Today Lotus F1 Team unveiled their 2013 Formula 1 car, dubbed the E21, at the company’s factory in Enstone, UK.
At a glance it may appear that all Lotus did was change the livery a bit from last year, but the Renault-powered E21 is much different than its predecessor the E20 according to Lotus Technical Director James Allison. F1 regulations have not changed much from 2012 to 2013, but Allison made sure to remind everybody that, “…as always in Formula One the devil in in the detail and it adds up to a significant amount of performance”. He went on to explain that the new car included both all new concepts as well as ideas that Lotus has been building on for years.
Lotus, though announcing the unveiling only five days ago, is the first F1 team to launch their 2013 ride. Lotus played it just right in keeping their date quiet for as long as possible and then making the media scramble to get to Enstone over the weekend.
Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean will be behind the wheel of the E21 in 2013, and Lotus has high expectations for both of their drivers. Raikkonen finished third in the Driver’s Championship last season and the Finn seems confident that his new wheels will help him get even closer to capturing his second World Championship. According to Kimi, “it’s not going to be easy to improve what we did already last year, but that’s our aim; to do better”. Grosjean landed on three podiums in 2012, but also retired from seven races. Both Grosjean and the team at Lotus expect better results in 2013 out of the Frenchman.
Formula 1 is a team sport, though, and Raikkonen made sure to add that his goal of improving on 2012 was, “Not just for the drivers but for the team also”.
Kimi proved that he is always a championship contender last season by doing so well in his first year back in the sport, and if Lotus’ new E21 can make the Iceman even faster, then you can expect him to win more than one race in 2013. Grojean is still a young driver and has room to improve, but may not have time to do so, at least not with Lotus.
Both drivers’ contracts are up at the end of the 2013 season and if Grosjean fails to improve notably, I think he’ll find himself out at Lotus. Raikkonen is also competing for a contract, of course, but his 2007 Driver’s World Championship and record of consistent top tier performances help his case tremendously.
Lotus won the first race of the year by introducing their new car to the world before any other team, but we will have a better idea of how many more victories they can expect in 2013 once the first testing session begins on Feb. 5 in Jerez, Spain.