Re-merging with the team name famous for its innovative racing cars, Lotus made its track return this week in its first shakedown.
As a late entrant to the 2010 season, Lotus had a huge job to get the car designed, developed and built. under the expert eye of Mike Gascoyne who set up the design office in Cologne, a factory in Norfolk and using the Fondmetal windtunnel.
Having been happy to show its wind tunnel model and the chassis being moulded, the actual appearance of the new Lotus came as no surprise. The last wind tunnel video exposed the new brawn-esque front wing and short high nose. Behind these the chassis had a modestly raised front section, with a mid placed steering rack and small bulged accommodating the suspension rockers.
The aero around the waist is fairly contemporary, but simple bargeboard, pod wing and wing mirrors. Unusually for current F1 the roll structure is not undercut and supported by separate pylons, as well as the tail of the engine cover only having a low fin.
We know from the development pictures, the chassis sports a tapered fuel tank area, the chassis being wider at the top than th at the base. This shape follows through with the sidepod shape which follows neither RedBull falred shape nore Ferraris bulbous shape. although quite boxy in appearance, the continuation of the sidepods undercut leading face, towards the rear should be good for airflow the top of the diffuser.
Little is know about the diffuser at this stage, the team are lacking downforce compared to their rivals, but a major update is planned in typical Gascoyne style to recoup the deficit.