Lotus’ technical boss thinks many teams will continue to use ‘step’ noses in 2013.
The first 2013 car to be unveiled on Monday, Enstone based Lotus’ E21 still features the indecorous ‘step’ synonymous with last year’s grid, despite the FIA now allowing teams to please the fans by installing a so-called ‘modesty’ laminate.
It is believed that Williams and Ferrari will indeed race cars with smooth noses in 2013.
But Lotus’ James Allison thinks the majority of the field will continue to feature questionable aesthetics.
“I would not be surprised if the majority of the grid chose not to make use of it (the modesty panel),” said the technical director.
“The panel will add a few grams of weight and so is only likely to run on the car if a team can find a performance benefit for doing so,” added Allison.
The new Lotus E21, revealed during a Youtube launch on Monday evening, does however feature the Twitter hashtag #imsexyandiknowit on its livery. Allison admitted the car is a combination of redesigned parts and evolution.
Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean will race, while the new GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi has signed up as ‘third driver’.
Italian Valsecchi, 26, said: “I hope this is the beginning of a career in F1.”
Belgian Jerome d’Ambrosio, however, retains his role as ‘reserve driver’, while Frenchman Nicolas Prost – the son of the famous four-time world champion Alain – “will perform development driver duties”, Lotus announced.
Lotus’ James Allison is staying put.
That is the claim of an insider at the Enstone based team, despite admitting that Mercedes’ Niki Lauda came calling for the highly rated British technical director.
Last week, as the Paddy Lowe saga unfolded, we reported that Allison had been earmarked by McLaren as a possible replacement, in case Lowe jumped ship.
Actually, the Lotus insider confirmed that it had been Mercedes’ Lauda on the phone.
“Lauda calls Allison every day,” the source is quoted by Speed Week, “but James’ contract is bullet-proof.”
Moreover, “He also doesn’t want to leave,” the Lotus insider added.
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.”