Formula 1

Lotus E21 Kicks Off F1 Launch Season

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Lotus launched the E21 at their Enstone HQ (Photo Credit: Lotus F1 Team)

Lotus was the first team of 2013 to unveil their new car, the E21, for the forthcoming season. The launch as streamed online on Monday, with Sky Sports also covering the event.

Unsurprisingly, given that there has not been a huge regulations change from last year to this year, the car has no real noticeable differences to the E20. However, the team is still confident that the car will be capable of one again challenging the big teams for a second year in a row.

Last year, Lotus was the surprise of the year, with both Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen enjoying several podiums before Raikkonen’s break through win in Abu Dhabi.

“I’ve not driven the E21 yet so it’s difficult to say what could or could not be possible. We know we had a good car last season, but everyone is working hard to make the best car. I will be working with the team to help get the car as strong as we can, then in Melbourne we’ll have our first taste of results. It’s a long season from there. 2012 was a good start; let’s see what we can do in 2013,” Raikkonen said, before adding that he was confident he could challenge for the title.

“It’s clear from working with them that they are racers, and you can see in their history that they’ve won championships. Nothing I saw last year made me think that another championship was impossible in the future. Of course, there is some pretty tough competition out there and everyone wants to win. The team have beaten everyone before and there’s nothing to say they can’t do it again.”

The 2007 champion’s come back year was a success, with the Finn remaining in the championship fight to the latter stages of the year, with him eventually claiming third in the championship.

Romain Grosjean divided opinions last year and will be hoping for a more consistent year in 2013.

“I can clearly say I want to score a lot of points for the team – everybody knows that – but I think it would be wrong for me to say I want to finish in a particular position in the championship. I really want to jump out of the car as many times as possible thinking that I did a good job. Knowing that everything I could do, I did, and feeling proud of my race or session. I hope to feel that way as many times as possible this year.”

“I think everyone is waiting to see if I’m able to be consistent, which is where I was lacking a little bit last year. I know it and I’ll do everything I can to prove to people that I’m able to achieve this goal.”

Eric Boullier added that the team just wanted to better their performance of last year.

“We want to do better than we did last year. 2012 was a good season for us – certainly in the context of the previous season – but we, like every team in this highly competitive sport, want to win. We want to make regular appearances on the podium, and add to our tally of appearances on the top step.”

“We want to improve our car in all areas from last year’s and we want the improvements we make to be greater than those made by the opposition. However, having said all that, the official target established by the team’s owners is to achieve a minimum of third place in the Constructors’ Championship,” technical director James Allison concluded.

Also confirmed at the team’s launch was that last year’s GP2 champion, Davide Valsecchi, will be the team’s third driver.

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F1 correspondent for The Checkered Flag. Follow him on Twitter @JHSingo
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