Lotus T128 launch – first pictures

2011 F1 cars

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Lotus have revealed the first images of their 2011 F1 car which is now called the T128.

The car was originally supposed to be called the TL11 which, according to the team, was to “simplify what could have been another point of contention” with Renault over the use of the name’Lotus’.

When asked by F1 Fanatic on Twitter about the change of name Tony Fernandes said:

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

One of the most striking features on the car is the use of a ‘blade’ roll hoop with a split air intake. However the central part of the ‘blade’ has to be thicker because of the change in the 2011 rules.

Mercedes pioneered the design last year but the first picture of their new W02 shown yesterday indicated they are not using such a layout this year.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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147 comments on “Lotus T128 launch – first pictures”

  1. Isnt the airbox similar to the one of last years Mercedes which was banned?. Or is it just my eyes. it is quite hard to tell..

    1. it is.. but not sure if it was banned.

      1. there were regulations brought in, which most saw as a ban, but Lotus have worked a way around it, and theirs is 100% legal.

        1. I thought the main point of that airbox was that it allowed it to be lower and slanted, although the Lotus’s is still upright.

    2. The merc “blade” roll structure was indeed banned. The rules where changed to have a minimum thickness for the roll structure. That sort of negates the advantages of the “blade”. Guess Lotus still though it was worth it.

      From the regulations:

      15.2.4 The principal roll structure must have a minimum enclosed structural cross section of 10000mm², in vertical projection, across a horizontal plane 50mm below its highest point. The area thus established must not exceed 200mm in length or width and may not be less than 10000mm2 below this point.

  2. Ermm, those sidepods are how thin?

  3. ForzaLaScuderia (@)
    31st January 2011, 5:14

    Interesting that they have opted to use the MGP airbox design from last season…while MGP dropped those plans.

    1. Yeah thats what i noticed. I thought that kind of design was banned?

      1. I don’t think it was banned. The only thing banned coming into this year is the F Duct.

        1. and the double diffuser? :)

          1. The airbox design is legal, although regs came in which effectively banned the previous incarnation, and most took to be a ban. The Exhaust Blown Diffuser is technically banned too, but don’t be surprised to see variations on that.

          2. The EBD is in no way banned, what is banned is holes creating a cross section in your diffuser, meaning the double diffuser is banned. That’s about 2seconds per lap of performance since the start of 2009 done away with.

            However it is not illegal to blow gasses over your diffuser, nor is it illegal to release exhaust under the car. However, it’s probably illegal to split your exhaust pipes.

            The blade thingy was semi banned because the FIA was uneasy with the design, felt if the car fliped the blade might stick in and not roll the car sactisfactorily. Can’t say I don’t have the same fear about that design. Hopefully it’ll work, don’t want to see it tested.

        2. New regs mandate a minimum cross section for the roll structure, and the Lotus “blade” looks thicker than last year’s W01 so possibly legal within the new rules?

      2. ForzaLaScuderia (@)
        31st January 2011, 5:18

        Yeah the fact that it was banned was probably a rumor spread to explain why the MGP W02 didn’t have it in the rendering that we saw today.

  4. + Keith the official name is the T128 not the TL11 :D

    1. As stated above. Remember reading is fundamental.

      1. But look at the pretty pictures!! ;)

        1. so true lol!

  5. Super!

    1. The car looks good, very aggressive an light, although there are few things that I’m worried about. First is the airbox, a little bit too Mercedes like, second is the nose, not enough Red Bullish ;)

      But seriously, I’m really worried about the hype. People expected a lot from this team, and now the statements from Lotus raise the bar even higher. They want to create a new legend, they are pushing the boundaries, they create a basis for future cars, they aim to embarrass older teams and Trulli wants to score points from the first race. Guys, don’t you aim just a little bit too high?

      Don’t get me wrong, I wish you all the best. I want it to work out for you, but it’s just your second year. Raising people’s hopes is a straight road to disappointment. I expect you to score some points this year, just like Force India did in their second year. But challenging the midfield? I think it’s not realistic. Not yet.

  6. no, are TL11..

  7. Pity the pictures are pretty bad renders. Apart from the Mercedes style intake, there isn’t a lot you can tell from them. Hopefully, some proper photos are taken tomorrow.

    1. The pictures look pretty bad, especially when you compare them with those released last year, at the launch of T127. They were really nice, wallpaper worthy, high resolution photos.

    1. quite, the 3d render here, is a bit… blah.

      1. it’s been updated.. before anyone jumps in and insists we check our eyesight.

  8. It isn’t a real car because it probably isn’t built yet LOL! I agree it is a really dark photograph and it is hard to see much from it. I think the intake is legal and the only reason Mercedes dropped the idea is because it didn’t work… I believe what we can take from this is that the Lotus will not be a midpack contender in 2011… still, it will probably be faster than last years now that the Cosworth motor is gone.

    1. “I believe what we can take from this is that the Lotus will not be a midpack contender in 2011”

      How in any way is that a reasonable assumption? Because of its air intake? Just wait for the racing to start, then we’ll see. They probably also wont expect to be challenging the mid pack until mid season themselves, so I think you’re jumping the gun a little bit.

    2. Williams showed that the Cosworth was competitive.

      1. It was the gearbox that was letting the teams down, particularly the hydraulics.

    3. TheGreatCornholio
      31st January 2011, 9:21

      the Cosworth motor wasn’t a problem last year, it was the X-Trac gearbox. Williams were very complimentary of the Cossie. The main benefit they’ll get is from the Red Bull transmission and back end. Superior packaging particularly thanks to the pull rod suspension!

  9. sry official T128..

  10. To be honest im disappointed.It looks too weak,with those thin and wierdly shaped sidepods.It looks they went conservative again on the nose.Was expecting a lot more.

    1. I dunno… those sidepods say to me the renault (read championship-winning) engine needs less cooling than other engines, allowing less wind resistance… it’s not all in the nose.

      For the teams second ever car, I think they’re doing a great job!

      1. Ditto. We’ll have to wait to compare it to the HRT and the Virgins. (HRT and Virgins in the same sentence conjures up images of old maids… just me? ok move on )

        They want to be mid field this year, so we’ll see how it goes, but I think for the second year, it’s beautiful.

        I do have a bit of resentment to them nicking peoples name though. Lotus Notes is a software from the 90s ;)

        1. I spotted the “Lotus Notes” link. Although it is something that Noah found in the Ark…

      2. Or its because they are the least powerful engine on the grid if you as Christian Horner

    2. It looks “too weak”? That’s a racing car, not a tank. It’s supposed to go fast, not to look beefed up like some guido.

      1. hahahaha :)

        1. Well, I guess if you are thinking of Belgium where Alonso could just drive on to a sad end in the barriers after being hit by Barrichello – tanking up seemed to have helped the Ferrari :-p

      2. OMG Dau you crack me up LOL!

  11. Lotus press release with actual photos. f

  12. it’s just jealous! :)

  13. Full PDF of their release, including real photographs at http://cdn.skive.co.uk/TLN_LaunchIssue.pdf

    1. good work :)

      1. Interesting to note that there isn’t any big “Team Lotus” branding on the side of the car as they had last year with “Lotus Racing”. Only references to Lotus on the car that I’ve spotted are small Team Lotus logos on the nose tip and driver’s headrest.

        Are they trying to preempt a possible switch to a non-Lotus name in case they lose the legal fight in court?

        1. The way I see it, the Lotus Racing logo was a placeholder as they couldn’t get Air Asia to come over and leave Williams a year early.

          Now that Air Asia is around, they will get very prominent placing (engine cover & rear wing).

          1. Wasn’t AirAsia already on the front wing endplates of the T127 midway through last season?

          2. Considering the guy who owns air Asia is the boss of Team Lotus, I don’t think it would have been an issue.

        2. Pretty sure it only said ‘Lotus Racing’ last year beacuse there was no paying sponsor to fill that space.

          It is a pretty standard procedure after all. Sauber had their logo on the engine cover last year, HRT had theirs on the sidepods until they started naming their cars after their drivers (all of them).

          Although obviously Red Bull manage both as their team and sponsor are one-and-the-same.

          And Ferrari only slap their logo big on the side because their whole car’s worth of advertising space is sold off illegally to Marlboro who then sell it on like some sort of cancerous middle-man.

          1. And of course, the “ferrari” logo is coincidentally exactly the same as the, also Marlboro sponsored, Ducati team. Ie. that’s Marlboro’s logo except in name.

          2. It is still quite incredible that Ferrari are allowed to continue with various forms of subliminal advertising and a publicised connection to Tobacco.

  14. Fascinating front suspension! no pushrod that I can see!

    1. I noticed that too. Must not be installed in that picture. The rear is pullrod, which I was expecting with the RB gear box.

      The Renault logo is its proper color on this car, unlike on the Renault car…

      1. More fundamentally, there doesnt appear to be a steering arm either!

        Aside from that I’m happily impressed with how aggressive the design looks over last years car. At the start of last year the emphasis was on reliability (specifically with cooling), now they have a year of data (+info on the Red Bull/Renault package?) they’ve trimmed down the sidepods to a minimum. I’m almost concerned they might have taken it a step too far!

        1. Well they’ve avoided the worry of KERS.. so they’ve given themselves a bit more space compared to some other teams.

          McLaren have given themselves a bit more space too, an extra 10 days.

      2. In the rendering you can see a push rod – it connects just behind the foremost top wishbone arm of the suspension. Of course, that could be inaccurate, but there is a hole on the side of the nose in that spot.

      3. That Renault in black on the yellow band on the back of the engine cover is a really great idea, looks good in the right colors.

  15. I really like the car, i mean for being one of the newest low budget teams i beliebe it looks good, im wondering about their livery contest i saw the wiinner at it doesnt look like this one, but i believe overall is a nice desing we will see how they do at the track im expecting a lot from them with that Renault Power and RedBull Gearbox!!!

    1. The only thing that’s slightly traditional looking is the nose. Everywhere else it looks pretty agressive. I’m a bit surprised it doesn’t have a bit more of a Red Bull style nose. Even Mercedes is headed that direction with the W02 nose. It’ll be interesting to see what the Renault and McLaren noses look like.

      1. I suspect McLarens nose is a little out of joint from last year..

      2. I wouldn’t be surprised if the team decided that the Red Bull nose was just a bit too advanced to try – and after all, we saw that Ferrari stopped using it this year.

        The T128 nose is really rather high until the tip, with the Red Bull ridges and having to fit the driver’s legs, maybe they couldn’t get it high enough to use the big undercut they have for those sidepods.

      3. Well, Merc went more Redbullish, Ferrari went more McLaren like. Shows that Redbull’s solution must have benefits and drawbacks.

        TBH, I’m glad Lotus stuck with Brit racing green. Ten time’s prettier than the JPS, an fun historical livery. The JPS is a ridiculous historical livery because of the tobbaco connection. Last years Renault wasp livery was just excellent.

    2. I believe that one lotus will be mocked up in the livery from the livery contest – but because it was a JPS livery, they can’t race with it.

      Car looks awesome, i love that paint scheme!

      1. but because it was a JPS livery, they can’t race with it.

        If that were the case, then Group Lotus Renault, wouldn’t be running with Gold and Black. No it’s because Bahar’s outfit announced they were going to go with Black and Gold, Team Lotus chose to stick to Green and Yellow, although they were pretty ticked off with it..

        see for yourself : http://twitpic.com/3v36ca

        1. Apologies, I meant that but I didn’t make it clear. Its because Renault decided to use the JPS livery, as you say

  16. Yeah, my B&G ”Air” livery was in the Lotus Notes! Top right corner with all the other ones ;)

  17. UneedAFinn2Win
    31st January 2011, 5:49

    Looks really different, they have achieved their intention in packing the rear very very tight. I doubt they’ll be introducing KERS this year, unless the Renault system is smaller than I imagine.
    Those sidepods are really agressive.

  18. Great quote from the Lotus Notes (not the software, another legal suite) magazine, two of MG’s (or TF?) dogs are talking to each other while playing, we pick up mid conversation:

    “..It is Sam. But not as tricky as
    driving a Formula One™ car –
    there’s so much for the driver to
    contend with in the cockpit this
    year, it would make you dizzy.”

    “If you’re a certain seven-time
    world champion, I think it
    already has”

    “Hmmm… simulated sickness.
    Tricky one. How you can tell
    if it’s even real…”

    1. That’s cold. But funny.

    2. LOL, mean, but funny.

  19. Not having KERS could be what keeps them out of the midfield. I think most if not all of the midfield cars will have it, and with the minimum weight increase the gap between KERS and non-KERS cars should be more dramatic as there’s no real advantage to not running it.

    1. Nick Wirth put it best: KERS is worth two to three tenths at best when the new teams need to find two to three seconds. If all goes well – particularly for Virgin and Lotus – they could invest in KERS about half or two-thirds of the way through the season.

      1. Lotus say in their Lotus Notes magazine ( which I’ve been reading ), that they may end up the season with KERS, depending on how things go.

        1. Sounds like rubbish to me, wouldn’t expect them to have designed possible KERS into the packaging. THey might have it next year, but why bother this one?

        2. Kers might only be 2-3 tenths but it’s also a few positions in the start. They could out-qualify Toro Rosso for example and be all happy and then lose the place immediately at the start of the race.

  20. I’m not really a fan. The livery just ruins it. Especially that yellow streak at the back. And those dark and moody backgrounds destory any chance of making out the details.

    It’s funny, though. I thought the narrow Mercedes-esque rollhoop was banned for this year.

    1. Not if it’s thick enough, apparently. The rules have a requirement about the minimum cross-section of the roll structure. If that’s met then I reckon it’s legal.

      1. I’m also looking at the actual air intakes, and they look like they’re thicker, wider and mounter further forward than the ones designed by Mercedes.

    2. The livery just ruins it. Especially that yellow streak at the back.

      Really?! That’s the best part! I didn’t like the 2010 livery much, too dark I thought, but with more yellow it’s much improved, and with no R30 on the grid this season we could do with some more yellow. I think the livery is great. Much better than the R31 with that TOTAL-ly intrusive red garbage.

      1. I agree – that yellow streak in the back, combined with the yellow streak on the front of the rear/front wing endplates looks great. The least impressive bit of the livery is the rather cluttered looking nose.

        I also think the green might be a bit lighter, but that could just be a matter of lighting (of course, the rendering is metallic green, but well, that’s just a rendering)

  21. I have been disconnected from the whole Renault – Lotus naming controversy. I tried reading up a bit but gave up.

    For 2011, my nomenclature will be having only two names – Heikki’s car and Kubica’s car. Makes things much more easier. So, is the above car Kubica’s or Heikki’s?

    1. ForzaLaScuderia (@)
      31st January 2011, 6:19


      1. Actually, it’s Trulli’s – according to the FIA Entry List that was published a few weeks ago, Trulli is #20 and Kovalainen #21.

        1. That’s a bit weird since Jarno placed 21st in the championship and Heikki finished 20th.

          1. So many Lotus’sessss around, it’s easy to get confused.

        2. FYI : Jarno Trulli is 21.. it’s liveried up on all the Lotus gear. Page 8 of Lotus notes for example.

  22. Looks promising hope it is better then previous year car.

  23. nose looks like force india vjm02 type

  24. In total a step forward from last year’s car.The sidepod’s and the airbox above are interesting but the front suspension looks plain simple.Does they have KERS?I think they don’t.

  25. Another great quote from the Team Lotus Notes Magazine :

    Under extreme
    braking, some drivers
    have said that this force
    is so great that their
    tear ducts squirt water
    into their visors

    1. The forces they endure every lap of every race are just nuts. I have a hard time even imagining what that must feel like.

    2. what? when braking and Webber hits them up the ass, that would bring tears to any ones eyes.

      1. Oh burn! Hahaha!
        That is a terrible joke! But I love it!

  26. BTW and FYI : Here’s the Black and Gold livery that Team Lotus would have ran with if they had the chance..


    1. I don’t understand why they didn’t use the (beautiful) winning livery design and perform a simple palette swap. Change the black to green, and the gold to yellow.

      I did tweet them 3 times asking if they would/could, but for all the ‘fan friendlyness’ they promote, I got not a single reply.

      1. Yeah, I thought the same thing. It’s a delicious livery.

        1. That, and it actually reflected the historical livery… rather than this psuedo copy.

  27. I think having no KERS could be advantage when it comes to weight, if they have less weight in the car like the Braen did they have a chance to show some improvment.

    1. Nope. The FIA increased the minimum weight for 2011 so that you couldn’t benefit from omitting the KERS, so presumably the disadvantage of not running KERS will be greater than it was in 2009.

      1. Probably more of packaging decision given the relatively bulky KERS units – look at how slim and undercut the T128’s sidepods are.

      2. couldn’t benefit

        As much. It still takes up weight that could be put using ballast lower in the car, and in better positions to tune the handling.

  28. http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/89154

    It’s talk like this that makes me dislike Team Lotus.

    1. What in that article makes you dislike the team?

      The headline sounds a bit harsh, but like most headlines is slightly out of context, no-one says they’re aiming to embarrass the established teams, just that if they do start beating them then it could be embarrassing for them, which it probably would be.

      Otherwise it just sounds like they’re very ambitious.

    2. blame it on autosport editor for putting that kind of headline when the whole context of the article is about Team Lotus and their aim for 2011 season…

      it’s seems like autosport has some kind of beef with team lotus

      1. it’s seems like autosport has some kind of beef with team lotus

        They’ve been blatantly pro-Bahar ever since the announcement of Proton’s Renault sponsorship.

    3. The problem for these other teams is that if we’ve been going for a year and then we start beating them, it’s a very clear message and it sends out a story which is embarrassing for them and good for us,

      That’s spot on. If I was Torro Rosso, and Team Lotus come along and beat us in their 2nd year, I would be embarrassed! I’d also fear for my job, because something is clearly wrong.

      To be honest, the Editor has done his part to make a sensation to get more hits, and sell more units. Whats new?

      For such an intelligent guy PM, I’m a little disappointed you’re so easily influenced in this particular instance.

      1. Luckily Toro Rosso know their job isn’t to be competitive, and that they are afiliated with the current world champions.

  29. Not really important, but the stripe going up the nose looks horrible with all those logos interrupting it. I wonder if they will make it more pleasing to the eye before the first race.

    1. What looks worse is the way the space around each ogo is a noticeably different shade of green to the rest of the car.

      1. Yeah it’s a far cry from some of the other liveries isn’t it. I still love the traditional green and yellow though.

      2. On closer look it appears that the logos on the nose of the launch car (Naza, Tune) look like stickers that were placed over the stripes at the last minute. The final version should have a more consistent shade of green as per the CGI renderings.

        1. Indeed, they are stickers. But that doesn’t escuse the fact that it’s pointless having a racing stripe down the centre of your car when all you’re going to do it break it up every 3 inches with a sponsorship logo.

          It just treads muddy boots all over the design philosophy and makes it look amature at best.

      3. I do hope that was just for the photo and they will be able to fix it before it races – I agree that seeing that the sticker has a different colour rather ruins the livery.

      4. To me it looks like that car was finished late (part of the front suspension not installed) and the sponsor stickers were just put on right before the pictures were taken as they did not manage to get this chassis properly painted beforehand (or were not sure which logo to put where on the nose before yesterday?). A bit shabby.

  30. ok nice…front suspension is really interesting, how do they plan to steer the car?

    1. I”m gonna shoot from the hip here, and say ‘steering wheel’.

      The four non-perpendicular rods steer the wheels.

      1. Although I’m a touch tentative on that. My reason for calling that one is the following quote :

        Elliot: I agree – the area that intrigues me the most is the front suspension, and the rear as well actually. We’ve tried to push the boundaries with a few things to make it a bit lighter and more efficient.

  31. They clearly hiding the T128 suspension details.

  32. Wow – have to still see how it’ll look in real life, but the sideshot rendering makes the new livery look f****n’ great!

  33. the suspension look like a rapid prototypes material, not a real one and the rear end lack of drive shaft. I think the real t128 is on the way to Valencia.

    1. The rear end also seems to miss a bit of floor – we should be able to see some of it between the rear wheels – especially of the diffuser? I think they just didn’t bolt it on, considering the missing front-suspension details too.

      1. Yup..maybe this is only a show car. I think there is not real gear box at the end of the car, they maybe just used the mock up…or maybe this is the new “lotus technology”, no push/pull rod, no drive shaft, no diffuser, no steering arm. WOW!!!

  34. the car looks horible

  35. Personally I like it, it looks lean and clean, I wish them well :)

  36. After all that Keith, they’ve changed the name! ;-)

    Looks very very nice and like it could be up in the midfield this year. I’m not sure about them dropping KERS but it’s not a huge advantage, Brawn and Red Bull won without it in 2009.

  37. The thing that makes me laugh is the fact that the team this team are feuding with is going to supply them engines this year. Engine Failures anyone?????

  38. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
    31st January 2011, 9:22

    I think that that Lotus is a very good looking car and I am very pleased they stuck with the Green and Gold because I don’t think the Gold and Black would have worked as well

  39. Here we go then… Team Lotus getting their car out second after Ferrari?

    Bring it on. I really hope these guys can get the job done this year. Never mind the controversy!

  40. Crapy presentation, and sticker of sponsors with different colours that the robe. In a hurry ?
    I am disappointed !

  41. Looks good :) could have done with a bit more gold/yellow on it though

    alot less ‘bath tub’ looking compared to last years car. I got a feeling its going to be a vast improvement..

  42. didn’t liked it :( , hope its a grower

  43. First impression is, wow, are those some extremely undecut sidepods! Must eb that with them no running Kers, and the renault engine not needing so much cooling, the had a lot of spare room around the middle area…

  44. love it!
    looks like a real racer!

  45. The way of working reminds me of Toyota: There Gascoyne also started with a very ‘boxy’ car and went from there to a rounder (and better) car. Who knows what would have happened there if he got along with the management?

    I think at Spyker/Midland the budget was just too crappy to start all over, because I can’t remember a ‘boxy’ first car. Or maybe the problem for Gascoyne was that there already was a car.

    However, here he started again with a clean sheet and hence I expect his words to become true. Now we just have to see which established teams Lotus can fight. Toro Rosso? Williams? Sauber? …Renault?

    Oh, that would be massively entertaining: if Lotus’re capable of challenging Renault!

  46. Still don’t get the reason why they want to bring a old team back into F1 but Fernandes is doing it 10000 times better, and finally some decent Air Asia logo’s!

  47. I like the look of it! The airbox does look a little on the small side however..

    The curve is very nice.

  48. I find it funny that the newsletter (or whatever it is) is called “Team Lotus Notes”. I got confused with IBM’s email software. :D

    Nice car. I hope it’s fast.

  49. Those sidepods are intriguing… The livery also looks great from the side, with that thick strip of yellow.

  50. This Lotus-Renault is prettier than the other Lotus-Renault.
    I hope its faster too…

  51. Apart from the fact the logos on the front are clearly stuck on top as they are of a different colour, I don’t like the yellow stripe being interrupted so many times by sponsors.

  52. The car will look fantastic if it is quick out on the track.

  53. Younger Hamilton
    31st January 2011, 19:05

    The Front Wing Plates looks very similar to the RB6’s anyway nice look but once again does it have the Performance to build on from Last Year.

  54. The aero looks 100% better than 2010 Lotus Racing car, so hopefully performs by the same margin!!
    Aesthetically it looks sweet, I’m glad they have BRG, and hopefully the sponsor logo placemnt will be refined – they look like cheap stickers at the moment.

    The energy juice called EQ8 is pronounced Equate – I just noticed! :P

    And finbally I think the MP4-26 (Mclaren 2011) will have the roll hoop blade. I have a hunch… ;)

  55. Horrible paint scheme, especially up back.

    Car looks ok, but don’t expect much of it.

    Gazza should zip it with his beating most of the field comments, it sounds loco, focus on beating HRT and Virgin again first.

  56. Weird they have Red Bull provided gear boxes and suspension, and they are sponsored by EQ8….

  57. Looking forward to seeing some proper images of the T128. The renderings are good but nothing like the real thing!

    The fin looks fantastic, hope it proves beneficial.

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