Team Lotus (the one who raced last year) have become the second team to officially pull the covers off their new 2011 car.
The green and yellow liveried machine will start be raced by Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen this season under the name of Team Lotus as the management’s row with Group Lotus, now affiliated with Renault, continues.
The new car retains the 50’s yellow and green livery that fans came to know and love last season. New sponsors stand side by side with old ones, on the now Renault powered machine.
On the technical side, Mike Gascoyne has said that the T128 is far more exciting, intricate and advanced than last seasons T128. There is much more thought and special design in the front wing roll hoop and on the side pods especially. The rool hoop/air box design is very similar to the blade design used by Mercedes in 2010, although this had been outlawed by the FIA – Lotus have found a way around the regulations.
“I think that basically this car looks like a frontrunning car in every area,” Mike Gascoyne said. “We said very clearly that we want to start challenging the established teams and I think that’s very achievable.”
“With last year’s car and especially the first half of the season it was just an exercise in survival, whereas from the middle of last year it was about building the team up – that’s when we started working on this car
“I think the thing that was a challenge this year was that the 2010 car really was a one-off, because of the way it was done with the design team and the time we had.
“There’s been almost no carry-over of parts for the 2011 car, whereas normally you’d have a substantial carry-over and the chance to optimise last year’s parts.”
Elliot Dason-Barber, head of R&D added: “The area that intrigues me the most is the front suspension, and the rear as well actually. We’ve tried to push the boundaries with a few things to make it a bit lighter and more efficient.”
The team’s aim this season then looks to be fighting at the front.
Veteran Jarno Trulli, who endured a torrid 2010 campaign with the team said this morning: “Sitting on the grid in Bahrain this year will feel very different – a different tension,”
“Last year we were just aiming to finish the race. This year we’ll be aiming to finish in the points. With the package we have, that should be achievable.”
Lotus, the car company have unveiled their plans to team up with the former Renault Formula One team for 2011, under the name of Lotus Renault GP.
Group Lotus had already expressed a desire to return to Formula One, and following the Renault car company selling its stake in the F1 team back to Genii Capital, it allowed Genii to sell it on to Lotus.
Now at this point, you are probably very confused as Lotus are already in F1. Well, sort of. The Lotus team we have seen racing this season have been running under a name that they bought, they are not in any way affiliated with the Lotus Group who run the car company. This has led Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus to begin court proceedings on Tony Fernandes who runs Team Lotus. Fernandes, the boss of Air Asia maintains that he will run his team in 2011 as Team Lotus, who will also be supplied with Renault engines. And just to make it more confusing, both teams are planning to run with classic black and gold John Player liveries. Excellent.
We aren’t going to get involved with who we think is right in this situation here on TheF1Fanatics Blog but we hope they sort it out as it is going to be mightly confusing next season for fans, commentators and drivers alike.
Dany Bahar told Autosport: “I can think of no better platform for automotive brand communications than motorsport and F1 is the very pinnacle of open-wheel racing.
“We’re well aware that there has been a lot of controversy around the usage of our brand in F1 and I’m delighted to be able to formally clarify our position once and for all: we are Lotus and we are back.”
Meanwhile, Gerard Lopez, chairman of Renault F1 Team and head of Genii Capital added: “We are delighted that we can now go public with the news that we will be racing as Lotus Renault GP in 2011.
“It is extremely exciting to begin a new era for the team in partnership with Group Lotus, and we will continue to enjoy a strong relationship with Renault over the coming seasons. It is a tribute to the excellent work this year by the team in Enstone that we have been able to attract both major sponsorship and new investment for a very bright future.”
Group Lotus have the rights to use their name with the Renault team until 2017.
Autosport have provided this mock-up of what the 2011 Lotus Renault GP car could look like.
Red Bull Racing and Lotus will both use Renault engines for the 2011 F1 season, it was confirmed today at Interlagos.
Red Bull are already supplied with the French manufacturers units, however there had been speculation that the team would abandon their deal and use Mercedes Benz power for 2011.
The deal signed today means they will continue the partnership that started in 2007. Previously the Austrian energy drink backed team had used Cosworth and Ferrari power units. The team will also increase the presence of Renault branding on the cars, with Renault badges being place on the nosecone of each Red Bull and text to be places on the visors of each driver.
“We’re pleased to announce this extension,” said team boss Christian Horner. “We have always enjoyed a very straightforward relationship with Renault and they have supported us extremely fairly during the past four seasons, contributing to our thirteen grand prix victories so far.
“The relationship continues to evolve and we look forward to working with them during our 2011 Formula One World Championship campaign.”
Lotus had already announced that they would be dropping their Cosworth power supply for 2011. The new team had also signed a deal to use Red Bull transmission in 2011 so this move to Renault power is a sensible one.
“I am absolutely delighted that we can now officially talk about the partnership with Renault,” said Lotus boss Tony Fernandes.
“There has obviously been a great deal of speculation about which engine will be powering our cars from 2011 and now the announcement has been made I think everyone can see just how ambitious we really are.
“The combination of the Renault engine and the Red Bull Technology gearbox and hydraulics gives our design and aero teams a successful, tried and tested platform to work with for next year’s car.”
Renault will be supplying the same amount of teams with engines that Ferrari and Mercedes Benz shall do next season. Cosworth are the other major engine supplier in the sport.