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.”