Lotus F1 Team unveils E20 and sets championship targets

Lotus F1 Team has unveiled its 2012 FIA Formula 1 World Championship challenger, the E20

Continuing with the evocative black and gold livery, the E20 heralds a new nomenclature to commemorate the twentieth chassis designed at the team’s Enstone base through its Benetton, Renault F1 Team and Lotus Renault GP history.

E20 – new name, new concept

The E20 incorporates ground–up redesigns and optimization of previous Enstone design philosophies. Most notably, the forward facing exhausts of 2011’s R31 have been abandoned, both through regulation and necessity.

The E20 also features a ‘step’ on its nose, this layout also being the result of a regulation change. The front and rear suspension layouts have been substantially revised in the quest for ever- better aerodynamic efficiency whilst the front wing is a continuation of concepts used by the team during recent seasons. The E20 has been designed utilizing the team’s new 60% scale wind tunnel as well as its enhanced CFD facility, with both resources located on site at Enstone.

Clear Progress Rexona and CLEAR, two of the world’s biggest personal care brands, are the latest partners to join the Lotus F1 Team. The brands, part of the Unilever portfolio, represent a perfect fit with the high levels of competition and performance associated with Formula 1 as a sport and more specifically with the Lotus F1 Team.

A proud history

This season will see the 500th Grand Prix contested by Lotus F1 Team, including those contested through its previous incarnations of Toleman, Benetton, Renault F1 Team and Lotus Renault GP. Toleman Motorsport entered Formula 1 in 1981 and started 57 Grands Prix, until in 1986 the team was renamed as Benetton. In this guise 260 races were contested, until in 2002 the team became Renault F1 Team.

As Renault F1 Team, 159 Grands Prix were started, with the team becoming Lotus Renault GP for 2011, contesting a further 19 events. The current total of Grands Prix stands at 495. Driving forwards Kimi Räikkönen, Romain Grosjean and Jérôme D’Ambrosio comprise a strong driver line-up which includes a world champion in Kimi, and two success-hungry hungry young guns in Romain and Jérôme. Kimi returns to Formula 1 eager to put the talents which have won him 18 Grands Prix and a World Championship to good effect in black and gold. 

Kimi Räikkönen, Lotus F1 Team Race Driver, Car No. 9

“Formula 1 is where you want to race” The 2007 Formula 1 World Champion talks of his return to the sport with the Lotus F1 Team after two years away in the stages of the World Rally Championship. Why F1? Formula 1 is something very special in my racing career, and you always want to race at the toughest level, so Formula 1 is where you want to race if you have a choice. How quickly did the deal come about with Lotus F1 Team?

Everything came together quite quickly. We shared a common goal and everyone was happy. This was the only way to do it and everything went pretty well from there. What do you think of the team now you’ve completed two days testing? I’m happy with the team. They are very nice people, very easy going and it was nice to work with them for the two days I did in the R30. I think we’ll have a lot of fun in the season ahead and hopefully we will get some good results. I want a strong enough car to challenge for good results.

When did you decide to finish rallying and to go back to Formula 1? I want to do racing as I had a really good time in NASCAR racing against other people and I realised that I was missing this – that’s when I decided that if there was a good chance to return properly that I would do it. I still want to do rallying and if I could I’d do them both at the same time – but this isn’t possible. For sure I will do rallying again in the future.

What are your thoughts on how Formula 1 has changed since you last competed?

In 2010 I didn’t really follow Formula 1 but I saw more races last year. It doesn’t really look different, but there is overtaking in some different places where people can just drive past by opening the rear wing and the driver in front has no chance to defend himself – so is this really overtaking? I don’t think it counts all the time, but for sure the show is better. The tyres make a difference too, as there is a big speed difference between when the tyres are new and when the tyres are old. In the old Formula 1, you had to be so much faster than the guy in front of you to have any chance to overtake, but now with the tyres and the DRS, it’s different.

Do you have anything to prove with your return? I think people expect things from me, but as long as I know that I’m giving 100% and I’m happy with my driving then I’m happy. If those aspects are true and it’s not enough, then it’s not enough.

How’s your motivation?

There’s always talk about my motivation, written by people who don’t know me and couldn’t have an idea of how strong my motivation is. If I didn’t feel I had the motivation, I would stop. My feeling is that I probably drove some of my best races in my last season in Formula 1 and I was very happy with my performance. I’ve never had any issues with motivation.

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