The ambitious Lotus F1 team has announced that it will use gearboxes and hydraulics from Red Bull Technology next season – which it will marry with a Renault engine. The engine deal is likely to be announced shortly.
Effectively it will have a back end similar to the one which is competing for the championship this year and this will provide not only better performance but also better reliability. This year, in common with all the new teams, Lotus has been using Xtrac gearboxes and hydraulics and the hydraulics in particular have proven unreliable.
It is interesting that Lotus has done the deal with Red Bull, there was consideration given to doing the whole back end deal with Renault, but that has not happened.
Lotus technical boss Mike Gascoyne, who last week signed on for another five years with the team, says that this is the right move, not least from the point of the 2011 rules which ban double diffusers, changing the space available to work with the gearbox,
“The gearbox / hydraulics package obviously plays a critical role in the performance of the car, not just on track but in design and packaging terms, and this deal gives our design and aero teams a very exciting platform to work with,” he said in a statement today.
“The removal of the double diffusers in 2011 will allow the whole grid to tighten up the rear bodywork and mechanical structures around the gearbox, and this supply deal will allow us to capitalise on that with our 2011 car. Exciting times lie ahead.”
For Red Bull Technology, a separate entity from the Red Bull Racing team, established to help the drinks company get around the rules regarding customer chassis, this is the first supplier deal of its kind and reflects the class leading technology they are producing.
Although the technology is coming together, the name and brand is still up in the air as the row with Group Lotus continues. There has been some intervention from the Malaysian government, getting both sides to stop issuing statements and put a lid on it, while they work through a process. The Lotus F1 team has indicated its willingness to go to the High Court in London to sort out who is entitled to call itself what. We wait to see whether it will actually come to that.