Lotus plan fix for loss of straight-line speed

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Lotus will introduce an upgrade in Abu Dhabi this weekend which they hope will cure a key drawback of their recently-introduced Coanda exhaust.

The E20 has had poor straight-line speed since the team added its Coanda exhaust. Kimi Raikkonen was slowest through the speed trap in qualifying in India.

“We aim to introduce an exhaust pipe that keeps all of the Coanda downforce benefit, but sheds some of the horsepower penalty that we suffered with for our first iteration design,” said technical director James Allison.

Allison said this represents the team’s first attempt to reduce some of the power loss and they expect to find more: “It is not really the straight-line pace that is the issue as we can set that wherever we like simply by choosing the rear wing setting. It is the power that we need to recover.

“Our first version of the Coanda system is rather power-hungry. With Renault Sport’s help we expect to claw back around one third of the loss in Abu Dhabi, and would be able to get around half of the loss back eventually.”

Both drivers finished Sunday’s Indian Grand Prix stuck behind other cars which they struggled to pass due to the difference in top speeds.

“Unfortunately Kimi spent most of his race looking at the back of [Felipe] Massa’s car,” said Allison. “We briefly got past him at the pit stop but only to be overtaken in the DRS zone down the straight and then really sat behind him without the speed or power to overtake him again.

“Kimi could comfortably drop back and then come up behind Felipe, so it was clear we were definitely faster than the Ferrari. This confirmed that we had qualified somewhat put of position with both cars.

“Sadly, with the compound choices being so conservative at this race, it was very hard to build up the necessary head of steam to force an overtake.”

Lotus will test their ‘Double DRS’ upgrade again in the Young Drivers’ Test following this weekend’s Grand Prix, but Allison does not expect to use it in a race this year:

“Our plan is to work on understanding how to make it act in a sufficiently predictable manner to be deployable in a race. Given the difficulty we have experienced so far, I think it would be optimistic to see it used in anger this season, within the final races remaining.”

2012 Indian Grand Prix

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Image © Lotus F1 Team/LAT

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Keith Collantine
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10 comments on “Lotus plan fix for loss of straight-line speed”

  1. I’m glad they are going to fix the top speed issue because Lotus were really slow in india. One question though I thought Double DRS were banned next year or am I making up rules in my head?

    1. not passive f duct though….if they manage to make it works, it will be their secret weapon in 2013!!!

    2. No, indeed it will be banned as things stand AFAIK. At least the Mercedes concept.

      That’s why many were surprised Red Bull introduced it for the late season – but it is arguably a success for them. Although they deny it, one can see on the sector times with DRS and the top speed figures how it helped them tremendously in Korea. Top speed figures indicate it was more their excellent low speed grip which got them up to pace in S1 in India though.

      I think Lotus just wants to get the absolute most of the DDRS concept, that’s why they will test it once again. After all they invested a liberal amount of money, time, energy and focus in this project, the biggest one for them in 2012 – and it failed so far and probably cost Kimi the WDC.

      1. @atticus-2 Yep – they’re running more downforce which gives them better traction, and then using the more powerful DRS effect to offset that drag in qualifying

    3. The Lotus device isn’t a double DRS, nor is it an F-duct. DDRS is activated when the DRS is activated and is only useful during qualifying and in the DRS zones. The device that Lotus is developing is completely independent of the DRS and is passive so it can increase the top speed on any part of the circuit and would give a much greater benefit in race situations than DDRS. While the DDRS will be banned next season, Lotus’ device won’t be.

      1. Indeed. They call it DRD (drag reduction device), which, while still being confusingly similarly named, it is still a different name. The reason they haven’t raced it yet is because it is extremely hard to set up properly for different tracks. You don’t want it reducing your downforce on a fast corner like Eau Rouge or 130R, for example, but you would still like it to be effective on straights, some maybe slower than those corners.

      2. Oh, my bad.

        So Lotus is actually after something unique. And legal for 2013 as well as things stand.

        This makes it worth the fuss then.

        1. @atticus-2 Yep. Unfortunately the poor use of their terminology confuses things!

  2. it tooks newey half a season to maximize the coanda effect……glad to heard that 1/3 power can be recover with newer exhaust pipe.

  3. Hope this gets em their first victory

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