Team Lotus' new Renault-powered T128 challenger can help to vault the ambitious Anglo/Malaysian outfit up the pecking order to such an extent that it will be vying with rivals that were 'a second or two ahead of us last season', confident team members have predicted.

The aggressive-looking, green-and-yellow liveried contender was unveiled to the world today [see separate story - click here], and key players from the aerodynamics, design, R&D and vehicle dynamics departments are convinced that thanks to the months of hard work that have gone into it, the T128 will firmly establish the latest incarnation of Team Lotus as one of the sport's genuine midfield competitors in only its second season on the grid.

"In aero, we started thinking about the new car around spring last year, a bit before any of the other departments," revealed Marianne Hinson, head of aerodynamics. "The start of the process is a really fun period, when you're looking through the new rules, thrashing out ideas and trying to find loopholes."

Those sentiments are corroborated by colleagues Lewis Butler and Elliot Dason-Barber, both of whom have paid tribute to the striking new design.

"The biggest challenge was trying to package everything a bit smaller," confessed chief designer Butler. "We were trying to get that area around the driver really tight so the aerodynamicists were happy with it."

"We're definitely going to take a step forward with this car," added head of R&D and vehicle dynamics, Dason-Barber. "Quite how much we'll close the gap to the teams in front of us we'll see, but my hope is we'll be competing with the teams that were a second or two ahead of us last season."

TO SEE PICTURES FROM THE T128 LAUNCH, CLICK HERE

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