James Allison has thanked his boss, Lotus team principal Eric Boullier, for pushing him to be creative with this year’s E20 car. The former Renault team had a troubled 2011 season, with the innovative front-exiting exhausts ultimately scrapped when the field raced ahead with the more obvious Red Bull-style exhaust solution.
Boullier may, therefore, have been sensible to request a more conventional approach to 2012. But the new E20 is once again an adventurous design, and in pre-season testing it was quicker than any rival at both the Barcelona and Jerez circuits.
“I can only thank my boss,” technical director Allison told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport. “He had every reason to demand from us a conservative car, but instead they encouraged us to continue to be innovative. You can get it right that way but there’s also a lot of risk.”
One major hiccup so far was the chassis suspension flaw, which cost Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean the entire middle Barcelona test. Otherwise, the E20 is tipped to be a positive surprise of 2012.
“Its manufacturing is worlds better than the (2011) R31,” said Allison. “There are fewer seams, gaps, edges.”
The German magazine report said the secret is under the skin, after Lotus took a meticulous approach to aerodynamics for 2012.
“Anything that increases air resistance was eliminated systematically,” he explained.