F1 »

Q&A - James Allison, Lotus

James Allison talks about the new Lotus E20 in his role as technical chief
Q:
How different is 2012 likely to be from 2011?

James Allison:
If you casually flicked through the regulations you'd be forgiven for thinking that there aren't many differences from last year, however nestling in there are some fairly profound changes. The most notable changes relate to the exhaust. The teams decided around Silverstone in 2011 that we were going to get rid of exhaust blown rear diffusers, and that point alone requires a very different design concept. Recent car designs have been heavily influenced by their rear exhaust configurations, and the intent of the rule is to stop that happening. The rules on the exhaust geometries themselves have been reinforced by some engine operation rules which don't sit in the technical regulations, but which arrived by Technical Directive quite late last year. The exhaust issue, although agreed in principle at Silverstone, continued to unfold as late as mid-November, so the challenge has been to roll with the punches as the detail emerged over a fairly extended period - trying to make the best of each version of the rules as they've come out, whilst trying to anticipate where the end position is going to be. It's certainly been an area which has preoccupied us and I imagine the rest of the grid too.

Q:
How much will the new regulations affect what we see on track?

James Allison:
Last year's cars had quite a variety of exhaust layouts, with differing levels of success. If the latest rules really have been successful in resetting the power of the exhausts to a much lower level, then that's an opportunity for a reshuffle of the pack.

Q:
What are your feelings on working with two new drivers for 2012?

James Allison:
Romain put in two very promising sessions at the end of last season, having not driven an F1 can for more than a year. He jumped in the car and was immediately competitive with our race drivers at the time, in a quite impressive fashion. I think that has gone a long way to getting him the ride for this year. So we're looking forward to a strong start with him. Kimi's recent test in Valencia with the R30 showed that he has lost none of his speed and that he is full of appetite for the season ahead. It is going to be great for us to work with a driver of such clear quality.

Q:
What is completely new and what is more familiar on the E20?

James Allison:
Depending on where you look, some parts of the new car are a ground-up redesign and in other areas we have further optimised the best bits of the design philosophy we've adopted for several seasons. As far as the exhausts are concerned, our forward exhausts would now be illegal under the new rules and didn't live up to our expectations in any case. So that part of the car we say goodbye to and welcome in a complete redesign. The front and rear suspension layouts are substantially revised to try and give us better aerodynamic opportunities. The front wing is a continuation of the concepts we have worked on since the 2009 rules were published. The rear wing system, we've continued to try to work on having a satisfactory level of rear downforce stability, whilst having a maximum DRS switching potential.

Q:
How much help is the team's enhanced 60 per cent windtunnel for developing the E20?

James Allison:
The 60 per cent windtunnel has allowed us to expand dramatically the realism of the tests that we perform in our windtunnel, so we get the car to more realistic steer and yaw values. Those are pretty fundamental things. That hopefully means that the car will be more tolerant of a wider range of cornering conditions.

Q:
How do you expect the E20 to perform?

James Allison:
We've worked hard and long on the car. We have tried to react to the regulatory picture as it's unfolded, but we will only really start to be able to judge how well we have done once we start to run the car in pre-season. Even then we won't really know until qualifying in Melbourne.

Q:
The testing schedule is rather different this year – nothing till February, then three tests followed by an in-season test at Mugello – does this make a difference?

James Allison:
The testing schedule with Mugello later on for this year gives us a fairly clear target mid-season. If there is anything particularly ambitious that we can't achieve at the start of the year, that is the point to aim for because it's our one opportunity to get a controlled test of an upgrade, rather than the type of compromised test when you run on a Friday.

Q:
There are 20 races scheduled and a test part-way through the year – how much of a challenge is this intensity for the season ahead?

James Allison:


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Lotus E20 [Pic credit: Lotus F1]
Alex Lynn (GBR) Lotus F1 E22 Test Driver.
26.11.2014.
Alex Lynn (GBR) Lotus F1 E22 Test Driver.
26.11.2014.
Alex Lynn (GBR) Lotus F1 E22 Test Driver.
26.11.2014.
Alex Lynn (GBR) Lotus F1 E22 Test Driver.
26.11.2014.
Esteban Ocon (FRA) Lotus F1 E22 Test Driver.
26.11.2014.
Esteban Ocon (FRA) Lotus F1 E22 Test Driver.
26.11.2014.
Esteban Ocon (FRA) Lotus F1 E22 Test Driver.
26.11.2014.
Esteban Ocon (FRA) Lotus F1 E22 Test Driver.
26.11.2014.
Esteban Ocon (FRA) Lotus F1 E22 Test Driver.
26.11.2014.
Esteban Ocon (FRA) Lotus F1 E22 Test Driver.
26.11.2014.
Esteban Ocon (FRA) Lotus F1 Team Test Driver.
26.11.2014.
Esteban Ocon (FRA) Lotus F1 Team Test Driver.
26.11.2014.
Esteban Ocon (FRA) Lotus F1 Team Test Driver.
26.11.2014.
Lotus F1 E22 steering wheel.
26.11.2014.
Esteban Ocon (FRA), Lotus F1 Team 
26.11.2014.
Esteban Ocon (FRA), Lotus F1 Team 
26.11.2014.
Esteban Ocon (FRA), Lotus F1 Team 
26.11.2014.

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.