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Lotus pulls the sheet off the E21

LOTUS last night was the first Formula One team to unveil their new machine for the season ahead.

Looking rather similar to last year’s Abu Dhabi-winning car, which helped Kimi Raikkonen to third in the Drivers’ Championship, the Lotus E21 has been transformed detail-by-detail to ‘provide a significant amount of performance’, according to Lotus technical director James Allison.

Lotus will add more technical upgrades in the next few weeks before heading to Australia.
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While there are no major visible innovations at present, with two months left to go before the season kicks off, the car is likely to look very different on the starting grid in Melbourne on March 17.

"The rules for 2013 are very, very similar to those for 2012," Allison said. "So you can expect a lot of family resemblance from the 2012 car, but as ever in F1 the devil is in the detail.

"There are some neat new ideas and some pushing of the same sort of concepts we have been working on for the last few years."

Teams will this season be allowed to use so-called ‘vanity panels’ to disguise the ugly steps on top of the noses that drew criticism last year – but Lotus have decided to steer clear of using the controversial panel.

Kimi Raikkonen shocked critics on his return season by finishing third in the championship.

Finishing fourth last year, Lotus has far bigger ambitions for the 2013 Formula One World Championship.

“We want to do better than we did last year,” explained Lotus F1 Team boss Eric Boullier. “2012 was a good season for us – certainly in the context of the previous season. Like every team in this highly competitive sport, we want to win.

“Our ambitious plan to turn ourselves into one of the top teams in Formula 1 is coming to fruition and now we need to harness this with strong and regular podium results.”

The team also took the bold decision to keep Frenchman Romain Grosjean, who made many clumsy errors last season – despite claiming several podiums. “Romain has superb raw speed which we are confident will be harnessed in a more effective manner during races in 2013,” Boullier said.

A beautiful car, Boullier explained: “We have a highly accomplished technical and design team who last year produced a fantastic car. We have a superb driver line-up with the 2007 champion, Kimi, and a hungry young gun in Romain. We have further strength in our partners and we are certainly primed and ready for action.

“It was clear how much we benefitted from having two very talented drivers in 2012 and I can only see this getting even better in 2013.”


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