22 February 2014
Lotus happy with ‘elegant solution’
Lotus F1 technical director Nick Chester insists that the team's response to the new 2014 design rules is both legal and effective.
When Lotus revealed images of its new E22 in the middle of 'launch season', its twin-pronged nose design provoked as much comment as the alternatives produced by the remainder of the grid.
Few cars have escaped criticism for their looks in 2014, with some attracting more vitriol than others, but Lotus technical chief Nick Chester insists that his team has produced one of the nicer designs.
“I would say that it's an elegant solution for the 2014 regulations,” he claimed, “These regulations are a big challenge, meaning we had to create a car very different from designs we've created before. Despite all these new challenges, we're very happy with our interpretation and the car we've created.”
Denying that the new nose is 'a two-fingered approach to the regulations', he again emphasised that Lotus had contacted the sport's governing body to check its validity under the latest regulations, and is now keen to see how it performs against more conventional options.
“The nose certainly is quite interesting!” he admitted, “It has generated a lot of talk and, naturally, as with any interpretation of new regulations, we've talked with the FIA to ensure that they are happy with the design.
“We think it's a nice solution and it's quite innovative. It's nice to have something a little bit different and we're happy with our path having seen what everyone else is doing with their cars in this area.
While the nose is the most obvious difference arising from the change in technical regulations, there is a lot more going on 'underneath the skin', meaning that the teams have had a great deal of head-scratching over the winter – and into the opening couple of tests – than in recent years.
“The E22 is completely new,” Chester confirmed, “It's possibly easier to ask what the similarities are. There's very little which could be carried across from previous cars. That said, in certain areas we've been able to follow the same philosophies, such as in our approach to aerodynamics and suspension, where lessons learnt with previous cars have been highly relevant.
“Even things like the front wing – which may look quite similar to the untrained eye – has to follow a new approach and philosophy as the regulations stipulate a new width, and this actually has a big impact on air flow management due to the relationship of the wing to the front track and where the tyres sit in the resultant air flow.
“There are some nice solutions out there. Already Mercedes and Red Bull have interesting aspects to their cars, but looking at the E22 after seeing everyone else's interpretations, we're still very pleased with the direction we've taken.”
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