Lotus F1 Team have become the first team to launch their 2013 car by unveiling it during a live feed on youtube. The car was presented in the team's headquarters' race bay after the marquee, set up by the Sky broadcaster was set to fly away due to heavy winds around Enstone.
The team's technical director, James Allison commented: "The first to launch obviously gives us the benefit to be the first to catch the attention of the media. Let there be no mistake, the entire team has been working flat out and passionately on this car for a very long time."
The car itself however, especially at the front, resembles its predecessor a lot, and for a reason: "The rules for this year are very very similar to those of last year, so it's somewhat or an evolution of the 2013 car. As ever however, the gain is in the details."
The new car continues to feature a front push rod suspension, along with a pull rod suspension at the rear end of the car. In its launched guise, it also still features a stepped nose, identical to the E20. While it was one of the most elegant stepped noses in 2012, the team did not take up the option to hide it with a panel, as allowed in the 2013 rules. Allison mentioned that the team did not fit the car with such a panel yet as it adds some weight, but as soon as it manages to create a panel that also created downforce it will be fitted on the E21.
The car's sidepods are largely the same, albeit different at the front, where the sidepod panel is now connected with the monocoque by a small, horizontal winglet just ahead of the radiator air inlets. It's certainly different to the E20 design, but will likely change before the first race in Melbourne.
The rear end of the car is the most different, with Lotus copying Red Bull Racing's exhaust ramp. This means the sidepods now feature a downward slope at the end, trying to pull the exhaust gases downward to the floor and around each side of the diffuser to increase the diffuser's efficiency and downforce generation.
Aesthetically however, the car is arguably less impressive, as the new livery features more red on the sidepods and the engine cover, somewhat spoiling the magical effect of the legendary black and gold livery introduced by the original Team Lotus from Colin Chapman.