Mike Stevens | Feb 1, 2011

LOTUS T128

Team Lotus has revealed its 2011 car. In an edition of its online magazine Team Lotus Notes, the team published the first photographs of the new green and gold T128, featuring a Mercedes-style unconventional airbox shape.

"Why the change of name?" wrote team boss Tony Fernandes on Twitter, in response to comments that the new car was expected to be dubbed TL11.

"Because we are continuing with history. We are a new dynasty but tradition continues."

Last year, the team - then called Lotus Racing under official licence from the Proton-owned carmaker Group Lotus - raced its 2010 car with the T127 designation.

T127 was the continuation of the original Lotus team's traditional vehicle designation system. It was thought that the reversion to TL11 for this year was to avoid yet another clash with Group Lotus amid the naming dispute.

Indicating that the designation of the 2011 car was an issue right until the T128's unveiling, the launch magazine made no mention of the two variations.

The new livery features more yellow and prominent Renault signage, reflecting its new engine partnership with the French marque.

The car itself, with a rear end supplied by Red Bull, has a high and straight nose similar to the other designs seen so far including the Ferrari and Mercedes.

"It is a much more contemporary design. The car really will be a midfield runner. It's a modern F1 car," technical boss Mike Gascoyne said.

"There's been almost no carry-over of parts for the 2011 car -- it looks substantially different from last year's car. It's the basis of our cars for the future," he added.

Team Lotus has also confirmed reports that the 2011 car does not feature a KERS system.

We reported recently that HRT and Virgin will also be starting the forthcoming season without the energy-recovery technology.

"The decision made the design job slightly easier, because packaging it in the car is always a bit more of a headache," chief designer Lewis Butler said in the Team Lotus Notes magazine.

Head of aerodynamics Marianne Hinson said, "It's the same for us in aerodynamics -- no KERS is actually easier because packaging all the bits you need for it is actually quite limiting for some of the aero shapes you need in some areas."

Lotus is not ruling out installing KERS at a later date, but chief operating officer Keith Saunt suggested it is not necessary for the team to take its next step.

"If KERS was going to get us from eighth to sixth then we'd have it," he said. "But when you look at the weight of it and some of the engineering challenges, I think it's a good decision not to start with it.

"We might end up with it, who knows?" added Saunt. "But if we did we've got a lot of experienced people who could turn their hands to it."

(GMM)

 

Lotus Dispute About 'Money': Lopez

The Lotus naming dispute is simply about money, Renault team owner Gerard Lopez said on Monday.

He was speaking at Valencia, where the newly Lotus-sponsored Renault revealed its 2011 car, mere hours after the entirely separate Team Lotus launched another car that will also carry the evocative brand name this season.

Group Lotus terminated Fernandes' naming licence for 2011 and has teamed up with Renault, with a dispute to now be played out in the High Court as neither side is backing down.

Lopez, head of the Renault owner Genii Capital, accused Fernandes of sticking to his guns for no reason other than money.

"I've dealt with the press for many years, not just in Formula One but also in business, and you've got to call a spade a spade, and I can tell when somebody is trying to twist things," he said.

The reality, said Lopez, is that Fernandes is not fighting for the Lotus legacy but simply for F1 income.

"It's the fact that if 1Malaysia Racing (Team Lotus) changes their name, they lose their FOM money," he said.

"It's an issue for them, and it's probably one I wouldn't take too kindly to if I was in their shoes. But just admit to the reality, that it's about money. It's nothing else," added Lopez.

(GMM)

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