The storied racing team had a rough out last year, with the departure of driver Kimi Raikkonen, the loss of engineer and manager Eric Boullier, a lack of top finishes, and labored performances being the lowlights.
The E22 rig of 2014 equipped a 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 sourced from Renault. The vehicle was known for its twin-tusk aerodynamic setup, which drew criticisms and mockery alike throughout the racing schedule.
In a bid to return to the successes of 2012 and 2013, the team announced the switch to Mercedes engines last July. Now, Lotus F1 has debuted the vehicle that will house the German powertrain, the E23 Hybrid.
“The E23 Hybrid represents a new era for Lotus F1 Team,” said the outfit’s CEO Matthew Carter. “Not only in the change to a Mercedes Benz Power Unit, but also it is the fruition of a busy winter behind the scenes. Improvements within our Design, Aero and Simulation departments have all contributed to the development of a car which is a huge step forward.”
Specs of the engine haven’t been released, but Carter believes it’ll be capable enough to turn things around.
“It is time to put the disappointment of last season behind us and benefit from 12 months of hard work; we are ready to return to our rightful place at the pinnacle of the sport.”
The car employs a sleek, conventional design, with a completely reworked suspension layout. The British team’s front-rear inter-connected setup was banned mid-season last year, which set the boffins back to square one. Nothing hard like a hard reboot in the middle of competition to throw a wrench into things.
“It’s no secret that we struggled with last year’s car so we’ve targeted every area that caused us an issue,” explained Nick Chester, Technical Director of the Lotus F1 Team. “We’ve made strong progress in the wind tunnel as well as in areas such as packaging and cooling.”
Chester said that although the E22 delivered good figures in the wind tunnel, “it was difficult to unlock its potential.” To address this, his engineers focused their attention on making the car more adaptable for quick adjustments.
The 2015 Formula One season ignites its starting lights on March 15th with the Australian Grand Prix.