Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus T128, Valencia, 2011

Lotus T128 has first run in Valencia

2011 F1 cars

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The Lotus T128 has appeared for the first time in Valencia.

Heikki Kovalainen did the first lap in the car as testing began this morning.

Images ?? F1 Fanatic and Julien Leroy / firstlap.be. If you wish to use these images please contact F1 Fanatic to request permission

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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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78 comments on “Lotus T128 has first run in Valencia”

  1. Some people may dislike him but he always has a great smile :)

    1. Heikki or Fernandez? Or Gascoyne?

    2. Both of them..but i prefer Tony ‘s smile!! So enthussiasm!!

      1. Tony look like Bill Bailey with the hair shaved off :D Happy fella

        1. Not Tony… Mike!

          1. somehow tony and mike remind me of Leepu and Bernie :P

  2. The car’s just gone out on the track for the first time, saw it come past me in the pits.

    1. Stop rubbing it in!

    2. Damn. Now I’m jealous ;)

      1. I’m green ( and yellow ) with envy!

    3. Please stop Keith – I’m supposed to be working!

      By the by – super coverage so far!

  3. Anyone notice that the suspension is normal on this? In the launch photos it was completely different and was missing driveshafts… no one seemed to notice…

    1. Yes. I did noticed. Maybe the launch photos is just a mock up.

      1. Probably the “launch” was online because the car was not complete on 31st and Team Lotus was desperate to show it before Renault.

        1. I figure that about gets the point of the presentation.

  4. I’m interested to hear what the other teams (especially Mercedes) think about the blade roll hoop.

    1. It’s thicker than Merc’s version from last year. That’s how they’ve got round the regulations

    2. I don’t think it brought any advantages to Mercedes last year.

      1. that because of the F-duct that we dont really see the advantage of this setup.

  5. Either that or they were in such a rush they forgot to finish putting it together! But somehow I doubt that… Man, I was getting really excited to see how the system worked without pushrods :( I even wrote a blog (www.thegrandprixblog.blogspot.com) about it :( But still, it does look very good, a lot like the Red Bull’s in fact :)

  6. The Lotus definitely looks the most like a ‘racing car’…if you get what I mean.

    1. No, I don’t
      But I still think you’re wrong.

      How so?

    2. I can’t really explain why I think so but I think so too, VXR.

      1. The yellow paint on the engine cover emphasizes the cars profile, when looked at from the size

        1. I love the yellow engine cover, very cool, pretty clever with the yellow renault incorporated, I really like the livery. They have not just re-created that same old thing, they’ve made it better!

          However on a different note the prominence of the Air Asia promotion does make me worried about their confidence over the legal battle. then again, if Tiny is not going to be able to buy Group Lotus for another few years until Bahar’s investors realise what a fool he is, it makes no sense to promote them just yet!

          1. Tony owns Air Asia.

      2. I think it looks very chunky from the side angle. Like it’s made out of mechano.

  7. Well the midfield’s going to be so tight this year, it’s going to see its fair share of racing! Sauber, Force India, Williams, Virgin, Hispania maybe but probably not… Going to be great to watch! I reckon judging by the looks of the car and Hekki’s initial reactions, we might see the car on the podium at a crazy race (ie. a crashfest, rainfest) at some point during the year :)

    1. Meh. I think you can easily take HRT out of the mix. Also I think midfield will be divided into two groups: Williams, Force India and Sauber at the front, Toro Rosso, Team Lotus and Virgin somewhere behind. These differences should increase as the season progresses, due to certain level of development potential within the teams.

  8. As much as I like the livery on the T128, it’s let down by the fact they couldn’t even get sponsor decals in the same colour to put on the nose. If you look closely you can clearly see that they are a different colour to the actual paint.

    1. hahah yeah I commented on that in my blog. At the time I couldn’t tell if they were stickers or not and described the car as looking as if it had been painted by an under performing grade 12 manual arts student. That combined with the fact key suspension components and the driveshafts were missing in the launch photos tells me that they were in a bit of a rush to get it ready…

    2. Wow, talk about straining the gnat. That car is an amazing effort from a second year team. Hrt virgin, and possibly toro rosso have their work cut out!

      1. But wait! If you look closely, the decals are not quite the right colour…

    3. I agree McLarenFanJamm. The number decal looks particularly bad, as does the huge Renault logo. Maybe it’s on purpose, maybe they’ll peel them off and there’ll be something else under them?

      1. haha, yeah, like their own version of the ‘JPS livery’ ;)

        In seriousness, that actually looked really good, the bodged decals are probably due to the last minute change in livery

    4. Do you chase sponsors to match your colours or do you just accept any sponsor you can get?

      1. well we can all see how that worked out for sauber! I think that while the colour scheme could be better resolved, the green combined with the unique air box at least makes for a disitinctive design. Half of the other cars are just red bulls in a different shade!

        1. I did say I liked the over all look of the car, the decals just spoil it a little close-up. From a distance and in the sparkling sunshine it looks sweet.

  9. Wanna see it’s back end… That’s gonna be interesting.

    1. the-muffin-man
      2nd February 2011, 9:23

      Me too – on first looks its doesn’t look anywhere near as tightly packaged as most of the other new cars, especially the Williams.

      1. agreed, the williams deffinetly has the tightest bottom so far

  10. You know what? I like it.. For a second year car that’s a pretty damn serious package, engine, gearbox, suspension, design.

    The air box is lower to allow more flow to the back wing. Dunno about the diffuser and kit, but… It’s not gonna finish last this year, it’s gonna be mixing it.

  11. i just cant get my eyes of the car…..the design the livery the gearbox…rear wings everything looks stunning : )

  12. Its one of the few cars that the yellow Pirelli logo’s don’t look bad on as well…

  13. Best looking car this season…Team Lotus, Williams, Red BUll

  14. Eh, still not a fan of that livery.

    Also, the FIA entry list shows Kovalainen is #21, but here he’s #20. Is he allowed to drive a car that could be considered Trulli’s, or has his number changed? He did, after all, finish ahead of Trulli in the 2010 standings.

    1. he can surely drive any car he wants during testing, and they will only bring one car to the test so they have to share.

      he will be back under his own number in bahrain

    2. I think during tests, when there’s only one chassis, it’s permitted. Besides, as Schumacher and Rosberg case proved, changing numbers is quite easy.

      1. I remember someone saying last year, that the Ferrari barcode was too hard to remove from all the kit, that’s why the FIA allowed it to stay on.

        .. Which was rubbish of course! Bit of gaffer tape can sort anything out! :)

        1. Urmm that was me, and it was true. Do you have any idea how many items of clothing would have to be taped over? Besides, who wants to go around with tape all over them, It would also show that Ferrari were “hiding” their Marlboro sponsor rather than just not having it there. Thats an important difference for Marlboro.

          Anyway I don’t see how that is relevent here. Asking the FIA to switch your driver numbers is not a problem, Lotus have been showing Heiki as #20 and Jarno as #21 which would make sense as thats where they finished last year. No doubt in the near future the final entry list will be released and their numbers will be switched.

  15. love the look :) the new tyres make it look even better, if they stuck the old bridgestones back on, it would look rubbish.

    1. Somehow I don’t think it will look so good when they put on a set of pirellis which has red or blue text.

  16. Looks like a Formula 3 car from the front.

    1. Faraz,

      “Looks like a Formula 3 car from the front”

      Clearly you’ve never seen a formula 3 car. Here’s one for you. It’s in the Lotus Livery so it might be confusing for you but try anyway.


      1. Yeah! Look like THAT formula 3 car! It’s the colours innit!

  17. Of all the cars that have come out so far, this one looks like the most radical departure from its predecessor. Still, to me that always looked like an under-developed brick, so perhaps it’s not surprising.

  18. Am I the only on that thinks the blade is just stupid? When Mercedes used it they were asked if it was a major step up in performance and rather sheepishly they said no it’s barely changed anything, only the fact that the air is split for the cooling a bit better!

    The fact that no-one else has bothered and the bit in the middle looks ridiculously fat says it all for me, it’s just being different for being different’s sake

      1. *read what gascoyne said.

  19. I love the look of this car. Gets my vote for the best looking car launched so far..

    i really hope they get one over lotus renault. this car looks like its out to prove a point!!

  20. I keep thinking: this is one sweet looking machine! :P

  21. lowered nose.. i like it

  22. Looks cheap, especially the decals. No wonder Lotus didn’t want to be associated with them.

  23. Looks a lot better on the track, the first pictures looked horrible but on the track it just looks right.

  24. There there people, no need to hang yourselves over some dodgy decals.

  25. Now that looks a lot better than in the launch photos. Particularly the 12th one down.

  26. Team Lotus seem to have problems with heat from exhaust apparently burning stuff on the car. Irony.

  27. Anybody think the front end resembles the front end of the A23?


  28. Hmmm kind of… lets hope it’s a lot faster though! I just finished an article on my blog about my reactions to the new F1 cars. A fun read if you’re keen :)

  29. I really do love the look of these cars. I think the green and gold is quite classy, and so different than the other cars on the grid. Good stuff!

  30. Article 15.2.4 The ‘spike’-style rollhoop has been banned for safety reasons.

    Is Mike Gascoyne playing with fire?

    1. What article 15.2.4 actually says is this:

      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.

      If you can prove the design infringes that rule, there’s grounds to complain.

  31. So we have a Renault with a huge Lotus logo on the nose and the word Lotus all over the rearwing… and a Lotus with a little logo on the nose and Airasia on the rear wing and the engine cover.

    You could argue that it was the same with Santander at McLaren and Ferrari, but considering the naming row, it does seem like Fernandez is hedging on loosing out. Or he thinks that in this stage he will get a better return on investment when he shows his own airline, then another ones brand.


    apart from that, a massive difference with last years car and as I mentioned before I really hope they can make a solid jump to midfield or even higher. Mike Gascoyne is not to be underestimated!

  32. I like that yellow stripe on the back!

  33. why they use split airbox? i think split airbox is banned for this season

    1. It’s thicker than what the Mercedes had so it’s legal.

  34. I heard somewhere that the front wing was flexing. did anyone get a close look at the front wing?

  35. I’m really loving the new Lotus.

    I’m a huge fan of F1 cars that have drooping noses, it’s such a shame that they were just on their way out when I first got into F1. So I was glad when McLaren brought them back in 2009 and equally glad Lotus have one now. They’re not quite the same, but they’ll more than do.

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