For the Korean Grand Prix this weekend, Lotus will be bringing back their long-wheelbase E21. After trialing the new version of their 2013 challenger, Lotus felt unconvinced of its potential. When it set an identical laptime to the short-wheelbase car in Italy during second practice, the team felt their time was best spent focusing on a known quantity, rather than risking time and energy on an unknown.
With their title hopes dwindling rapidly, however, the team has decided to give the project one last push.
Both drivers will be sampling the car during practice in the hopes that aerodynamic benefits expected with the new car will be realized. Under braking the new chassis should offer more stability, and high-speed cornering should be enhanced as well. With the Korea International circuit layout comprised of long straights with intense braking zones as well as long, fast, sweeping corners, the new chassis will be given a thorough test.
Lotus has reason to come into the race weekend full of confidence after a great showing in Singapore two weeks ago. Romain Grosjean was set for a podium finish before engine air compression issues forced him to retire, and Kimi Raikkonen battled back pain and a poor starting position to finish in third place behind Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.
With most of the tracks scheduled for the rest of the season requiring downforce levels similar to Singapore, Lotus is confident of a strong finish to their 2013 campaign. The team is also confident of giving Mercedes and Ferrari strong competition during the remaining races of 2013, and both Grosjean and Raikkonen are showing great form of late.