Lotus became the first Formula One team to unveil their 2013 charger this evening.
The E21 was launched “live” via YouTube in a manner similar to the launch of its predecessor one year ago.
Designed by Martin Tolliday, the Renault-powered machine has maintained much of what made the E20 a gem in 2012, although much of that has to be with the relatively unchanged rules package.
Team Principal Éric Boullier and Technical Director James Allison remain to oversee this year’s Lotus effort, as the Enstone squad attempt to better their 4th place in the Constructors’ Championship.
Boullier for one is positive for the season ahead: “I think it is fair to say that great things are possible from the team and the E21. The leap we made from 2011 to 2012 showed what we are capable of. Add to this the continuity and potential of our driver line-up and we have a very powerful cocktail for the season ahead. Our ambitious plan to turn ourselves into one of the top teams in Formula One is coming to fruition and now we need to harness this with strong and regular podium results.”
Allison added: “The E20 proved itself to be an effective racing car – particularly towards the end of last season – so there is an element of expectation from the E21 and plenty to build upon. We have continued with our design themes and tried to create a more efficient and faster racing car based on all the lessons we learnt last year. How successful we have been in this task will only be discovered when we take to the track at the winter tests and – more significantly – at Grands Prix.”
Notably, the E21 will continue to work with the passive double-DRS and has also quite a revised suspension mechanism. The car will continue with the infamous step-nose, with the team choosing not to place the vanity panel on the nose due to the extra weight incurred.
Meanwhile, with one win to his name in 2012, Kimi Raikkonen will also be aiming for better things – while the stoic Finn displayed plenty of speed in his comeback year, the 2007 World Champion was also prone to moments of hesitation in wheel-to-wheel battles.
“It’s clear from working with them that they are racers, and you can see in their history that they’ve won championships. 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.”
Romain Grosjean will also be determined to move up the order following a return season peppered with incidents and accidents (not all his fault), as well as a race ban.
“I think everyone is waiting to see if I’m able to be consistent, which is where I was lacking a little bit last year. I know it and I’ll do everything I can to prove to people that I’m able to achieve this goal. I really want to jump out of the car as many times as possible thinking that I did a good job. Knowing that everything I could do, I did, and feeling proud of my race or session. I hope to feel that way as many times as possible this year.”
Reigning GP2 Series champion Davide Valsecchi has been taken on as the team’s third driver, although no one really knows what that actually means.
“I’m really happy that the team want me to be with them and I’m excited about the future. I hope that this is a really good start to a career in F1. My last year in GP2 in 2012 was something I really focused on and in the end I succeeded. Now, in Formula 1, my target will be a little different but my focus to do the very best job is still the same.
“I very much hope, step by step, to get into Formula 1 as a race driver and being here as third driver is as near as you can get. It’s a great opportunity here; if I do the best job I can this year then it will open up my chances for the future and we’ll see if I’m good enough.”
Jerome d’Ambrosio continues as the team’s reserve driver, while Nicolas Prost remains as Lotus’ development driver.
Chairman: Gerard Lopez
Chief Executive Officer: Patrick Louis
Team Principal: Eric Boullier
Chief Operating Officer: Thomas Mayer
Technical Director: James Allison
Trackside Operations Director: Alan Permane
Chief Designer: Martin Tolliday
Head of Aerodynamics: Dirk De Beer
Team Manager: Paul Seaby
Chief Commercial Officer: Stephen Curnow
Head of Team Marketing and Communications: Stephane Samson
Head of Event Marketing: Frederic Garcia
Business Development Director: Federico Gastaldi