The Lotus F1 team will be the first of the Formula 1 teams to showcase its 2013 Grand Prix challenger, announcing that the E21 will have its covers taken off on Monday, January 28.
It will be the first team to do so unless Marussia – the only team left to confirm a date to launch its 2013 car – opts to announce an earlier launch date.
The launch ceremony will be streamed live via the team’s YouTube page from the team’s Enstone factory, just over a week before the first of three pre-season test sessions kick off in Spain.
The event will also give fans a chance to see the car with a potentially changed colour scheme to reflect its new sponsorship signing from Burn, the Coca-Cola group’s energy drink arm.
The 2013 launch dates are now as follows:
|28 JAN||Lotus F1 Team||E21|
|31 JAN||McLaren Mercedes||MP4-28|
|01 FEB||Scuderia Ferrari||F2013|
|01 FEB||Sahara Force India||VJM06|
|02 FEB||Sauber F1 Team||C32|
|03 FEB||Red Bull Racing||RB9|
|04 FEB||Mercedes AMG F1 Team||W04|
|04 FEB||Scuderia Toro Rosso||STR8|
|05 FEB||Caterham F1 Team||CT03|
|19 FEB||Williams F1 Team||FW35|
|TBA||Marussia F1 Team||MR02|
The Enstone team will no doubt be hoping that the E21 builds on the late-season successes enjoyed by its predecessor last year, which saw Kimi Räikkönen claim the team’s first win (in its current Lotus guise) at Abu Dhabi.
The E20 reflected a ‘keep it simple’ design philosophy – undoubtedly off the back of the 2011 forward-exhaust-facing challenger proving too complex for the team to handle – which proved to be a consistent challenger in both qualifying and race trim.
Both Räikkönen and team-mate Romain Grosjean were in the mix for podium finishes at Bahrain, Spain, Valencia and Hungary (sometimes even the win), and the E21 suffered just a single mechanically-induced retirement all year, a statistic perhaps helped by Grosjean’s ability to connect with his rivals or the scenery at several Grands Prix.
Nonetheless, the team did suffer from an inability to really seize the moment – despite Räikkönen’s welcome win at Abu Dhabi – and a sequence of odd tactical calls and a fruitless pursuit of the double-DRS concept cost it momentum in the latter half of the season.
Make sure you keep visiting RichardsF1.com during the 2013 launch season – we’ll be bringing you the best analysis and photos from each event as it happens!