Lotus E20 launch, 2012

Lotus E20 launch – first pictures of Lotus’s 2012 F1 car

2012 F1 cars

Posted on

| Written by

The Lotus E20, the team’s 2012 F1 challenger, has been revealed today.

The team which competed as Renault in 2011 has changed identities and has an all-new driver line-up for this season.

The E20 will be raced by Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean. Raikkonen will be first to drive the car in testing at Jerez in the coming week.

Lotus were known to have been working on a reactive ride height system for the E20, which they tested on its predecessor in Abu Dhabi last year. However the system was banned by the FIA last month.

Lotus E20 pictures

Lotus E20 video

2012 F1 cars

Browse all 2012 F1 cars articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

123 comments on “Lotus E20 launch – first pictures of Lotus’s 2012 F1 car”

  1. beautiful car. Lotus shows aesthetics and the bump in the nose can come together.

    1. I agree. The perfect middle ground between the mclaren and the ct01

      1. But which will be more effective?

    2. The colour does help a bit to mask the bump, though.
      I still agree.

    3. Agreed, very good job from Lotus, Ferrari is the ugliest so far. McLaren the most beautiful.

      1. am i losing the plot and seeing senna in the computer rendered images of the car?

        ill confess ive had a few beers this afternoon so might be seeing things…..

      2. Lotus for sure have the best looking ‘stepped’ nose so far. The reason the Ferrari is so ugly is because its so much more aggressive. If we could get a side by side of all the noses, would be good to see the different heights and angles used.

        1. Also, just noticed with the 2009 car in the video, so many of them had low noses back then. Any particular reason why?

          1. @ivz
            The low noses were used to create downforce themselves. Raising the nose became important after the diffusors were cut, and double diffusors banned alltogether, to get the most possible amount of air underneath the car and generate downforce at the back.

  2. Best looking car so far! Stepped noses don’t have to be ugly, as Force India and now Lotus have shown us. I just hope we get no nonsense surrounding this team this year. I’ve had to forgive them a few times now, but I suppose I can give them another chance! Let’s have a controversy-free season, Lotus!

    1. Indeed, it is a very nice looking car.

      I just hope its good on fast tracks so Kimi can do something great at Spa again (wishing for a Kimi, Schumacher, Alonso finish there, that would be one awesome podium).

    2. I don’t think any of the cars are ugly this year even if they are not what we would design. I think everyone has a new season sugar rush.

      That being said wth is that attached to the tea tray? obviously it must be an aero device but no other team has one, or no other team has shown they have one yet. Is that even legal? If so why has no one built so heavily under the tub before?

    3. I really like your positive attitude, @damonsmedley .

      I have to admit that I’m not too optimistic about Lotus’s ability to avoid further controversies as well as their chances of getting good results in 2012. But I fully agree with you about the look of the car. In my opinion, this is the only 2012 nose (so far) that could be described as ‘sexy’.

      1. Lotus have also produced the best launch video so far! We get a good look at the car, the team, and discussion on design of the car in person.

        1. Their marketing/PR team seems to be really making an effort recently. The official Twitter feed is very personal and they tend to reply to everyone, as well as compose humourous tweets. They’re trying to become the “fun” team that doesn’t take themselves too seriously, in my opinion. And that’s a good thing.

  3. Cars are getting more and more alike I hope that we wont see this on future years.

    1. More like Indy cars than formula one cars.

  4. Great video with the launch. I think I’m getting used to the noses now. Looks alright…not as nice as the McLaren though.

    1. I have the same feeling, I’m getting used to it now. Apart from McLaren, this is the best looking car so far. I hope it’s good enough to give Mercedes and perhaps Ferrari a hard time.

    2. I think the livery helps mask it as well as the fact that the bulges flow down to the lower front far more regularly than with either the FI and certainly the Caterham.

      Looks quite ok to me.

  5. UNeedAFinn2Win
    5th February 2012, 16:18

    Nice..r, I guess.

    Just can’t get behind the team, past few years soured it too much for me.

    But good for Kimi, glad he’s back.

  6. Beautiful car hope they do well this year :)

  7. Lovely car. The dark paint job does miracles with the car. It’s still not that bad looking anyway!

    Like it!

  8. Stepped nose looks OK on this one.

  9. Kimi smiled !!!! :)

    1. He was fantasising about getting away so he could have a ****.

      1. Nevertheless, a smile is a smile.

      2. tbh i’m sure that was the robot version of kimi the real kimi is most likely down the pub ….. i do like the car and with 3 more launches tomorrow then testing this week hi 5 f1’s here for 2012 !!

    2. Free champagne maybe?

    3. so what if he did?
      Am i the only one annoyed by all this worshipping every thing Kimi does nonsense
      He smiled so whats the big deal??

      1. Its a joke on Kimi’s lack of emotion

  10. SennaNmbr1 (@)
    5th February 2012, 16:23

    Paint job helps the nose IMO. Nothing to dissimilar to Force India’s solution though. McLaren still my favourite so far.

  11. not a bad looking car. well done.
    now, let’s bring Raikko to the top!

  12. Indeed, in black the stepped nose doesn’t look as bad as in FI or SF. Still not in McLaren’s league in the looks category.

    1. It’s not only the black paintjob; the step is much more smooth and the fact that the noose in the front is much thicker helps alot. I would certainly not call this a crocodile nose or something like that.

  13. The Lotus looks very nice actually, the ‘step’ on the nose isn’t very noticeable. The best looking ‘Prost car’ along with the Force India but still not as good as a the McLaren.

  14. Lotus was prettier last year only it was a Renault as the Lotus last year was ugly but not as bad as the Lotus this year which is Caterham wait, I’ve confused myself-what car is this? :P

    I actually don’t like the stepped nose as much on the Lotus as I do the FI but it’s still one of the prettiest cars so far. FI has been my favourite so far though and Mclaren least. I’m still recovering from PTSD after seeing the Ferrari though.

  15. Rules are rules.

  16. hmmm. so mclaren are the only team thus far without this horrid stepped nose? given my teams history, this might be the beginning of another disastrous season! !

  17. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    5th February 2012, 16:35

    I just hope that “looks fast” and “is fast” can be the same during the season. Good luck for Kimi and Romain

  18. That looks quite good! If all the cars were to have “normal” noses like they had last year with this one as an exception, I think none of us would have really complained!

  19. The car looks rather boring to me. For the most part an R31 with a slightly tighter rear, moved exhausts and new nose.

  20. This actually looks nicer than the McLaren, and the livery’s handled a lot better than in 2011. Good job Lotus :)

    1. All Lotus need to do now is colour the red endplates black.

  21. Snore…

    And the livery still looks more like a Wolf.

  22. Pretty nice. As mentioned above, the “step” on this car is not nearly as glaring as on some others.

  23. Jonny has ridiculous sideburns…

  24. Looks brilliant. Not sure if I’m getting used to the noses already but I really like it!

  25. Glad they got rid of that massively oversized Lotus badge. It’s probably the nicest stepped nose we’ve seen so far too.

  26. Thoughts on the livery…

    The good:
    – The over-the-top Lotus branding has been toned down (five huge ACBC badges, especially the gigantic one on the nose, was too much)
    – The gold lines are less bulky and taper off nicely towards the rear end
    – The bigger splash of gold on the nose and front wing

    The bad:
    – They’ve gone back to the dull, brown-y gold that they started 2011 with after scrapping it for a more pleasant JPS yellow gold mid-way through the season
    – The stupid red endplates. WHY CAN’T YOU BLEND IT IN, LIKE ON THE RED BULL? Gross.

    1. It’s really an uninspired livery.

      You can forgive Ferrari considering their history, but look at what Force India did. It blows this out of the water.

  27. I like this car a lot. Being a Lotus fan, you’d expect me to say that, but I genuinely do. Though, hopefully, the car isn’t just a “pretty face” and actually works.

    I have my fingers crossed.

  28. Looks thoroughly conventional, which after last year’s car is probably a good thing for them.

    The red endplates are still hateful though.

    1. agreed…and the gold striping too wide… :)

      1. Still can’t understand why RBR can change the background of Total plates and Lotus can’t

        1. contract issues I think

          1. Well I hope it at least comes with extra money.

    2. Didn’t mind the red endplates last year, don’t mind them now. If anything they look good, adds some variety. But it’s all down to opinion I guess…

      1. Yeah, I don’t mind them, either. Then again I didn’t like that yellow Renault livery everyone raves about, so there’s no accounting for taste!

        1. @Roald @AKA_Robyn I agree with you both. I’m not actually a fan of the Lotus livery (mainly because I know the story behind its usage), but I’ve seen Photoshops of the endplates in black, and I think it looks much worse that way. I think the red helps the livery considerably.

  29. Not bad looking, although I still think the livery is clumsy. It should have thinner stripes and no red. Perhaps a less metallic black too. I’d rather see it in yellow again, but I guess that would now be even less appropriate than this JPS one is.

  30. On the basis of what Helmut Marko is quoted as saying in Bild, it seems the RB8 nose might end up looking a bit like this one, with the “step” part of the nose being “smaller and more elegant.” I think E20 nose looks pretty good, all things considered!

    1. I was just thinking this, and came on here to say, I would not be surprised if the RB8 is most similar to the Lotus E20 nose.
      Maybe the RB8 is even more ‘elegant’? We will soon find out.
      Still eagerly awaiting an article by Keith to show all the noses in contrast to eachother, will be really interesting! Wish we could also find out how each differs with drag vs downforce.

      As for the Lotus, I think it will be one of the better looking cars. It for sure was one of the best looking in the flesh last year in Melbourne!

  31. Nice explanation of the new nose regulations in that video.

  32. I’m glad they’ve gone back to the gold instead of that horrible cream they changed it to half way through last season. As most people are saying though… The lines are too thick and the red isn’t needed.

    1. @jezson I’ve said the exact opposite a few comments back. ;)

      Honestly, I thought the cream/yellow/gold of last season was much better than this ‘orrid blingy brown-gold, and much closer to the original JPS liveries of the 70s and 80s. This doesn’t look anything like what it’s trying to emulate.

      1. @jonchuckle – Thats fair enough. Personally, I think the goldy gold goes better with the black… And even the red.

        I think they changed the colour twice last year. The final cream, boardering white colour was the worst.

        1. In brighter light, it’s cream!

  33. Good job new nose not bad at all

  34. I am still waiting for the RB8 to see where the master goes with nose.

    1. I fully expect RedBull to go with the stepped nose…just have to trust mclaren know what they’re doing with theres!

  35. Redbull tomorrow!

  36. Looks like Total remains unrelenting in their need for a red background on the endplates. Car could look 10X better if they were gold and black like the rest of the car.

    This team hasn’t had a beautiful livery since the R26.

  37. Lotus E20 looks aggressive. Those pictures are aggressive:

    1. Those Pictures are PR twaddle shot in ways to show you el zilcho technical innovations but at the same time make you go oooooo it’s all sideways!

      1. Exactly, You can see little, or at least it is very hard to see much of value.

        The low close shots irritate me greatly. I understand hiding things but unless it turns out to be a revolutionary car I think that it’s just unnecessary.

  38. Gav (@foxtrotoscar21)
    5th February 2012, 17:51

    The best car launched so far closely behind the Force India. Nice work. Great video clip too. Hope it sounds as good as last years – I loved the sound of their engine.

    1. Gav (@foxtrotoscar21)
      5th February 2012, 17:52

      behind?! I meant FI behind the Lotus!

      1. Wow really?

        I think it’s really ugly, the lines are all over the place, fitting the chassis in no way, and the shape is truly boring.

        I think this is well behind the FI, and behind the Macca and Caterham as well.

  39. I Love The Pope
    5th February 2012, 17:59

    Looks like a car and a couple of drivers who will finish fifth at best!


  40. Pretty agressive….Nicely done..
    Car looks Monstrously Good…
    Good Luck to Lotus Hopefully will be quick enough for Kimi to shine…

  41. Like it!

    It’s quite a smart livery as well as it makes the front section not look bad. Now make me proud on the track!

  42. The livery is still suffering because of the Total red endplates, but has been improved in other areas, for example the huge Lotus logo from the nose is gone, and there are loads of new gold sponsors to cover the car. I

    And the car itself looks good, on a par with the Sahara Force India, but not quite as clean as the Mclaren.

    Really looking forward to seeing the RedBull, I suspect a step-nose too.

  43. Everybody is going on about how nice it looks…and I agree, it doens’t look half bad.

    But on the innovation side, I’m as dissapointed by this as I was with the mclaren. Looks like they’ve tried to copy the RB7 style sidepods, but haven’t managed to get them quit as small. And the exhausts are bretty basic, centre line…

    Ferrari offcourse have gone the farthest so far with innovation, but the Force India with it’s undercut sidepods alo looks like a big step forward from it’s predeccesor. Same goed for the Caterham. The Mclaren to me looks very conventional, no more then an upgrade of last years car.

    And the E20 looks….just kinds middle of the road basic F1 car, lets not try anything tricky…

    1. Force India with it’s undercut sidepods alo looks like a big step forward from it’s predeccesor. Same goed for the Caterham. The Mclaren to me looks very conventional, no more then an upgrade of last years car.

      lol, how can you say that… Mclaren and FI have the same undercut sidepods, you can’t make one statement for one and the opposite for the other.

      PS what innovation on the Ferrari?

      1. front susspention, the combination of engine and coolling exhaust on the ferrari and the radical square nose.

        And FI has a much different undercut to the MP4/27. just look at the details from he back.

        Also, mclaren (as stated by the team itself) was closely based on last year’s car, the FI though is a new concept from it’s predeccesor. DOn’t get me wrong, the Mclaren will probably be the faste rof the two. But after the u-shaped sidepods of last year I was hoping for something more spectavular than the MP4/27 …

  44. FlyingLobster27
    5th February 2012, 18:22

    Not bad. The step has had time to soak in a little since those first Caterham pics, and Ferrari has just made everything else look decent.

    Seems the regs since 2009 are all about making F1 cars look badly proportioned in the wing department. Now, not only do we have a front wing that’s wider than the car when looked at from the front, but also a gharial nose when looked at from the side. But from any other angle, these new noses don’t look unlike the lower noses from 2010, or the HRT nose from last year, so they’re not all that shocking. Except Ferrari’s.

  45. Updated the gallery with some more pictures and also some renderings, though the latter aren’t particularly high-quality.

  46. Still fugly IMO. but that’s the rules for ya.
    Mclaren may pay the price for keeping the nose “smooth”.
    But like all teams, we know they have continuous on-going dev for replacement parts, so this could (will) all change.

  47. Well that’s not too bad looking actually. I fear we are going to get used to the step noses just the way that we have gotten used too the massive front wings and tiny rear wings. That’s not a good thing I’m affraid.

  48. Wow, the livery looks great in those close-up shots under the lights, very pretty car.

  49. Looks pretty basic to me. I have the same feeling I had when looking at last year’s Ferrari. Too conventional…

    1. exactly my thoughts

  50. 4th car with step nose ridiculous, Mclaren 100% classic.

  51. Beautiful car. Should be interesting. The Enstone team seem pretty capable and skillful. Just the results missing. Hopefully that can change. Wouldn’t bet against atleast 1 podium for them this year.

  52. I don’t think it looks bad… this & the Force India have probably the best looking versions of the stepped nose so far (although I think the black on the Lotus masks the effect a bit). The Mclaren definitely has the most cohesive design by far, IMO. It seems a lot of folks assume that because McLaren don’t have the ugly nose, they’ll be slow: I don’t agree. Their nose is very similar to the one on last year’s car & that one performed great (& if I remember correctly, when it was launched quite a few people laughed at the long, low design). They should already have a good idea of the flow characteristics of it, rather than those just trying out the stepped nose. I’m just speculating, of course, but it seems logical that their learning curve will be less steep. I hope the performance gap between the top four teams will be less this year though, so rather than watching a parade for most of the events we’ll actually be treated to some RACING at the front.

    1. Actually the fight between the top four bothers me. I just cannot see cars as radically different as MP4-27 and F2012 going through the season with similiar performance levels.

      As some knowledgeable people on the matter pointed out, Ferrari gave themselves mother of a challenge to make front pull-rods work. It’s insanely great that they went all in on radical innovation, gives a great perspective for the mixed season.

      Sorry for going off-topic. As for E20, well… Do conventional mean bad? It looks good and sorted, i like the livery although i was quietly hoping for some radical shot in this area, i.e. matte pitch black instead of glossy metallic. As i can see from Kimi’s hat, the rubbish red is here to stay as a part of this new livery. I suppose the two-tone livery is not an option in Enstone.

      1. I don’t think conventional means bad at all… just like radically new doesn’t mean automatically good either. A perfect example is last year’s McLaren: their radical side pods seemed to work, but their complex exhaust didn’t even complete any worthy test miles without breaking. As always, different designers will come up with different concepts within the rules. As previous seasons in F1 has shown us, there are more than a few ways to skin the same cat :)
        It’ll be interesting to see if any of the remaining teams opt against the stepped nose concept though, as well as seeing if the pull-rod front will pay dividends for Ferrari. If it does, that’ll be one advantage that the competition won’t be able to copy easily.

  53. peru-kowalsky
    5th February 2012, 19:21

    very beautiful f1 car, even with the step nose. I imagine it will be fast in the hands of kimi. A team and a driver that could capture my imagination if i was a little younger. But an exciting prospect nevertheless.
    Go kimi, and please don’t change too much so we can keep loving you.

  54. faith in 2012 grid look restored!

  55. I think RB will look more similar to Lotus & Mercedes AMG more of a mclaren thats my prediction.

  56. What a stunning looking car! They’ve made the best job so far of the ‘Prost’ nose, and the front wing elements looks great in black and gold.

    Having said that, for me this team will always harbour the bitterness of stealing away the Lotus brand for Tony Fernandez’ team, and great looking or not, I hope it’s slow as hell :(

  57. Beautiful car I’d say too. Good job done by the engineering squad from Enstone. But, I’m afraid that this car will have loose rear in fast corners. With McLaren you never know, even they themselves, don’t know sometimes. So far, I think, quickest car should be Force India. We’ll see, it will be interesting for sure…

  58. The best nose sight i think.Presentation was not what i expected but i’m happy with the display of the car.We see the real performance in Melbourne,pre season tests can’t give us certainly who has the best package but thats good to see the cars on the track.
    I hope that car has a good potential.

  59. I like it, however it doesn’t seem to have any of the features others have gone for (other than maintaining the nose as high as possible) to get the rear DF back. Maybe its the colour but those sidepod don’t look slim and theirs no big undercut.
    Maybe their trickery is not visible, looks a safe but not a quick design to me, time will tell.

    1. I can’t resist the feeling these are last year’s sidepods.

      1. I was looking at that video thinking “they’re awfully liberal showing details”. If they were showing a car with old design features, that might explain why.

  60. Very nice, nice smooth, elegant shape with some very good features. Gold and Black livery is also perfect, this year will hopefully be a lot better for Lotus-Renault, Lotus should aim for podiums,

  61. I’m not a fan. It’s just last year’s car with a new nose.

  62. By the way, I wouldn’t judge the tone of gold in the livery, as I noticed there are yellow/orange lights pointed straight on the car. The effect would be much more brown-orange tone of gold instead of bright, a bit milky tone used last year.

  63. looks like the virgin nose from 2010

  64. as much i would think, Ferrari have presented one of their first step-up nose designs. heard they will have their first upgrades at the start of the season – they’re hiding something. hmmm…

  65. Too many oddly-shaped black bits on the front wing for my liking.

    Same with the interviewer’s face, but that’s another matter…

    The fiddly bits on the front of all the new cars look a real mess to me (like the side of the 2008 cars). It means more bits to break off, ruining the cars’ delicate balance. They end up on the track too, which always seems such a lame reason to bring out the safety car.

  66. Car looks alright Not aggressive enough on the sidepods in my opinion. It’s the one area where there’s still scope to exploit in the current regulations would have liked to see a more under cut design to aid air flow to the back of the car. On a different note, @keithcolantine please sort out the mobile version of the website please. It loads up the desktop version on mobile devices. Love check the website on the go, haven’t been able to lately.

  67. I think it looks pretty nice but will it be quick? The stepped nose has me in two minds and until they hit Q3 in Aus we won’t really know if Mclaren have got it right or the others with the stepped nose. My thoughts are that Mclaren have a philosophy with the lower nose and therefore know how to get the airflow right under the nose. I am presuming at this stage it may well end up giving them and advantage. Can’t wait for the Red Bull but don’t expect anything to be shown that’s innovative this is F1 and they are all good at playing poker.

    1. It is my belief that Mc have always run the lower nose philosophy the noses on both the mp4-25 and 26 where quite a lot lower than those of the other teams. Mc didn’t really have to alter the nose/bulkhead that much to make it comply with the 2012 regs as last years car was fairly close to begin with.

      If you look at pics of any Mc car for the last 3 or 4 years you will notice it has a snow plough looking device beneath the driver and just back from the front wing pylons this is the sloution they use that enables then to run the low nose. Being as how they have been doing this on there cars for some time now i can’t see it causing them any issues.

      I think it is quite likely that neither design will prove to be wrong

  68. TV! Off topic a little, but has anyone noticed the ‘F1 on the BBC in 2012’ list on the revised BBC F1 website? It seems to suggest that ALL races will be shown live online!?……. Check out the last 2 bullet points.

    Lotus looks good by the way, best ‘stepped nose’ yet.

    1. Tom (@tomforpresident)
      6th February 2012, 9:22

      I think they are referring to their live text commentary.

  69. Though McLaren is still the best,Lotus did a great job on their car i will put Lotus to 2nd place

  70. Actually, from that penultimate shot, from the front, the nose and cockpit are strange. But overall it’s a very nice car.

  71. I like it quite a lot actually. I’m just catching up on a few articles but already the stepped nose on the E20 actually looks like a design feature rather than a last minute adjustment.

    Thanks for the video, Keith. I missed the launch so it was good to watch it back in full.

Comments are closed.