Lotus has become the latest team to unveil its 2015 challenger.
Images of the E23 Hybrid were released on the team’s website and shared via social media. After a disappointing 2014 campaign – where Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado picked up just ten points between them – the team dropped to eighth in the constructors championship having finished fourth in 2013 with over 300 points. Lotus have swapped engine suppliers this year, leaving Renault as they join forces with Mercedes in the hopes it will move them back up the grid.
“The E23 Hybrid represents a new era for Lotus F1 Team,” CEO Matthew Carter explained. “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. As a team we are confident that the new car coupled with additions to the Race team will be a huge leap forward.”
While 2014 was a season of struggle, Lotus have used this to help them ensure they are improving the areas that need it most moving forward. “The E23 Hybrid represents a massive step forward for us,” Lotus’ Technical Director Nick Chester revealed. “We’ve made strong progress in the wind tunnel as well as in areas such as packaging and cooling. We expect the E23 to perform far, far better than its predecessor. In terms of what’s new, obviously a massive change for us is a new Power Unit supplier. We made this change as it looked and looks to be the one area of the car which could bring us the greatest performance gain. It’s not just performance, but reliability and driveability as well as packaging and cooling too.”
“The E22 did deliver good figures in the wind tunnel, even if it was difficult to unlock its potential,” Chester continued. “We’ve paid more attention to making the characteristics of the car more adaptable. In terms of the suspension, we were delivered something of a blow last year when the front-rear interconnected suspension was outlawed mid-season. The E23’s suspension design is specific to the updated regulations so we’re not trying to update a system originally intended to work a different way. We learnt a lot in many areas of the car over the course of 2014 so there are many lessons which have been applied. We know we’ve made a big step. We won’t know how our car will fare in relative terms until we’re out in action at a Grand Prix, but we certainly expect to be much more competitive than last year.”
Lotus have added GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer to their line-up, welcoming him as third driver as they look to have a much better season than last year. “We are full of optimism going into the new season,” Carter concluded. “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.”