The Lotus F1 Team have become the latest team to reveal images of their 2015 challenger after they revealed their E23 Hybrid, the first Lotus to be powered by Mercedes-power.
After the troubled 2014 season when the E22 could only finish in the points on three occasions, the team switched power unit suppliers for this season, dropping Renault after a twenty-year association, switching instead to the most dominant power unit of last year in the Mercedes.
Drivers Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado will be looking to regain some positive momentum with the E23 in 2015 after scoring just ten points between them last season, falling down to eighth position in the Constructors’ Championship having finished third in 2013 with the E21.
Lotus F1 Team Technical Director Nick Chester insists the E23 Hybrid is a big step up compared to its predecessor from last season, and is expecting a far more competitive season in 2015.
“The E23 Hybrid represents a massive step forward for us,” insists Chester. “It’s no secret that we struggled with last year’s car so we’ve targeted every area that caused us an issue.
“We’ve made strong progress in the wind tunnel as well as in areas such as packaging and cooling. We expect the E23 to perform far, far better than its predecessor.”
Chester spoke about the changes to the car from the E22, and insisted the change from Renault to Mercedes-power represented the biggest area where the team could gain in performance.
“In terms of what’s new, obviously a massive change for us is a new Power Unit supplier,” continued Chester. “We made this change as it looked and looks to be the one area of the car which could bring us the greatest performance gain. It’s not just performance, but reliability and driveability as well as packaging and cooling too.
“The E22 did deliver good figures in the wind tunnel, even if it was difficult to unlock its potential, so we’ve paid more attention to making the characteristics of the car more adaptable.”
Chester also spoke out the mid-season rule change about the Front-Rear Interconnected Suspension that was outlawed, which he believes affected their performance more than most other teams, but believes the team’s package for 2015, including a redesigned-for-2015 suspension, should bring them closer to the front of the field than the E22 managed.
“In terms of the suspension, we were delivered something of a blow last year when the front-rear interconnected suspension was outlawed mid-season,” said Chester. “The E23’s suspension design is specific to the updated regulations so we’re not trying to update a system originally intended to work a different way.
“We learnt a lot in many areas of the car over the course of 2014 so there are many lessons which have been applied. We know we’ve made a big step. We won’t know how our car will fare in relative terms until we’re out in action at a Grand Prix, but we certainly expect to be much more competitive than last year.”