The Lotus F1 Team has become the latest team to unveil its 2015 Formula 1 challenger – well, virtually anyway – which it has dubbed the E23 Hybrid. The new car will be powered by Mercedes-Benz’s engine and will be piloted by Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean.
The Enstone team endured a horror 2014 campaign with its predecessor, the radical twin-nosed E22, which was late to launch and suffered innumerable teething issues as a result of a lack of pre-season testing. The team finished in the points just three times all season, and was occasionally outpaced by backmarkers Marussia and Caterham.
“It’s no secret that we struggled with last year’s car so we’ve targeted every area that caused us an issue,” the team’s technical director, Nick Chester, said of this year’s new car.
“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 [switching from Renault to Mercedes].
“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, so 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.”
In keeping with the slightly updated regulations, the E23 Hybrid’s most noticeable difference from its forebear its the more conventional front nose.
Livery-wise, the E23 remains largely unchanged in keeping with its black, gold and red scheme, although the gold flashes have been moved over the top of the sidepods to give the car a predominantly black profile side-on.
The car will make its first on-track appearance at the opening pre-season test at Jerez, which kicks off on February 1.
Images via Lotus F1 Team