New Lotus to be called the E20

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Lotus reveal their 2012 F1 car will be called the E20.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Lotus name F1 car after the factory (Reuters)

“The E20 car, to be unveiled online on February 5th before the first pre-season test in Jerez, will be the 20th that the Enstone facility has produced.”

Mercedes says test plan will pay off (Autosport)

Norbert Haug: “If you have half-a-year’s timeframe to develop a car, then 10 days can be crucial. That was our decision. We want to test the proper car, finalised in each and every detail. That’s why we need development time.”

Good luck to Jules Bianchi at the start of a new adventure! (Ferrari)

“As for Davide Rigon, he has recently extended his relationship with the Scuderia: the driver from Venice will be on call for the team for all racing and promotional activities also for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.”

Alan Baldwin via Twitter

Ferrari say Bianchi remains a member of their academy, just like Sauber’s Sergio Perez. On who will fill Ferrari reserve role, team spokesman adds: ‘Ferrari has no need to declare a third driver’.”

Mercedes AMG: KERS development (ScarbsF1)

Mercedes AMG now quote 24kg the entire KERS, much of the 3kg weight loss being down to the reduction in the heavy power cabling between these units. Not only is the packaging better, but the systems life and efficiency is too.”

Caterham CT01 fire-up (Caterham)

“Another important milestone in the life of CT01 was achieved today when the Renault Sport F1 engine was fired up for the first time at the factory in Hingham.”

Jake Humphrey via Twitter

“You’ll love our new opening titles this year. The Chain remains (obviously!) but the pictures change. We’ve done what many asked for…”

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

We’ve discussed the problems of increasing restrictions on car design recent. But, as Robbie points out, its not without some benefits:

While I hear what you are saying about homogenous cars, not ‘everything’ is banned, and I think in any series that has tight rules there is still room for new ideas… perhaps even more so the tighter they are, as teams scramble to outdo one another in small increments as the article suggests.

Unfortunately the other side of the coin is that left on their own the teams that have the most resources will continue to dominate, it becomes a money game which one could argue it still is, and we are left with a series that is always about only two or three teams as potential winners with everyone else left to never be able to catch up, especially in a global recession where sponsorship is so hard to come by that pay drivers who are only there because they have money and aren’t necessarily the best drivers available, are the norm.

And if lesser teams can never catch up, what is left to attract them to the sport? Major sponsors, fewer and fewer as they are these days, have to have a sense that within a reasonable amount of time their package might at least be fighting in the middle of the pack.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Hoshi!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

One year ago today we saw the first F1 car launch of the new season as Ferrari revealed their new car.

It was initially called the F150 but, following complaints by Ford who sell a pickup truck under the same name, Ferrari eventually changed its name to 150??? Italia.

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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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89 comments on “New Lotus to be called the E20”

  1. Didn’t Steve Owen used to run the E20 in Eastenders?

    E20? It’s Eastenders and also the new postcode for the 2012 Olympic Game’s village and park!

    1. Their reasoning does make sense – it’s the 20th year that the team has been at Enstone. But at the same time, they’ve made a big deal about how they are the natural and spiritual successors to Team Lotus, and part of that is naming the chassis in keeping with the old Lotus methodology, which means that the E20 would normally be known as the T134.

      1. Well said. You’ve encompassed everything I was thinking.

        1. I think that the Lotus name is just part of a temporary identitiy crisis. Although the team has been based at Enstone for twenty years, they don’t really have a name that fits them (though something like “Enstone Racing” would fit just fine). With Renault backing out and Genii unwilling to put their name to the team (for whatever reason; “Genii Racing” works just as well as “Enstone Racing”), they obviously need to call themselves something, and Lotus offers them that. But I think Group Lotus is really just something of a journeyman, and with an uncertain future, they’re trying to find something in the past for direction. I don’t think they will be around for a long time.

          What the team and Genii really should have done is what Virgin and Tony Fernandes did – find a relatively young or niche manufacturer, one that can gain as much from their association with the team as the team can get from them; the Lotus name has simply brought trouble down on their heads. Fernandes found Caterham, and he thinks there is an entire untapped market in Asia for them (he’s right). Virgin found Marussia, a young sports car manufacturer with money to spend (these days, Russia has more money than they know what to do with), who secured funding for the team until 2014 when they first bought into it. The team at Enstone really could have gone somewhere with a company like Koenigsegg or Mosler. But now they’re stuck wearing the skin of a team that died before they were even established, and so the whole thing feels fake.

          1. I think they’ve done alright getting the Lotus name, £20m sponsorship is one of the bigger deals in the sport.

          2. It seems here is some rumour about proton selling off lotus again… or may be not

            Anyways great to see Iceman back:)

          3. I think they’ve done alright getting the Lotus name, £20m sponsorship is one of the bigger deals in the sport.
            But what I’m wondering is whether it’s sustainable in the future. Lotus are paying the team £20m in sponsorship – but for how long will the cheques keep coming? Of course, you could reasonably ask a similar question of any young sports car company, but Koenigsegg or Mosler or whoever. But there is constant speculation as to the future of Group Lotus, and Dany Bahar’s grand plan of sponoring a team in every category he can think of is widely believed to be one of the worst possible decisions a company with a history of making a loss could ever propose, much less follow through on. I just think Enstone could have made a better choice in who they partnered with.

    2. Now that people have pointed out the eastenders link, I propose the new lotus car is officially nicknamed the ‘Rickaaaay.’

    3. FlyingLobster27
      28th January 2012, 11:39

      E20 sounds like biofuel to me.

      1. Who knows, maybe they wanted to do a bit of greenwash with the new car!

      2. E20 sounds like an old model of 3 series bmw…..
        Hang on, it is.

      3. it just gets more confusing….. do they even know who they are supposed to be anymore?

        1. @mike-e – I’d say they’re perfectly aware of who they are. The name “E20” was chosen for sentimental reaons – it’s “Enstone 20”, to commemorate twenty years at the Enstone factory.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys lotus-renault/renault/lotus with the new BMW e20 sporting the united colours of benneton with a proton badge on the front.

            I understand the E is for enstoneand its the 20th car they have produced, its just funnier if you imagine the staff are as confused as the general public about the whole affair.

  3. I 100% agree with the first paragraph of the COTD, but I don’t think the situation of 2 or 3 teams dominating the sport would be any different if we had more relaxed regulations…

    1. @Fer no.65 Absolutely agree, with the current restrictions vast amounts of money have to be spent looking for ever smaller advantages, less restrictions would allow designers more scope for simple solutions.

      1. I think if you graphed it the gap between the bigger and smaller teams would be directly related to how restrictive the rules are at any given time.

        1. In 2008, the rules weren’t as free as in the 70’s, yet the gap between the fastest car and the slowest was around 2 seconds.

          That’s really close… if the rules were more relaxed, the small team would be hundred miles away…

          1. That’s… kinda what I was implying…

            so… I agree! :D

  4. “Mercedes AMG now quote 24kg the entire KERS, much of the 3kg weight loss being down to the reduction in the heavy power cabling between these units. Not only is the packaging better, but the systems life and efficiency is too.”
    I saw a story yesterday where Marussia confirmed that they will be the only team without KERS in 2012. This seemed like madness to begin with, because KERS can give an extra half a second in lap time, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised there might be a method to it. Marussia are completely overhauling their car, both in terms of its design and how they actually go about designing it, so they’re really back to square one this year (thought the team itself has had two years in the sport, so they’re not compeltely without direction). KERS might offer half a second a lap, but but’s an extra 24kg of weight and is a complex system in its own right. Would the gain really be worth the added challenges that come with it? Marussia evidently think it’s not worth it for the time being, and I think that might actually be a wise move – a sign that they are finally moving in the right direction rather than treading anyone. I would certainly expect them to surpass HRT this year.

    I’ve also heard that they designed their 2012 car with an eye on where they want to be in 2014 (and may have even started preliminary work on the 2014 car) so that they can have a strong car for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix. Maybe they’ll come up with something interesting on the MR01 if they’re playing the long game.

    1. just the same as last year’s situation. Neither of the new teams decided to use KERS because of the costs it had: not only monetary ones, but development, reliability, packaging… and it really wasn’t the priority for them.

      I guess Marussia is continuing with that idea, as you say they are back to square one. They don’t stand a chance anyway, the better they can do is try not to break down too much and try to keep HRT behind.

      1. They don’t stand a chance anyway

        I think you’re under-estimating them. Pat Symonds reckons the VMR-02 had some good points, but was ultimately let down by poor aerodynamics. If they can sort that, then I think they can put themselves in the same position as Caterham were in last year – just needing a final push to break through to the midfield.

        1. I mean, they don’t stand a chance this year. Even if they make a miraculous recovery from the VMR-02, they will still be (in theory) no where near Caterham.

          Caterham had a solid car last year, even without KERS – they raced the midfielders for short periods too. Virgin were miles behind them…

          I saw what Symonds said, but the aerodynamics is the most difficult bit. And even more for Marussia, as they will just design their first F1 car using the wind tunnel as base, unlike previous years when they used Nick Wirth’s all-CFD approach.

          1. And even more for Marussia, as they will just design their first F1 car using the wind tunnel as base
            Symonds knows what he’s doing in that respect.

          2. Yeah, but he’s starting from scratch, really…

    2. @Prisoner Monkeys, I hope you are right, we know that 24 KG of fuel onboard significantly increases lap times ( I am assuming they can weigh less ?) KERS is a politically correct red herring which achieves nothing in the way of fuel efficiency, far better in 2014 to allow diesel as an alternative fuel.

      1. ( I am assuming they can weigh less ?)

        KERS is included in the overall minimum weight. Marussia will still need to include 24kg of what is effectively ballast, but the advantage is that they get to distribute it throughout the car.

        KERS is a politically correct red herring which achieves nothing in the way of fuel efficiency

        KERS was never intended to improve fuel efficiency. It is a regnerative brake, harvesting energy that would otherwise be wasted and re-using it. Because of the development work done on KERS, car manufacturers have an actual alternative to hybrids, one that is actually viable and less wasteful than actual hybrid designs (which still have the same wasted-energy problems that non-KERS cars have).

        1. I actualy agree with your actual reply. :P

        2. On a tangent to your comment, have you read up on the Holden Volt, it looks like electric cars are coming of age. Maybe it won’t be decades before we see that type of tech in F1.

          1. From 2014, all Formula 1 cars must use electric power in the pits. Although Jean Todt has established an electric-powered formula series, so we don’t need to worry about a future where Formula 1 cars run on electric power alone.

            Personally, I don’t think hybrid technology was ever sustainable, and that the rise of cars like the Prius was just a response to popular science and Hollywood liberalism – hybrids were made for people who wanted to be seen as environmentally-conscious, but never fully understood what it actually meant. It was a popular socio-political movement, that, like practically all popular socio-political movements, was ultimately very shallow. In the end, hybrids still had the same problems that non-hybrids had: they were wasteful, but they just tried to distract you from it with a temporary solution.

            When Formula 1 first annoucned that it was going to New Jersey, there was a bit of a backlash from environmental groups who took an instant dislike to the sport because it was motorsport. But I honestly think that environmental groups should embrace Formula 1 – because the sport is so competitive and because the teams push for whatever advantage they can get, and new technology is rapidly developed. It car manufactuers started working on KERS, it could be years before they perfected it. Formula 1 teams can do that in a matter of months. It won’t be long before we get biofuel and engines that can burn fuel cleaner and with the same efficency as we have now – and the sport won’t suffer from a lack of competition.

            Formula 1 might be motorsport, and it might involve burning vast amounts of fuel, but it’s done far more for the environment – and will continue to do so – than a bunch of left-leaning Hollywood elite ever will.

          2. @dvc Or it might sidestep F1. That is, after all, what Formula E is for.

        3. Marussia will still need to include 24kg of what is effectively ballast, but the advantage is that they get to distribute it throughout the car.

          Not really. With the 2011 and 2012 regs; the ballast will still be pretty much where the KERS would’ve been. The advantage is you could get a lower CofG by using something at the same weight; but denser (hence smaller) and a bit lower down. That way the other components could also move down and lower CoFG

          1. The 2011-12 regulations about weight distribution do not state where the weight specifically has to be – only that there is a ratio front to back. If Marussia do not use KERS, then they do not have to leave a space for it and then fill it in with ballast. They can simply design it without KERS or a space for a KERS battery, and then spread the ballast around as they like, provided that the car maintains the mandated ratio.

        4. I agree with you hybrid cars! Hollywood propaganda, speaking of which did you know a hybrid car leaves a bigger carbon footprint than a normal aspirated car! Barking up the wrong tree I say.

          1. KERS is nothing new, it took 105 years to reach F1 and is only there as some sort of green statement.


          2. did you know a hybrid car leaves a bigger carbon footprint than a normal aspirated car!


            Anyway no hybrids, why compromise (it’s like a horse and cart boosted with a combustion engine), given another 10 years at the current development rate (if maintainable) electric will out perform fossil fuel (over a 1.75 – 2 hour period), that does not mean it will be more environmentally friendly, performance has a cost, pure and simple.

    3. To be honest, I think Marussia is in a similar position to where Caterham was, one year ago. I think this year the aim so be to nip at the hells of the midfield.

      HRT on the other hand just needs to survive another year.

    4. I think you might be right there @prisoner-monkeys, after all, Red Bull showed at the start of last year, that a car that does not have KERS in it but a superbly aerodynamics concept can win over a KERS car.
      The point of losing out at the start that was important for Red Bull (as they were dropping from 1st row to 3-4th row), but Virgin will never fall back more than 2 places at the start as things stand currently.

      And it might be that not having KERS will give them a tad better reliability over Caterham.

  5. ‘Ferrari has no need to declare a third driver’

    So is ‘reserve driver’ not an actual FIA thing then? When you need one, do you just find the nearest guy with a super license, and ask Ron if you can borrow Pedro?

    Renault had 4 last year, Ferrari have none, and Red Bulls was nominally DC I believe?

    1. I think that’s right. You can put anyone in the car who happens to be present and has a Super License so long as you haven’t used your maximum number of drivers for the season already.

    2. @gridlock the Renault reserve last year was Senna. They had 4 in 2010; not in 2011. Ferrari for the past few years have had Marc Gene and Luca Badoer as reserve drivers; and Red Bull had Ricciardo last year and the year before as reserve. DC was the 2009 reserve.

    3. Mercedes had no official third driver last year.

  6. ShaneB457 (@shaneb12345678910)
    28th January 2012, 0:20

    I really hope the lotus team produce a fast car for 2012..I’d love to see Kimi on the podium in the near future..

    1. It’s probably going to be an uphill battle. Although the finished the 2011 season fifth, they were probably sixth on the road behind Force India. I can’t see Red Bull or McLaren rescinding first and second, while Ferrari have now gone three seasons without a constructors’ title (and four without a drivers’), so they’ll be pushing hard to reclaim their glory. And then Mercedes are still trying to break into the front end of the field, while Force India has steadily climbed up the ranks since 2008. Maybe one of those teams will drop the ball completely, but I can’t see any more than one of them screwing up. So unless the Lotus E20 is a phenomenal car, the team is going to have their work cut out for them. They’re probably going to need the third-best car on the grid for Raikkonen to be able to push for a podium.

      1. Don’t forget they are going to massively benefit from the EBD ban; as their EBD was the most prima donna-like of the entire grid. And never count out something special from Kimi at Spa

        1. Don’t forget they are going to massively benefit from the EBD ban

          Only if the only thing that changes between 2011 and 2012 is the ban on exhaust-blowing. And we already know that is not true.

          And never count out something special from Kimi at Spa

          I wouldn’t call driving outside the boundaries of the track at La Source “special”. Besides, he’s admitted that he’s going to be fighting in the midfield. While he does have the ability to drive a car beyond its means, I don’t think he has that ability on the same level as Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton.

          1. Lewis – yes, Fernando – even more so. But with Seb you went too far. Whether he actually has the ability, remains to be seen. Opportunistic pole and win at Monza in TR doesn’t really prove. Lewis and Kimi scored wins and podiums in their 2009 crap-cars, Fernando almost stole the 2010 title with a car not even close to RB for the most part of the season. That’s what I call “to drive a car beyond its means”.

          2. Whether he actually has the ability, remains to be seen.

            I direct your attention to Australia 2011. Vettel was eight-tenths of a second faster than everyone else in qualifying alone, which suggests that he can indeed drive the car beyond its limits – unless you’re one of those people who believe that Red Bull secretly sabotage Mark Webber’s chances.

            But the point here is not whether Vettel can do it – it’s whether Raikkonen can. And I don’t think he can on the same level as some of the other drivers. I don’t think podiums are a realistic goal for him.

          3. How about the rest of the 2008 season, when he finished in the top 6 on 6 occasions other than his victory, or his 4th at China the year before?

            Admittedly he hasn’t had as much chance to show what he can do in bad cars as other drivers have done, but that’s hardly his fault is it?

          4. I didn’t say he can’t do it – I just said that he can’t do it on the same level as some other drivers on the grid.

    28th January 2012, 0:21

    All year I’m still going to call this a Renault and the Caterham a Lotus, I’m just a creature of habit.

    1. It’ll be interesting to see if Tyrrell can catch the top 3 teams. They all have their work cut out to catch Stewart though.

      1. I got a good laugh out of that! +1 sir!

      2. Thanks for the diaphragm work out in the morning ;)

    2. Renault? Don’t you mean Toleman? :)

  8. Man that R30 looks good in Lotus livery!

    1. It looked much better in the yellow and black though (in my opinion)!

  9. Hopefully Mercedes know what they’re doing by skipping some of the precious few days of testing they have. They need to deliver, and I hope they do, for many reasons.
    A competitive Merc this year would do the sport some real good. Not only would a return to the front for Schumacher pique the public’s interest, but we’d get to see how Nico Rosberg would fare fighting with Alonso, Seb et al.
    The most important reason a competitive Mercedes would be good, in my view is that it would stop, or at least stave off any ideas the Mercedes board of management would have of leaving F1. I’m not suggesting there is talk of this, but you have to feel that it’s only a matter of time before the powers that be at Merc start looking at the investment made and see no return in silverware.
    The last thing F1 needs is another major manufacturer leaving.

    1. Hopefully Mercedes know what they’re doing by skipping some of the precious few days of testing they have.

      I’m guessing they want to evaluate the new Pirellis on a platform they understand. Pirelli have revised their tyre compounds, so that the performance gap is now much closer compared to what it was in 2011. They’ve also changed the structure the tyre and the composition of the actual rubber.

      Mercedes already know everything there is to know about the W02. They know how it handles, how it behaves, and how it responds to tyre wear. So if they run it with the new Pirellis, the differences in performance withh present themselves, and they will be able to work out how the new tyres behave without having to first decipher the technical data on the W03.

  10. thanks for the shoutout…i hope all the F1Fanatics around the world have a great day today..

  11. I just found this: Hermann Tilke’s latest project, Motorpark Chile.

    But before there is uproar over how terrible the circuit looks, this isn’t being designed for Formula 1 – it’s for MotoGP. I’m posting it because I’ve spoken to some MotoGP fans, and they’ve actually responded quite well to it. I guess it’s proof that the elements that make a good Formula 1 circuit are wildly different to the elements that make a good MotoGP circuit.

    1. to be honest it looks nothing like Tilkes usual work.

      If anything it reminds me of the old Portugese circuit combined with Catalunya.

    2. @Prisoner-Monkeys Hit the nail on the head there PM, I believe Tilke himself said something along those lines in his F1 Racing mag article this month..

  12. Not an F1 release, but a video of the new Toyota TS030 for the round up.
    I love the sound when the V8 kicks in!

    1. And who says electric cars sound dull?

      1. Thanks @keithcollantine I need to check the forum more often!

  13. Ferrari don’t need to announce a third driver! They have Kimi & Schumi out there.

  14. “You’ll love our new opening titles this year. The Chain remains (obviously!) but the pictures change. We’ve done what many asked for…”

    What is Sky going to use?

    I’d suggest this, Cold War by Janelle Monáe.

    1. Oh god I hope not! :D

      I dunno, I reckon hippie music like pumped up kicks would suit it better.

    2. I don’t really mind what Sky use, but anything’s better than The Chain. I’m sick of hearing it now.

    3. @prisoner-monkeys That wasn’t half as bad as I was expecting it to be, apart from the beat it doesn’t really scream ‘F1’ to me though.

    4. they should use slayers angel of death

      1. @mike-e I’ll go for that.

  15. I always thought Pitpass were an extension of Bernie.
    At least Mike Lawrence isn’t

    1. Then again, last year Bernie got a lot of publicity and in the end money for nothing… So maybe this collum does say everything Bernie wants to say but can’t…

  16. It blows me away what little on-track testing time F1 teams have – even with the miserly increase these year. Incredible what these guys can achieve in their factories. And, knowing this, it is equally amazing when a team gets it so wrong, like when Virgin’s petrol tank was found to be too small at the beginning of the 2010 season.

    Keith, how about a piece on such design blunders over the years? You could include radical innovations which were immediately banned perhaps, thus costing a team rather than providing an advantage.

    And then, maybe, a sister article on design innovations which changed championships, such as Brawn’s double diffuser in 2009?

    Both these articles would be very topical as it is being frequently mentioned these days that F1 teams seem to be locked into such tight restrictions that innovation actually seems to be discouraged.

    1. +1 great idea

    2. The teams cover as much if not more mileage in testing than they do in the races.

    3. @shimks A while ago we had a series on design innovations that were banned: turbo engines, four-wheel-steering, gas turbine engines, active suspension and lots more. Find it here:

      May well be doing something again in the future.

      1. Great, thanks Keith.

  17. The E20 makes me think of Eastenders. Yes, I know I’m pathetic! :P

  18. I thought E20 stood for the 20th time Eric Boullier had changed his mind.

  19. I think its a nice idea to name the car that E20. Be proud of being the same team based in Enstone, and having achieved a lot of wins and championships in the past decades!

    It helps in taking away the feeling that they are just trying to hike on the chapman aera success of Lotus. And it helps in not increasing the complexity of Toleman/Bennetton/Renault/Lotus vs. Team Lotus vs. RenaultF1 vs. Lotus Racing/TeamLotus/Caterham.

  20. Wonder if Ferrari will follow their normal pre-session testing routine, 10 zillion laps, the most laps of any team and Mclaren the least.

    Quantity vs Quality.

    In the last two years quality has won twice.

  21. Yeah, the E20 was Kimi’s favourite bar whenever he was in the East End of London. LOL!

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