Lotus Renault GP launched the R31, the car with which the team will contest the 2011 F1 championship, at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia.
The team also presented new ‘third drivers’ Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean to add to an inflated driver line-up which already consists of race drivers Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov and reserve drivers Jan Charouz, Ho-Pin Tung and Fairuz Fauzy.
Speaking at the launch, Gerard Lopez, the Lotus Renault GP Chairman, said the teams aim for 2011 was “to continue our march towards the front of the grid, seize the slightest opportunity and do better than last season in both the drivers' and constructors' championships” adding that they “feel we are well prepared for the challenge ahead.”
Eric Boullier echoed the sentiments of his chairman whilst emphasising the efforts that have gone into the new car, and the behind-the-scene changes at the team over the winter break.
“All the hard work over the winter has been focused on delivering a big improvement for 2011,” said the team principal. “The result is a car with more than 92% new parts compared to the R30. But technical innovation isn't the only key to performance. Since last year, we have reviewed all our internal processes and our overall efficiency has now improved by 15%. That means we should be more competitive than last year, on the track and at the factory.”
Technical director James Allison explained that the R31 was radically different from its predecessor. “Words like 'aggressive' and 'innovative' are very much in vogue in Formula 1 at the moment,” he said, “but where the R31 is concerned we feel those adjectives are appropriate.
“It's true to say that the car has been designed in an ambitious manner and a quick glance at the layout will confirm that its entire concept differs considerably, not just from last year's car, but from any car this team has ever produced.”
Both race drivers were at the unveiling of the R31. Kubica commented: “At the moment it's difficult to know just how competitive our package will be, but the engineers have decided to go for an innovative design, which is good,” whilst team-mate Petrov added “It feels exciting to be starting my second year of Formula 1 and I can't wait to try this beautiful car for the first time tomorrow.”
The R31 will be in action tomorrow at the first pre-season test in Valencia.