The team which had been Renault changed identities over the winter of 2011/2012, meaning the Lotus E20 was the successor to the troubled Renault R31.
While its predecessor had gambled much on a radical front exit exhaust layout the 2012 was more conventional. Yet it proved quick enough to win a race and could have won more.
A suspension failure in pre-season testing was a cause for concern and the team lost several days of running. Nonetheless they turned up at the first race with one of the quickest cars – the team’s returning driver Romain Grosjean was only out-qualified by the McLarens.
The E20 proved particularly effective in hot conditions and on softer tyres. The team scored a double podium finish at Bahrain and the Hungaroring, then Kimi Raikkonen inherited a comeback victory when Lewis Hamilton retired in Abu Dhabi.
By this time the team had introduced 2012’s must-have feature – a Coanda exhaust – having abandoned an attempt to enhance its Drag Reduction System with an upgrade which was eventually scrapped.
Reliability proved another of the car’s strengths, allowing Raikkonen to finish every race and all bar one of them in the points. A rare failure occurred in Valencia on Grosjean’s car while he was running second.
In 2017 Robert Kubica drove the car in his first test following his 2011 crash.