Tag Archives: T127

Kovalainen: We are lacking downforce

Heikki Kovalainen in the Lotus T127

Heikki Kovalainen in the Lotus T127

Lotus F1 driver Heikki Kovalainen has admitted that this year’s T127, Lotus’ first in 16 years, has a fundamental downforce problem. Today, in Jerez testing, he finished 3.2 seconds behind leader Mark Webber.

“I think the main issue is the downforce,” the former Renault and McLaren driver explained to reporters. “We have not been able to develop the aero package as we should have; we had five months to build the car and everything’s been a bit conservative. Before they started to design the car, they had no information about the engine, so cooling and everything is quite conservative.

“For sure, we can improve – just by looking at the car I could probably improve a few things; I’m sure we will be able to do this but it’ll just take a little time.”

“Once everybody in the UK – the design and manufacturing teams – begin working, we’ll be able to make big improvements.”

“I think it’s quite clear that we’re lacking downforce compared to the quickest cars. It’s not surprising, we expected it – but just looking at the numbers we knew where we were going to be.”

When the T127 was launched a few weeks ago, I actually noted the too simple rear wing design that the car had. It looks like this problem may haunt Lotus for some time.

New Lotus T127 launched

The new Lotus T127

The new Lotus T127

The Lotus T127 has been launched in London today.

As I reported a few days ago, the team are to use the same livery that they used in the 1950′s and 1960′s. This is green, with yellow stripes.

The last time Lotus raced in Formula 1 was in 1994. The team is now owned by Air Asia chief executive officer Tony Fernandes.

At the launch, Fernandes said:

“Words cannot express how I feel today. It is an amazing job to get an F1 licence, have five people in Hingham and turn up today with this car.”

“I was thrilled when Clive [Chapman] said that this was just like te beginning of Lotus back in the early days.”

Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen are to be the team’s drivers for 2010. They will join the other teams in Jerez testing next week. The car has already been shaken down, in Silverstone last week. The engne firing-up was completed a few days beforehand.

Clearly, the Lotus name puts a lot of pressure on Fernandes. Speaking at the launch, he said:

“We know we have a huge burden on our shoulers, standing on the shoulder of giants – Clark, Moss, Hill, and Mansell. We know we have a tremendous journey in front of us, we are honoured and cherished to be a part of history – we will leave no stone unturned in our efforts and we will do our best to return Lotus to its glory days.”

The livery looks great, as it really suits the car design. There are parts of the car that appear very well designed, like the hugely complicated front wing and endplate sections. The mid-section of the car looks good also. However, I’m slightly concerned at the simplicity of the rear wing and nose cone. The rear wing is incredibly plain and boxy, with no endplate add-on at the sides. The nose cone, while slightly similar to others in places, does not incorporate Red Bull’s horned nose design.

Having said that, the design doesn’t look bad, so I’m looking forward to their efforts in 2010.

Pictures from the launch:

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