky times in 2012, with crashes and a race ban.


So what of the first car to break cover in 2013?

Well it is a direct descendant of the 2012 car, that is clear. This makes sense as the Lotus was one of the most competitive cars last year. They were late to the party on the Coanda exhausts, which channel exhaust gas down to the diffuser, so there is more to come for them in this area than their direct competitors.

There were places on the car where the engineers had clearly placed a “launch specification” part in order to give nothing away of their true intentions. The front wing, for example was rather vanilla and less aggressive and complex than the one which finished the 2012 season. The top element of the wing, for example, was very simple in comparison. That will surely change for the first test next week.

That said, the FIA is pushing the teams hard with stringent anti-flexing tests on the front wings, so it will be interesting across the board to see how they deal with this.

The nose itself is quite narrow and on launch specification is missing the bulbous underbelly which was present last season to help create balance.

The passive DRS air intake was missing from the air box, while the rear wing endplate was identical to the car from the end of last year.


The venue was dimly lit (probably on purpose!) so it was not possible to see the floor in detail. Last season Lotus had a very aggressive rear floor, angled away from the car to pull the rear tyre wake away from the floor. They were one of the most aggressive teams in that respect.

The suspension looks similar, which makes sense as the Lotus was one of the best cars last year at using its tyres.

Despite relaxation of the rules on the stepped noses, to remove the ugly blight on many of last year’s cars with a cosmetic panel, the bump on Lotus nose is still there; for the moment. This is likely to change. But at this stage, Lotus do not want to show their hand. There is an aerodynamic gain to be had from a plate which has been designed into the car, but we will have to wait to see Lotus’ solution.

“We have not done it yet because a cosmetic panel would weigh a few grammes and that’s anathema,” said Allison. “However if we find one which looks nice but more crucially which gives us a few more points of downforce we’ll put it on the car as quick as you like.”

Asked if this was basically an evolution of the 2012 car, Allison said,
“We’ve done a lot. There is a lot gone into it and it is going to be an exciting car.

“The rules for 2013 are very, very similar to 2012 so you can expect a lot of family resemblance from the 2012 car, but the devil is in the detail and it adds up to a significant amount of performance,” said Allison.

“There are lots of new ideas and same concepts we have been pushing on with for a few years.”

The use of the word “significant” to describe the performance step is interesting and implies that they feel that the gain is of the order of half a second per lap or more.


The car had the black and gold livery, but with red accent colour on the air box and rear wing, with a scaling down of Total branding, a small amount of branding from Coca Cola energy drink “Burn” on the front wing endplates and the name “Kimi” on the air box, which looked like a holding sticker for a prospective sponsor.

Raikkonen said that he enjoyed his comeback last year and is open to a conversation later this year about extending his contract with Lotus. He added that he believes Lotus has what it takes to win the world title,

“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,” he said. “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.”

The third driver is reigning GP2 series champion Davide Valsecchi. Alain Prost’s son Nicolas will be the Development Driver. Jérôme D’Ambrosio will continue with the team as Reserve Driver.

[Additional technical input: Mark Gillan]

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140 Comments
  1. knoxploration says:

    One word: ugly.

    Why do the teams even pretend to listen to the fans. If they were going to keep the hideous platypus nose all along, they should’ve at least had the cojones to just tell the fans “We don’t care what you think.”

    I have a feeling the cosmetic panel is not going to be used by anybody, because it’s not been forced on them. Screw fan sentiment, all that matters is the letter of the rules.

    1. unF1nnished business says:

      Did you really think Lotus would design a car based on the fans’ design/aesthetic input?

      1. knoxploration says:

        Frankly, no, I didn’t expect anybody to use it once I learned it wasn’t obligatory. The same poor rule making and lack of cooperation between the teams that made the problem in the first place is the rule making and cooperation that’s been applied towards fixing the problem.

        As usual, the teams won’t do anything that doesn’t give them an advantage, while Ecclestone and Todt are too out of touch and last their sell-by dates to step in and fix the mess.

      2. KGBVD says:

        Evidently not.

        They seemingly willfully ignored my requests for neon lights out the bottom, chrome 24 inch spinners, and a set of fart mufflers.

      3. toleman fan says:

        Oh, nose!

        Dunno why you asked Lotus, tho’. Isn’t that more of a Mclaren / Button kind of vibe?

      4. toleman fan says:

        {joking}

      5. Random says:

        If put to a vote some teams might agree to put neon lights on the cars of certain drivers, just so that they could see them coming and take avoiding action.

        But seriously, man they would awesome around Singapore!

    2. Simple says:

      I would suggest that all that matters is performance as far as the design team are concerned…

      1. knoxploration says:

        Correct. Which is pathetic. The “powers” that be in F1 should’ve heard fan sentiment and fixed the problem long ago with a simple requirement that every team adopt the cosmetic panel, but as usual they care not one jot for the folks who play their bills.

      2. Darren says:

        Are you seriously saying that the most important thing about an F1 car is how it looks? you don’t get extra points for looks!

      3. richard says:

        Seriously, who writes these comments?

        F1 racing is about cars that are designed to go quickly. Who cars what they look like?

        ‘Fans’ should get over it and enjoy the driving, racing, politics, and fun of the whole season and stop worrying if cars have a stepped nose or not…!

        Honestly!

      4. Simple says:

        I disagree. I don’t even notice platypus noses anymore. Visual appeal, whilst relevant, is all in the eye of the beholder. I care about how clever engineers maximise minuscule tenths by pushing the boundaries of the regulations, not about some cosmetic peice of plastic surgery. It’s racing, not a fashion competition.

      5. Wanja says:

        I like the stepped nose on this particular car. Now who are you to speak for me? Speak for yourself, will you?

      6. DANNY says:

        The folks who pay their bills? Who would that be? I suppose you feel the right to make design changes at your local grocery store. You’re paying the bills, after all.

      7. Random says:

        Let’s face it, with the big front wings and tiny little rear wings all these cars look funny compared to the old ones; it’s just that after four years we’re all used to them now.

        As for the stepped noses, it’s for safety – which is fair enough – but why couldn’t the regs say that they have to start at a certain height and then follow some kind of curve to the maximum allowed height, as with the MP4-27.

      8. KGBVD says:

        Fail in attitude, my friend.

    3. madmax says:

      Two words: read again

      “This is likely to change. But at this stage, Lotus do not want to show their hand. There is an aerodynamic gain to be had from a plate which has been designed into the car, but we will have to wait to see Lotus’ solution.”

      1. knoxploration says:

        That is not a quote from anybody at Lotus, it’s an interpretation by James. And I would say one that is false. If they were ready with an aero-friendly add on, why would they take the PR hit of launching with a design they know the fans hate? They wouldn’t. They would launch with a simple flat panel that hides the platypus and then show the real panel later.

        Mark my words… The presence of the platypus at launch means it will be there come race day, unless they figure out a new trick between now and then.

      2. Charles says:

        Allison said that so it was no interpretation by james. Did you even see the live presentation ? When i read all your comments, i’ll beginning to think you’re not 100%. Let’s make the car slower because the fans don’t like the platypus nose, really ???

      3. madmax says:

        Allison was hinting at changing it later. The interpretation is probably not from James but from Mark Gillan who was chief engineer at Williams so he would know these things.

        Suppose we will know in Melbourne.

      4. unF1nnished business says:

        Honestly, I think the Lotus is one of the few cars on the grid that can actually pull off the stepped nose design. It gives it an aggressive look and if it also adds to performance than even better.

      5. W Johnson says:

        Exactly…..there will be many aspects of this car that will be showing last year’s parts to disguise their innovations until the last possible moment and who could blame them. Why give your opponent an advantage?

    4. Chris says:

      That’s a pretty dim view. Read the article. Lotus hasn’t excluded the possibility of using it, and JA has clearly stated that this “reveal” is meant to keep a lot of design cards close to their chest, including the potential use of a “cosmetic” panel.

      And anyway, Allison has a point about designing a cosmetic panel that only adds weight without any performance is foolish

    5. Lee says:

      Who cares? What’s the point of a pretty car that isn’t fast?

    6. CA says:

      Im actually speechless for a moment. Hold on….
      … Ok so I’m imagining the conversation – “So we’ve got the choice between this wonderfully sexy looking nose that just sets off the rest of the car and achieves a gob smacking aesthetic…or one that’s fast?” – ” we’ll I think fast is over rated”

      And to think fans want a good looking car rather than a fast one!? Really?!

      Screw fan sentiment, ALL that matters IS the letter of the law. It’s not a bloody democracy!

    7. Chrisg says:

      Really, nothing on a F1 car is there for any other reason than performance, although they want fans, they aren’t going change their cars to make a few fans happy, for something as vain as stepped nose.

      What I don’t understand is why teams launch cars, early when this could be nothing like the car that turns up at first test with
      a) Different rear wing
      b) Passive DRS
      c) Different front wing
      d) Nose cosmetic panel
      e) Sponsor (kimi sticker comment above)

      1. Yak says:

        Why launch a car that’s likely completely different to what they’ll run at the first test? Well for one, Lotus were the first to launch their car, so it’s a bit of media coverage. Same as any other team launching whenever, I’m guessing the team and their sponsors want the coverage.

        Why not launch the test spec car? Aside from the possibility of things changing between now and then, there’s the obvious answer of them not wanting other people seeing what crafty things they’ve done.

      2. Chris Garwood says:

        Totally understand that, but with the car being shown with the same front wing as this time last year, the same rear wing they finsihed the season with, major inovation that thet will use this year, for the most part last years sponsers … can you confirm to me that the shown Lotus was not the E20 with (bits of) the the E21 side pods ?

        So basically, Lotus got the ge wiz, media coverage, by showing, basically last years car

      3. Arnie S says:

        Launch first and you get the publicity. Publicity = Money

    8. Richard says:

      Doesn’t matter what it looks like as long as it’s fast. If they find a nose that is a performance improvement it will materialise.

  2. Candice says:

    It looks like RB8 X mp4-27 hybrid to me LOL

    1. Sebee says:

      With the regs basically unchanged, 2013 may actually turn out to be quite close with all these teams adopting each other’s innovations. Not at all the Red Bull and Ferrari show we expect.

      One thing is for sure. Every day we are one day closer.

      1. **Paul** says:

        I’d argue the McLaren was the fastest car last year, and although they had a 3/4 dip, for 1/4, 2/4 and 4/4 there car was pretty awesome.

        The margins will become closer between the cars, but the speed of gain in development will decrease. So I expect McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari to lead the way – in that order.

  3. Oli79 says:

    Looks very much like last year’s car. Thought we were done with the infamous “step” for this year…..thought wrong!!
    Hope we get some more innovation from the other constructors. Only time will tell…..next week Jerez!! ;)

    1. I’m not surprised to see the same car, that was expected. Innovations will be mainly seen around DRD-like structures – the rules pretty much forbid everything else.

  4. Seán Craddock says:

    I hate the livery on this car, ruining the classic colours. Surprised there’s not more Burn branding on it.

    On the subject of the cosmetic plate, was there not a condition that it doesn’t affect aerodynamics? I know it would be impossible for it not to have some influence, but Allison was speaking as if it would be used to an advantage.

    1. Alexyoong says:

      I don’t get this- surely the rules should force designers into a flat nose. Otherwise we can hardly expect them to sacrifice performance for aesthetic considerations. What is the essence of the rules on this?

    2. Araqiel says:

      I’m guessing they’re waiting to see what everybody else does as far as the ‘modesty panel’ – as far as the advantage, if the rules allow it to create even a point more downforce than it penalises in weight equivalent they’ll use it. It is kind of a strange solution though, and I agree we might not see a whole lot of them on the cars, at least during the first test. Come Catalunya and the massive sensor racks, who knows.

      1. Sebee says:

        Modesty Panel.

        Whoever named it must have got the name idea while at Ipanema beach after last year’s final GP!

  5. Phill says:

    I think Lotus are holding a lot back for Jerez. I cannot even start to believe that they haven’t changed that front nose to get rid of the bump, that is clearly a ploy at this point.
    I guess it will be like this until Jerez, and I hope you have a cameraman there ready and waiting for us when it comes James.

    1. Chrisg says:

      Why can you not believe that they havent changed the nose to get rid of the bump ? with the rules stating that no aero advantage can be gained from it .. why ? It’s a bit like boy racers putting spoilers on nova’s we all look and think .. why, why would you do that … just to look good ?

    2. jph2812 says:

      it wont be jerez when the bolt on the goodies, Its more likely be the last couple of days of the last test.The teams will test all the basics first then bring what is basically a B-spec car out at the last minute.
      Also i think allison is telling the truth about the nose, why change it when there is no advantage. Unless a team brings out a good idea that can be copied.(maybe ferrari as they said they will use the panel)

  6. Tank says:

    Meh. Rather underwhelming, has to be said.

    1. Wanja says:

      Oh come on! I think this car has some utterly elegant lines – just watch the sidepod’s almost perfectly round opening and its almost flawless, flat surface with no cooling vents whatsoever merge into the Coanda exhaust, with the huge undercut from the front of the sidepod merging into the channel towards the diffuser. These are absolutely elegant shapes and there is even more to discover in the details.

  7. Sri says:

    I really like the attitude of this team – not much fuss, just do their job. I hope they find a good big sponsor to sustain their future. Also it is time we have some change in the top – a new team will always make it nice.

  8. benny says:

    The kimi font and colour does look like its trying to invite a full coca-cola sponsor ship!!

    1. Alexyoong says:

      Agreed!

    2. Alex says:

      An article on another journalist’s blog speculated that Lotus was trying to put a deal together with Honeywell whose corporate colours are red and whiite.

    3. Wade Parmino says:

      Why not. Soft drinks and energy drinks can be the ‘new’ tobacco sponsors. ;)

    4. Kimi4WDC says:

      It will most likely feature TOTAL, as it made space for Burn on the sides of the front wings.

  9. ben says:

    Hi James,

    Good article its interesting to hear your thoughts on the comparison between this car and 2012. Do you think Mclaren will have raised there nose this year? Also do you think they missed a trick with that last year and therefore gains are to be had?

    1. Brad says:

      They had the fastest car Ben, I think they should stick to no stepped nose

    2. AuraF1 says:

      Mclaren did raise the nose somewhat after last years in season testing. They did admit it hit button quite hard and was partly responsible for his big mid season collapse. I think you’ll see a mclaren with a higher nose than 2012 but I doubt there will be the big step feature. If nothing else mclaren seem to like smooth looking cars!

  10. Alexyoong says:

    The unveiling of new cars is one of the aspects of the year that I have traditionally enjoyed the most. But with limited rule changes this year and the modern day intensity of development, plus the usual attempts to hide any copiable and/or effective developments, there is very little to be taken from the F1 fan’s perspective for the 2013 unveilings.

    Bar the paint job (which is this year one of the most interesting aspects of this year’s launches) there’s not much to cop an eye at. I would say last year’s paint job was better on the Lotus, although I approve of the general paint scheme.

    1. Gudien says:

      Nice to see the launch done ‘online’. Someone is thinking at Lotus.

      1. Kimi4WDC says:

        Let’s hope someone will be thinking when it comes to decision making on a pit-wall in 2013, unlike the 2012.

  11. Adam says:

    Hate the livery – this was possibly the best looking car last year – all that red has ruined it. If the FIA were committed to the look of the cars, then the cosmetic plate would be mandatory.

    1. Wanja says:

      I think the red looks pretty good, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, i guess.

  12. Michael Powell says:

    Ummm. What’s all this about the stepped nose. Who notices? Looks fine.

    1. Sebee says:

      I am used to it myself as well by now and don’t care either way. Just goes to show you, with time we can learn to live with changes.

      If I was Adrian I would put LED lights into the leading edge so Vettel can flash cars ahead to move aside proper like on the motorway.

      1. McHarg123 says:

        I don’t know about you. But last year’s Mercedes with the stepped nose didn’t look that bad. The same can be said for RedBull and Lotus. The Ferrari though, pushing it a little bit!
        Anyway, just my opinion

      2. Random says:

        Agreed. My first thought on seeing the F2012 is that it was made of Lego.

  13. Andrew Carter says:

    I must admit I rather like the extra red splashes in the livery, the plain black and gold just doesnt work as well with modern cars as it did in the 70′s.

    Other than going for a full on coanda exhaust it looks very much the same as last years car, though like you say James a lot of parts will change before the first test.

  14. Tim says:

    It would be interesting to see side-by-side, before and after, comparisons of all the F1 cars. A series of photos from several angles (Darren Heath?) highlighting/describing the changes from launch presentation to actual lift-off (the first tests).

    Could be a nice article for the blog?

    And thanks for the detailed info/thoughts on this Lotus/Renault, James. I read it through twice!

    Tim

    1. Andrew says:

      I second this, great idea.

    2. Andrew says:

      ….although this would obviously be better done during testing as everybody knows (and many have pointed out) that this car is likely to be concealing many aspects of it’s competitive design.

      1. Tim says:

        I agree, your point is well taken.

        Tim

    3. toleman fan says:

      Designed and built in Britain, by an organisation that has continuous history in F1 back to the days they were competing on track against Renault, who were then designing and building F1 cars in a Renault factory in France (Viry-Chatillon?)

      Their first lead driver left to join Renault.

      Their second lead driver left to join Lotus.

      If they’re not ‘really’ Lotus, how on earth can they ‘really’ be Renault? (Are you consistent? Do you think Mercedes is really BAR? Or Honda? Or Brawn? If not, what’s the difference?)

      1. Tim says:

        “Really”?
        You’ve drawn an inference from thin air. I never used the word “really”. Not sure what prompted your knee-jerk reaction, therefore I won’t draw an errant conclusion. Suggest you improve reading comprehension and you might discover the consistency in my posts. Really!

        Tim

      2. Tim says:

        Lol. “Really”?
        I never wrote “really”. Really. Suggesting that I really did, by using quotes around the word is really incorrect, to really put it mildly.
        Recounting well-known F1 lineage is, to really be polite, is trite.
        Which leads me to really believe that your outrage really should be left to wither.
        You ask, really, “Are you consistent?”
        Indeed, really, I am. I really know when to quit while I’m, really, ahead. Really.

        Tim

    4. Wanja says:

      Hugely appreciated idea!

      1. Tim says:

        Thank you Wanja.

        Tim

  15. hero_was_senna says:

    There’s only been 5 liveries over the years which were iconic.

    Obviously the Ferrari red is recognised globally, but for me 7Up Jordan, Marlboro Mclaren, Parmalat Brabham and the Black and Gold of Lotus.

    All these are welcome on the grid anytime.

    1. tom in adelaide says:

      Williams????

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Which one, there’s been a number…

      2. Daniel G, says:

        Well, Williams was a joy to behold in 1992. The Red Five IS one of the most iconic liveries ever.

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        To be fair Daniel, my point is regarding luxuries that have passed through the years.
        Ferrari have been red since the beginning. The Marlboro Mclaren livery was on the cars from 1974 to 1996 and the JPS black an gold livery existed from 1962 to 1986. Obviously revived last season.
        Williams had Saudi sponsorship into the 80′s, blue yellow and white from 1985 to 93 then rothmans, BMW corporate colours etc. they may have looked wonderful in their respective years but its not a signature colour of the team.

    2. zx6dude says:

      Exactly. Black and Gold. The red has no place there. Spoils a beautiful classic. The back and gold still looks stunning though.

    3. Timmay says:

      Go back to 1986.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        My era lol

    4. Andrew says:

      Iconic? Surely this is totally subjective. To me all championship winners were iconic; Williams, Benetton, Renault and silver Mclaren. The yellow and black livery of the Jordan with the snake nose also stands out in my memory.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        You miss my point. The red is always Ferrari. The dayglo orange of the Marlboro Mclarens the black and gold of the Lotus cars. I got carried away maybe with the 1991 Jordan or the parmalat brabham’s, they were never the teams colours over a generation.

        The silver Mclaren, been around a few years but with Mercedes on the grid is it truly synonymous with Mclaren?

        Whenever you see a feature on Mclaren, the inside of the factory, you have the original orange ( which incidentally was used as a test car colour in the late 90′s ) Marlboro colours and the most recent chapters of silver/ chrome

  16. Dave P says:

    What on earth is the point of a launch that hides this and that, has phoney parts on such as rear and front wings, missing parts such as a nose cover… in fact the final car will look nothing like this one…. it all just for hype… in fact you could say it is better to say this is the car we are launching, put ideas on that will never work so that the other teams think we missed a trick, then spend money trying to look into it, meanwhile Lotus have a laugh at the other teams and journalists licking it up while their secret missile is still under wraps…

    1. Brian says:

      Totally agree…this is all nonsense.
      The real launch is Jerez

    2. tarun says:

      Dave I am sure the other teams know about all this…they are all playing the same game…bring on testing!

    3. Laurence H says:

      To show off the sponsors.

    4. Luca says:

      it keeps the sponsors fairly happy as they get media coverage and plenty of it in this case as they are the first to break cover.

      and we all know, no sponsors, no racing.

  17. Chromatic says:

    I don’t think it looks ugly at all as some comments say. Noses look set to remain stepped, except for when extra weight is needed for downforce, says JA. I think the red bits add something positive.
    Where will the Honeywell logo go ??

  18. madmax says:

    Excellent article James, great insights from Mark Gillan.

  19. DK says:

    So it is confirmed Honeywell has withdrawn the sponsorship? Can’t see the name anywherer on the car.

  20. Nick P says:

    This is just an E20…

    New chassis rolling out next week I suppose!

  21. Quade says:

    I can’t understand why the car is still so damn ugly, especially as this years rules allow for farings to cover the nose humps.

  22. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Nothing interesting on the pictures, on this unveiling, nothing exciting really, but…
    if they win races, wow! this same Lotus will be amazing for everybody!

  23. Jose - Perth says:

    That last shot is a view we will see a lot of next year, guaranteed

  24. Darren W says:

    I came to rather like some of the noses on last year’s cars. They had a lean, military look about them. Very purposeful, which is exactly how they were designed to be.

  25. AnthonyD says:

    Close up of rear bodywork around the exhaust seems to show they are following cues from the RB8 in terms of tunnelling air flow from sidepods under the exhaust and blowing onto diffuser so not exactly the E20!

  26. dean cassady says:

    IF Kimi wins in it, I love it.
    These early launches are bout marketing and business development. Anyone who thinks that here is anything on this car to give any developmental advantage to the competitors has not been paying too much attention to how this cycle is now working.
    Ferrari, who haven’t launched, are saying that the car in Melbourne will be quite different to the one that is presented to the public during their ‘launch’. I expect the red car to be fast out of the blocks this year.
    I am very interested in seeing the Mercedes, they are a wildcard, and may have advanced greatly, or not.
    But with the constancy of the rules, expect the races to be very competitive, and multiple race winners to be the norm, as early as the fourth race.
    For a team to dominate, it will likely have to come with a unique innovation that nobody else has, and requires a significant time frame to develop by competitors.
    Who knows where that could come from in this year’s tight pack, Sauber, Williams, Force India. If there was a year that a previous year’s mid-pack team could win, this has got to be it.

    1. Daniel G, says:

      Spot on. It’s not as if this car had to immediately go to FIA scrutinity. It’s more of a ‘livery launch’ than actually a ‘design launch’. Like HRT in 2011, they launched the very same 2010 car with the 2011 livery and that was about it.

      People need to relax and appreciate what a great moment F1 is being through with great cars, drivers and tracks. We’re set for a great season.

  27. McHarg123 says:

    James,
    has the FIA said or done anything with regards to the Red Bull rubber nose concept. If not, surely that’s something teams will add to their designs.
    Thanks

  28. Anne says:

    Well I´m not going to lie. It is not what I expected to see. In fact the more I look at new Lotus the more I miss the good old days of the John Player Special. Anyway the most important thing is to see the car fighting for the championship with Ferrari, RB and McLaren.

  29. Simmo says:

    What’s all the fuss about ‘ugly noses’. The entire point in F1 is to get the maximum gain. Looks should come last in priorities.

    As for the car itself, it looks just fine. I don’t get why everyone is complaining, the team wants to hide some small parts until the test – big deal? As for the livery; sponsorship brings money, money brings speed, right? So where is the issue???

    1. Peter says:

      I agree with you that it’s all about gain, with looks coming last. For me it’s an exercise in pure function, not form. Elegant form comes from a superb execution of function.

      However, it seems some (vocal) fans are more interested in the looks and, dare I say it, the sound of F1 more than the worldclass racecraft and engineering warfare it represents. It’s funny because it’s often the same fans which complain about F1 being more about showbiz than racing these days. And they say it without a trace of irony!

      1. deancassady says:

        exactly. excellent, well considered comment.
        the most beautiful car to me is the one that wins and is not successfully challenged by regulations’ compliance tests.

  30. Davexxx says:

    Dave P has already said it, but I felt I had to say it again:–
    WHAT’S THE POINT?
    - in ‘revealing’ a car that will NOT look like the actual car they will be racing with???
    It takes away my entire interest in watching this circus prior to Race One, and thus reduces my overall passion for F1.
    Sorry to be so pessimistic, but maybe from now on the teams shouldn’t waste their money (and our time) on these phony unveilings, and we all just wait till Race One – with perhaps an extra 1-hour ‘intro’ pre-race program – to see the TRUE racing cars.

    1. Charles says:

      I think sponsership has something to do with rather then showing off the car to an audience. Like it was already sad before and i quote “the name “Kimi” on the air box, which looked like a holding sticker for a prospective sponsor”.

    2. adityafakhri says:

      I bet they don’t waste too much any money since they got a coverage by Sky. Launch involved sponsor and keep them interested and money would be flowing like a faucet (and attracted potential sponsor ofc).

      I mean, come on.
      They race to win. Not to please the audience. For crying out loud, they don’t even sell this car to public!

      For those who labelled stepped nose as ugly… I don’t know whether I get used to it or from the first time it looked okay to me. Not all of stepped noses are ugly. Maybe on F2012, yes, it’s ugly. But not on Lotus.

    3. Spyros says:

      Not too long ago, teams would launch the ‘new livery’ of the year (presenting the old car painted in the new colours and decals), not bothering to launch the new car itself until the first test. It seemed a bit silly then. Not anymore…

  31. DavidM says:

    Hello everyone !

    Beautifull to read everyone’s comments on the launch of the E21.

    James, thank you very much for all your hard work and the attention to sharing information with us through your website. I’ve been enjoying it for years and as all of us I also have all your books and have all read them. I enjoyed every single one of them. I’m even reading them all over again.

    I very much like to read all the different ways of reacting on this topic.

    First of all it’s obvious that Lotus wasn’t going to show the real E21 as it will be running at Melbourne.

    It never is.

    Given the fact that the presentation on their Youtube channel was only about 15 minutes says it all.

    It means that the E21 really isn’t the E21 and that it doesn’t need the full attention.

    My view on this is clearly about exposure of their brand and sponsors.

    Being the first to launch the ‘new car’ is to assure everyone sits up and pays attention.

    The second thing is that they want to compete for victories and who knows the world title.

    This is a message to their nearest rivals to tell them to certainly take them into account.

    As to the red colour on the car, well it is certainly a hit as everyone before me talked about it, it had reached it’s purpous didn’t it.

    You have noticed it and that’s exactly what it was meant to be.

    The black and gold are fabulous but if you want more brand exposure these days you need accents on the car that will get noticed by the entire world.

    Last year you could spot the car in the field during the races but with that extra touch of red it can be seen from miles away and everyone will know that those are the Lotus cars.

    Brand exposure and colour are everything in marketing and publicity and of course to the F1 teams. Marketing and publicity brings money and money makes the car go out on track and win races.

    This presentation was just about getting a message through to the media and the F1 world.

    You could also see it in the drivers eyes that they knew that it wasn’t the car they where going to drive.

    The abscense of enthousiasm and hapiness on their faces told a story of itself.

    If it really was the car that was going to challenge for race wins and who knows even the championship they wouldn’t be able to take their eyes of the car.

    This time they where looking straight at the cameras and interviewer without letting the car distract them. The tension and anxiety was missing.

    Exept for Kimi, he never shows his true emotions so that can be ignored but as to Grosjean it was the same attitude as was with Boullier and Lopez.

    Pay attention to the next launches and look at the body language of the drivers and team members and you can tell if it’s the actual car that will go out on track or if it’s all about publicity.

    Drivers tend to get a sparkle in their eyes when they unveil the car.

    Look at the pictures of the launch of the ‘E21′ and you can analyse it and see through the smoke curtain.

    To me it was a succesfull launch as they got maximum attention, exposure and publicity. Everyone is already talking and writing about Lotus.

    The dim light is of course to give the whole an extra dimension of brand exposure but also to give way to suggestions and speculation to what might or not might be on the car.

    Talking and speculating about it is also a form of brand exposure.

    The dim light alos works in favour of the red accents in contrast to the black and gold livery which makes the car look more agressive but a little mystirious at the same time.

    Jerez will certainly tell us more about where Lotus stands.

    I personnaly got used to the stepped nose and I rather would like to see battles for victory until the last lap than a beauty contest.

    Beauty is one thing but it doesn’t bring in results.

    I also would like to see more fan attention and opening up to them instead of becoming even more closed and secretive.

    I’m looking forward at seeing the McLaren Launch on thursday and analyse it as it will give me personnaly a better view at what will happen at Jerez.

    As you all know, presentations are never a clear indication of who is strong and who isn’t. A beautifull car can llok fast but isn’t in reality and the same goes for an ugly duck as was the the Ferrari of 2012. But it still ended second in the championship.

    Enough said, I all whish you a nice day.

    Kind Regards,

    David

    1. deancassady says:

      great comment david, very thoroughly considered (so it seems must be the case to me) and expressed, as is evident.
      beauty is the wheel-to-wheel dueling, some times across laps, Kimi often one of the combatants.
      That’s beauty.

      I’ve not given it too much thought, but having read, it seems often, that the F2012 was ugly, I find I definitely disagree; I thought the red car was very handsome, but never more than when it won the race.

  32. ashboy says:

    Wow, a lot of people are missing the point here. Pre season launch’s are not for showing of inovations, but to show of new sponsors and to sell new team gear. The added media coloums of a new looking car is advertising for all those company’s. You have to remember the car is a mobile advertising board and the faster it goes the more tv air time it will get. And that is the top and bottom of the “sport” for the teams. You dont think your Austrian fella that owns Red Bull cared about winning for the sport do you? He enterd F1 to sell cans of drink.

    1. deancassady says:

      and bottles of drinks, too.

  33. Spyros says:

    Thank you for the analysis James.

    One thing I’m interested in is the name of the car. Last year, ‘E20′ was selected to honour Enstone, a choice that the multitude of ‘brands’ based there hadn’t allowed for, before. This year, either by choice or… inertia, the principle continues.

    Are we to infer something from this, with regard to the commitment of the heads in Lotus to F1?

    Thanks again.

    1. Wanja says:

      Lotus Elise, Lotus Elan, Lotus Esprit, Lotus Evora, Lotus Europa, Lotus Excel, Lotus Eclat..
      - notice something?

      1. Spyros says:

        Good point, but that’s not what they said last year! Or am I missing something?

      2. deancassady says:

        Good one! I hadn’t.
        But what is their commercial relationship with the people (do they make them still?) selling those cars?

  34. Scott says:

    James – you haven’t shown the fantastic other image of Kimi’s steering wheel (it’s on the Daily Mail website). They’ve had some fun with Kimi’s wheel with some of the buttons labeled “nap time”, “ice cream”, “Jenson”, “sat nav” [he needed that in Brazil this year], “tweet”, and “smile”.

    1. Sri says:

      Yes it was hilarious. Any idea what “Jenson” is referring to?

      1. Ron says:

        Hello? It’s Jenson “Button” right. This made me really laugh.

      2. deancassady says:

        that must be the one that conserves fuel, de-tuning the car a bit, and maximizing conservation of the tires.

      3. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        His surname?

      4. Yak says:

        It’s a Jenson… button…

        … geddit? Jenson Button?

        Yeah it’s terrible, but I still laughed when I saw it.

      5. Sri says:

        I guessed it was Button. But why? They are not friends either. So what characteristic of Button is being referred to here?

      6. Random says:

        OK, I’ll officially place the first bet: Four hours until Sri gets it.

  35. Great read as always James, it appears that Lotus however have several specifications of the E21 to take testing with the one on display differing to some of the elements on the renders. Will be interesting to see the development of the E21 during testing, here’s my short article on the technical differences with the Physical/Rendered car: http://somersf1.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/lotus-e21-launch-car-analysis.html

    1. All revved-up says:

      another great article Matthew.

      I hope Lotus’ DRD will work well and propel the car to the front of the grid.

  36. Sufyaan Patel says:

    After some of the thrilling races last year, I dont recall any of the fans complaining about the stepped-nose ;)

    1. Quade says:

      There is a particular attraction in seeing F1 cars looking cool and deadly; sleek in brutally efficient, high tech ways.
      They shouldn’t look like angled afterthoughts and something “Finger Fred” would use as an oily getaway ride after robbing the bank at the corner.

      1. Sufyaan Patel says:

        Just out of curiousity, do you support a particular driver or team?

      2. Quade says:

        My team is McLaren, my driver is Lewis.
        Maybe some of my support will be going to Merc now because of Lewis.

  37. Val from montreal says:

    Great ! Lucky no 7 will be on Raikkonen’s car this year , it used to be MSC’s since 2010 … Hopefully it will bring more luck for Lotus and Raikkonen …..

    1. Brad says:

      Not according to goferet’s stats…“With Lotus having finished 4th on the table last season, just realized Kimi will have the number 7 car in 2013 and seeing as the #7 car has never won the driver’s title… Well, you know the rest.”

      Had to dig this up for you…

      Well, you can argue that there’s always a first hey

  38. If you get the chance check out the picture of the steering wheel on twitter – it’s pretty funny (e.g. a GPS button for Kimi in case he gets lost)

    1. Random says:

      Just checked it out, suits him perfectly.

      Let’s hope they get the power steering sorted for him from the get go!

  39. Elie says:

    Sorry guys above- the red is rubbish and has no place on a Black & Gold Lotus- ( perhaps around the wing tips for Burn and Total only). Side pods should be black & gold or grey/pearl white-for something different -(Im chanelling West Mclaren MP4 18 side pod)

    As for the car I don’t really mind the stepped nose- it somehow looks ok on the Lotus. What I don’t get is why designers can’t design a nose come that tapers down like the Mclaren did- ( diff design concept i know) ! None of the cars need a “vanit panel” In any case I think there will be wholesome changes to the nose , both wings and rear floor come Jerez time. No one gives up all their secrets so soon- it’s just sponsor & pr commitments for the launches !

  40. SuperSi says:

    Lotus,
    Your sexy and you know it!

  41. Chrisg says:

    Has anybody noticed that the pictures released by lotus are two different cars, look at the exhaust area and front wing pillars in these two pictures

    http://f1.imgci.com/PICTURES/CMS/17300/17325.jpg

    http://f1.imgci.com/PICTURES/CMS/17300/17327.jpg

    Notice any changes (all pictures http://en.espnf1.com/f1/motorsport/gallery/99397.html)

    The wing pillars are differnt again in

    http://en.espnf1.com/f1/motorsport/gallery/99397.html

    Any if you look at the side on pictures from this site

    http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/wp-content/uploads/Screen-Shot-2013-01-28-at-20.44.24.png

    its differnt to the one on espn (released by lotus) in the nose pillar and exhaust area

    http://f1.imgci.com/PICTURES/CMS/17300/17325.jpg

    So why do they bother with launches ….

  42. Andrew says:

    James – Any chance of Adrian Newey joining secondier teams in the likes of Lotus and Mercedes after 2013?

    1. James Allen says:

      Never say never, but I can’t see why

  43. joe gwodz says:

    what cars did jim clark (F1) race at watkins glen? what one at indy?

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