Lotus technical chief James Allison has moved to explain the reasoning behind the decision to use a stepped nose on the new E20.

The Enstone-based team became the fourth team to unveil a car with a stepped nose, with McLaren the only team of the first five not to have used the design.

Speaking in an interview during the video broadcast of the Lotus challenger from its Enstone base, Allison explained the reasoning for the stepped feature, with a desire to improve safety going hand-in-hand with the need to retain downforce under the new regulations.

"Up at the front of the car, there is a very obvious changes, there is a distinctive slope to the nose," he said. "The reason for this is for years you will gradually notice that the height of the nose has been coming up and up as there is more downforce if you raise the bodywork at the front of the car.

"However, the problem with that high nose is that eventually the nose can get to a height that if there were to be a T-bone crash the tip of the nose could be so high that it exceeds the height of the cockpit of the other car. Clearly that's a very poor situation as you don't want the driver's head having a nose slamming into it from the side.

"And so for this year we agreed that the tips of the noses all had to be lowered by a considerable amount. But the rule itself doesn't require the front of the car to be lower, it only requires the tip of the nose to be lowered."

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