Lotus expect to use Coanda exhaust during race

2012 Korean Grand Prix

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Lotus technical director James Allison says the team expect to use their new Coanda exhaust during the Korean Grand Prix having evaluated it during practice on Friday.

“I think so, yeah,” he said during today’s Korean Grand Prix press conference when asked if the team will race the system this weekend. “We haven’t decided yet but it looks like we will.”

“We’re reasonably happy with the way they’re working,” he added. “I think we’re at the beginning of a relatively long road with them.”

“They’re not straightforward to make work first go out, but the numbers we’re getting from them are good so, yeah, quite pleased.”

Coanda system tested pre-season

Allison added the team originally looked at the solution before the season began, before opting to run with a conventional exhaust: “At the point where we were committing to what we were going to start the season with we had two parts: a Coanda part and what we chose which was a very simple exhaust which was there to optimise power.

“And at the time the Coanda solution was worth a little bit more theoretically than the power-maximising solution but you had to be confident that it was going to deliver all the downforce that it promised because you could be fairly certain that it was going to deliver all the horsepower loss that the more convoluted exhaust pipe requires.

“So if the downforce didn’t materialise you knew you were down on the deal. So where we were when we launched our car, that was a relatively finely-balanced decision. We launched with the simple thing.

“And then we got underway and have had a reasonably bright season and have been pretty competitive quite deep into the year. We kept working on the other solution because it was quite clear that was where the centre of gravity of opinion in the pit lane was, and also because it was a reasonably productive avenue back in the wind tunnel.

“It got to the point where the gain of the Coanda system was sufficiently far ahead of our previous race system that it was quite clearly something that we ought to look at both for this year and also to make sure we were doing the right thing for next year.

“So that’s pretty much the history of it. We probably could have committed a bit earlier but then things were going quite well on the track as well.”

DRS device is “really tricky”

Lotus spent several practice sessions evaluating a new DRS device but are yet to race it. Allison said they are not giving up on the design because of the potential benefit it offers.

“But that really is tricky – well we found it so, anyway,” he said. “And so we will keep working on that but you won’t see it as much on Fridays. We’re going to bring it out to play again at the Young Drivers’ Test and hopefully make a bit of progress there.”

Asked how the team could continue to improve the E20’s weaknesses, Allison said: “The same as anyone else, you just chip away at them. It’s an annoying sport, this, you think you’re making progress and then everyone else gives you a wake-up call.

“But we’ve got a good team back at the factory and a good team here at the track. We just keep working away at the things that aren’t so good and try to make the things that are good even better. It’s always the same job.”

2012 Korean Grand Prix

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    17 comments on “Lotus expect to use Coanda exhaust during race”

    1. I really like how open both Genii-Lotus and Renault have been about their workings this year. Nice to see this being talked about like it is.

      1. @BasCB It is really good. I’m just glad that despite all the Lotus sponsorship debacle they’re still able to work away and deliver a better car than last year.

    2. Well looking at the times of Lotus in P1 & P2 both are pretty much off color. I hope they were evaluating this new exhaust system and on heavy fuel loads. I would love to see Kimi doing winning Korean GP in Sunday..

    3. Something just doesn’t add up in Allison’s statement. He claims that Lotus had two exhaust lay-outs at the start of the season: a Coanda exhaust, that compromised power for a downforce gain, and the exhaust they have been running so far. At the beginning of the season, they made a trade-off and decided the power-exhaust was the way to go – so far so good.

      After a few races, many teams, including Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes and Force India, decided to switch to the McLaren style exhaust, Lotus being the exception. So, if they had the system already and they saw so many other teams tried the new exhaust and were very pleased with it, why didn’t Lotus switch to the new exhaust earlier? To at least give it a try during a Friday practice session?

      Another thing I don’t like about his statement is this: “We probably could have committed a bit earlier but then things were going quite well on the track as well.” This is Formula 1: you want to have the best car. And if there is a system that can make your car go even faster and might be able to challenge for victory, then that system will be tested.

      1. They were most likely seeing the problems that Red Bull (who ran a Coanda exhaust from day 1) had with fine tuning of the system. Ferrari struggled as well.
        So while their car was doing fine, scoring podiums early in the season, I think they didn’t want to risk ruining the balance of a car everybody thought was bound to win at least one race.
        And while it doesn’t look like a race winner anymore it’s still able to get respectable results, unless Grosjean decides to show how strongly build it is.

        Nevertheless they and Mercedes are a bit late on the fancy exhaust solutions. But I thought it made perfect sense to focus on other parts of the car first, before experimenting.

        1. But if they have designed the Coanda exhaust already, why didn’t they take the time to explore the possibilities during one of the many Friday practices or the test at Mugello?

      2. Is not really McLaren idea is it ? Think Sauber was first with that exhaust

        1. No: McLaren pioneered the idea of a gully behind the exhaust, and using the Coanda effect the exhaust plume would travel downwards. Sauber made their entire sidepods descending, creating a downwash in front of the exhaust. This downwash then met the exhaust plume, forcing it downwards. Later on, Sauber too copied McLaren’s exhaust.

      3. @andae23 I’m thinking that perhaps they were feeling quite reserved about it (and rightly so) after the failure that was their exhaust system last year.

    4. Is it just me, or does the amount of free space on the floor huuuggeeeee???

      1. @melkurion
        It does! Who said fast cars couldn’t be practical? I mean, you could easily tape a box of icecream onto it. And it will be softice when you get there. Perfect.

    5. Is it pronounced Co-anda or Coan-da?

    6. So they thought they were fast ENOUGH until the summer break. This is really shot on foot. They never fast enough. They weren’t able to win when they were front runners. Now they are slower than Ferrari and after long waste of time for DRD, finally the exhaust came out, which looks quite late for saving them.

      1. Sviatoslav Andrushko (@)
        12th October 2012, 16:03

        I believe they were fast enough for (at the very least) second in WCC. They are slower/below Ferrari because of reckless driving of The Grosjean.

    7. What I don’t understand is why is Kimi always the guinea pig? How many Friday’s has their No.1 driver lost in his first year returning to the the sport. Wouldn’t it of been more beneficial from a team perspective to alternate or give Grosjean the testing duties and let Kimi do his thing?

      1. Kimi got instinct feel for what works what doesn’t, with out analyzing data for hours.

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