Motorsport

Lotus Is Still Looking Back at a Wasted 2011

With the New E20 and Kimi Raikkonen in the cockpit for Lotus, performances and results must improve.

Last year was a lost one for the Lotus-Renault F1 team. It started badly when team leader Robert Kubica was badly injured in a rally accident and the team went downhill all season long. The car was quite good, as Vitaly Petrov finished on the podium in the first race. Nick Heidfeld found himself on the same spot at the second race, however that was the last success of the season.

The team finished 5th in the Constructor's World Championship, 577 points behind the world champion Red Bull team. So, maybe that luck will change with a new car, a new team leader and a new car coding method. The Lotus E20 (E for Enstone, the British village where the team is based) replaced the old RS acronym (which stood for Renault Sport) and hopefully Kimi Raikkonen, the new team leader, will be able to deliver good results straight out of the blocks (though everybody says he needs a few months to acclimatize).

Team owner Gerard Lopez set the team a target of 4th place in the championship, though team boss Eric Boullier is still hesitant about even achieving that modest improvement. "The real objective this year is to have a positive upward spiral", said Boullier, "and to make sure that the team is getting better and improves throughout the year building up the ambition we have to be a top team. This means that we want to get back to where we were at the beginning of 2011, getting better and better every year and establishing it as one of the top teams in the short term."

The E20 chassis is made out of a molded carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb composite monocoque, manufactured by the Lotus F1 Team, and designed for maximum strength with minimum weight. The V8 engine (RS27) is installed as a fully-stressed member. A seven-speed semi-automatic titanium gearbox with reverse gear and a Quickshift system comprise the transmission system. A removable driver's seat made of anatomically formed carbon composite is found in the cockpit, with either a six-point or eight-point harness seat belt.

The steering wheel integrates gear change, clutch paddles and rear wing adjuster. With all those goodies, and more, Raikkonen must deliver the results.

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