Lotus has become the first team to unveil their 2013 challenger, the E21.
The car will be raced by Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean, who continue with the team for a second successive season.
The E21 features a stepped nose and Red Bull inspired sidepods.
“Of course, I’ve not driven the E21 yet so it’s difficult to say what could or could not be possible for the year ahead,” said Kimi Raikkonen. “We know we had a good car last season, but everyone is working hard to make the best package. I will be working with the team to help get the car as strong as we can, then in Melbourne we’ll have our first taste of results. It’s a long season from there. 2012 was a good start; let’s see what we can do in 2013.”
“I can clearly say I want to score a lot of points for the team – everybody knows that – but I think it would be wrong for me to say I want to finish in a particular position in the championship,” added Grosjean. “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”.
F1 teams do have the option to fit a vanity panel to cover the stepped nose, but the current model of the E21 does not feature such a panel. Technical director James Allison confirmed this was due to a weight issue, with Lotus set to evaluate a panel.
“There’s a lot gone into it, and it’s going to be an exciting car. The rules for 2013 are very similar to those of 2012, so you can expect a lot of family resemblance. But as ever in F1, the devil is in the detail”, added Allison.
Team principal Eric Bouiller believes that the team can challenge for the top three in the championship.
“Our ambitious plan to turn ourselves into one of the top teams in Formula 1 is coming to fruition and now we need to harness this with strong and regular podium results,” he said.
Lotus has also tweaked the livery compared to the E20, with the black and gold being retained, but joined by a red scheme on the sidepods, airbox and rear wing endplates.
New Coca-Cola owned sponsor burn also features on the front wing.
Reigning GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi joins the team as third driver. Jerome d’Ambrosio keeps his role as reserve driver.
LOTUS E21 LAUNCH: