Lotus has become the first of the Formula 1 teams to take the covers off its 2013 Grand Prix challenger. The Enstone squad unveiled its E21 design, which will be piloted by Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean.
The team also confirmed that GP2 Series champion Davide Valsecchi will act as the team’s reserve driver alongside Jérôme d’Ambrosio, while Nicolas Prost will take on a development driver role.
Launched via the team’s YouTube channel, the E21 retains the unsightly ‘stepped nose’ design but features a number of obvious visible changes from its predecessor, which claimed the team’s first win (in its current guise) at the hands of Räikkönen at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Some of the changes include a more tightly-packaged rear bodywork layout, and sidepods similar to those sported on last year’s championship-winning Red Bull RB8.
“I can assure you that we’ve done a lot, the whole team has been putting their heart and soul into this thing for quite some time,” Lotus’ technical chief James Allison explained.
“There’s a lot gone into it and it’s going to be an exciting car. The regulations for 2013 are very, very similar to 2012, so you can expect to see a lot of family resemblances. But the devil is in the detail and the detail in this car adds up to a lot of performance.”
The other notable differences include subtle changes to the E21’s livery, which features more flashes of red in deference to fuel sponsor Total, in addition to an expected sponsorship tie-up with American multinational Honeywell.
The logo of the team’s new major sponsor, the Coca-Cola-owned Burn energy drink, is visible on the E21’s front wing.
The car will have its first official competitive running at the opening pre-season test at Jerez between 5-8 February. Grosjean will have the first two days’ running before handing over the keys to team-mate Räikkönen.