Lotus has sidelined its ‘double DRS’ system for now.
While Red Bull quickly got its similar concept up and running to great effect with wins in Singapore and Japan, Lotus has been trying for several grands prix to fine-tune its version. The Enstone based team intended to finally debut it at Suzuka, but engineers failed to get it working properly in free practice.
“It hasn’t been easy,” technical director James Allison is quoted by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport. “It’s been harder than expected to get it to switch correctly with the limited testing time.
“We will put it aside for now, have a think about it and bring it out again in the young drivers test in Abu Dhabi,” he added.
In the meantime, Lotus is ready to test a Mercedes-style ‘Coanda’ exhaust layout this weekend in Korea, the German magazine reported.
Allison confirmed: “Since the launch of the E20 we have always been working on a Coanda exhaust in the wind tunnel.
“As we have seen that the benefits are greater than our current system, it was clear that we needed to implement it.”
Lotus will not race its highly-anticipated double DRS-inspired ‘device’ at least until Suzuka next month.
The Enstone based team intended to use the straightline speed-boosting system at Spa, but Friday’s practice sessions were a washout.
And Lotus will also not fit the device to Kimi Raikkonen and Jerome d’Ambrosio’s cars at Monza, due to the unique low-downforce configuration of the historic track.
“In Singapore you won’t see it either,” said technical director James Allison, “because it’s too high a downforce circuit with insufficient straights for it to be worthwhile.
“The earliest you might see it now is Suzuka,” he added.
Lotus’ double DRS-inspired “device” will remain on the back-burner for yet another grand prix.
The Enstone based team wanted to qualify and race the device at Spa last weekend, but Lotus changed course due to Friday’s practice washout. And according to French sources sport24.com and autohebdo.fr, team boss Eric Boullier has also ruled out fitting the straightline speed-boosting concept to the E20 cars for Sunday’s Italian grand prix.
Sport24.com said the decision was made because of the “characteristics” of the Monza track, which is the highest speed circuit on the calendar requiring an unique low-downforce setup.
Auto Hebdo said Lotus is now expected to try to race the ‘device’ for the first time in Singapore later this month. Without the device, Kimi Raikkonen finished third at Spa-Francorchamps.
“We couldn’t use it because Friday was such bad weather,” said the Finn, “but it’s better to be third than not to finish.”
McLaren may also be preparing a ‘double DRS’-like system for this weekend’s Belgian grand prix.
We reported early this month that the British team looked set to follow Mercedes and Lotus’ lead in developing an iteration of the straightline speed-boosting concept.
“It’s not like the Lotus one, but we are studying such a system,” McLaren’s sporting director Sam Michael was quoted as saying.
Mercedes debuted the concept early this season, and after practicing with a similar system at recent races, Lotus’ technical boss James Allison revealed this week that the black and gold E20 could race its “device” for the first time at Spa. And Brazilian correspondent Livio Oricchio now reports that, while the news is much quieter than Lotus’, McLaren has similar plans to run a double-DRS at the high speed Belgian track. The O Estado de S.Paulo journalist said it is not clear how McLaren’s system differs to those fielded by Mercedes and Lotus.
After a recent performance dip, Lewis Hamilton entered the August break as F1’s last-start winner, having secured his second victory of the 2012 season in Hungary.
“I think it’s still difficult to predict accurately who’ll win the next grand prix, but I reckon the coming few weeks ought to give us a much clearer idea of the destination of the world title,” the McLaren driver said last Friday. “There’s no team with a clear advantage, although we’re all pushing hard to catch Fernando (Alonso) in the drivers’ championship, so there’s still everything to play for,” he added.
Technical boss James Allison has confirmed speculation Lotus intends to debut its so-called ‘double DRS’ system in Belgium next month.
On British broadcaster Sky’s ‘F1 Show’, television pundit Ted Kravitz explained that – unlike Mercedes’ pioneering device – the Lotus version is in fact not attached to the rear wing DRS. He said Lotus actually calls it the “F-duct”.
“(In a race) you can only use DRS at one point on the circuit, where they’ll have this straightline speed boost at pretty much any point over 150mph,” said Kravitz.
That will be a big advantage on the long straights and sweeping curves at fabled Spa-Francorchamps.
“And they (Lotus) say it’s about 4 or 5 kilometres per hour (benefit) — that’s a huge advantage,” said former Toyota driver and pundit Allan McNish.
Lotus has tested it on Kimi Raikkonen’s black and gold E20 during Friday practice at the most recent Hockenheim and Hungary events. And amid suggestions the entire concept will be banned by the FIA for 2013, technical boss James Allison believes it is still worth the investment and effort now.
“(Even) If it goes away next year it’s still something we think is worthwhile putting our effort into,” he said. “We hope to have it ready to deploy at Spa,” Allison added, insisting it will require a lot of effort to have both cars ready to race the system in Belgium. It’s a reasonable amount of time on the calendar but in working terms not very long at all because of the shutdown.”
McLaren looks set to be the next team with a ‘double DRS’-like system aboard its 2012 car.
After Mercedes and then Lotus pioneered the straightline speed-boosting concept this season, it emerged that the FIA intends to ban it for 2013 and beyond. But according to sporting director Sam Michael, work is well underway on a McLaren version.
“It’s not like the Lotus one, but we are studying such a system,” the Australian is quoted by the Italian website f1passion.it.
Michael said he is not sure when the ‘double DRS’ or ‘super DRS’ will make its debut on the MP4-27.
“We must be careful that it does not take time away from our other updates,” he added.
The technical concept known in the paddock this year as ‘double DRS’ looks set to be banned for 2013.
Mercedes debuted the controversial straightline speed-boosting concept earlier this year, moving Lotus to lodge an official protest. But instead of taking the FIA’s decision to allow Mercedes to keep the system to the international court of appeal, Lotus emerged with a new interpretation of ‘double DRS’ during practice at Hockenheim recently.
The team practiced with the system on Kimi Raikkonen’s car again at the Hungaroring, technical boss James Allison saying the tests helped “bring it a step closer to deployment in a race sometime in the future”.
Speculation suggests Lotus will indeed debut it at the forthcoming Belgian grand prix, with Spa-Francorchamps undoubtedly Raikkonen’s favourite track, and the system said to provide a good advantage on the long straights.
“Spa has always agreed with Kimi,” former Finnish driver Mika Salo told the broadcaster MTV3, “and if the updates improve what is already the best car, he will be looking very good if he is able to start from the first two rows.”
Media headlines at Marca (Spain), Turun Sanomat (Finland), Globo Esporte (Brazil) and elsewhere, however, say the entire ‘double DRS’ concept looks set to be banned for 2013.
Red Bull could be the next team with a ‘double DRS’ on board, the Spanish sports newspaper AS reports.
After it emerged the car driven by Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen was fitted with a Mercedes-like top speed boosting system on Friday, the team confirmed that it “worked as expected”.
“We’ve seen encouraging signs from our latest prototype concept and although we won’t race it here, it’s likely to make another appearance during practice in Budapest,” trackside boss Alan Permane said.
AS correspondent Manuel Franco at Hockenheim reported paddock rumours that Red Bull Racing, who share an engine partner with Lotus, could be the next team with a version of the so-called double-DRS.
Lotus is testing a Mercedes-style ‘double DRS’ concept this weekend at Hockenheim.
Britain’s BBC, and Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, revealed on Friday that the system is currently featured only on Kimi Raikkonen’s car.
It is believed the concept is different to Mercedes’, with air ducts running on either side of the engine intake, funnelling from front to rear. It is not clear whether the activation is linked to ‘DRS’, or whether the system simply triggers at a certain speed, but it is believed the latter is the case.
“We won’t call it a Mercedes-style double-DRS because it’s not that,” said British broadcaster Sky’s pitlane expert Ted Kravitz.