2010 F1 season preview: Lotus

The green and yellow is back - but how competitive will New Lotus be?

The green and yellow is back - but how competitive will New Lotus be?

Lotus were the last team to gain an entry for 2010 – but so far they look like the most promising of the new teams.

Even so they’re still expecting to start the year around four seconds per lap off the pace. Can the team do justice to their historic and evocative name?

Car design

With such a tight time frame to design and build a new car it’s no surprise the Lotus T127 is a conventional-looking creation.

Shortage of downforce seems to be the main cause of their lack of performance, but at least the car has been reasonably reliable.

Designer Mike Gasconye has in the past concentrated on bulk updates to his creations so keep an eye out for a B-version of the T127 sometimes after the teams return to Europe.

Driver line-up

Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen may not be a combination that sets pulses racing, but that’s a good thing for a fledgling team like this. The last thing they need is a rookie sticking the car in the wall, forcing an expensive rebuild and wasting precious track time.

Trulli was often the most productive driver during pre-season testing, managing a whopping 141 laps on one day at Jerez. He will relish the return to low-fuel qualifying and if the team can get their car within touching distance of the established runners Trulli could be the first man to claim some Q1 scalps.

Two years alongside Lewis Hamilton at McLaren did Kovalainen’s reputation no favours. In eight months’ time, once we’ve seen how Jenson Button gets on alongside Hamilton, we may have cause to revise our view of Kovalainen.

Remember, this is the driver who kept Kimi R?â?ńikk?â?Ânen at arms’ length in the streaming rain at Fuji in 2007. Lotus gives him the opportunity for a fresh start.

Strengths

Gascoyne is a veteran of several F1 teams and has worked with Trulli on several occasions, notably at Toyota during their most successful season, 2005. Several ex-Toyota staff have followed Trulli to Lotus including his race engineer Gianluca Pisanello, giving him some useful continuity.

The team had no major scares in pre-season testing and encouragingly have begun picking up sponsors in the form of CNN.

Weaknesses

They’re not that quick.

Poll: championship position

‘Best of the newbies’ appears to be the highest Lotus can shoot for in 2010. Where do you think they’ll finish?

Where will Lotus finish in the 2010 Constructors' Championship?

  • 1st (1%)
  • 2nd (0%)
  • 3rd (0%)
  • 4th (1%)
  • 5th (0%)
  • 6th (1%)
  • 7th (1%)
  • 8th (5%)
  • 9th (9%)
  • 10th (32%)
  • 11th (35%)
  • 12th (11%)
  • 13th (4%)

Total Voters: 1,183

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42 comments on 2010 F1 season preview: Lotus

  1. 10th I’d wager.

  2. GeeMac said on 9th March 2010, 9:06

    10th, best of the new teams I’d say.

    I forsee the “Trulli-Train” being a massive thorn in the side of teams in the bottom half of the field this year, which is good news for Lotus, and bad news for everyone else.

    • Agreed, on both points…

    • Anthony said on 9th March 2010, 14:35

      remember there’s only 3 new teams out there… i guess toro rosso will be better than them.

    • Dennoow said on 9th March 2010, 19:48

      Agreed. I think they did a smart job hiring 2 experienced drivers, but I would have hired Heidfeld. Trulli and Kovalainen seem to be lacking pace in the races, especially Trulli. But they did a decent amound of testing, no frontwing breakdowns etc, so they probably will beat Virgin and HRT. (although I doubt they get any points)

  3. Funny how you can still vote for a team to come 13th in the WCC in these season previews… :)

  4. Peter said on 9th March 2010, 9:09

    I am sorry for the beautifull livery but I do not think they will be fast enough. Updates for GP of Spain will not be sufficient, by that time everybody will have upgrades. If Virgin fixes it’s reliability and the HRT chassis comes with the experience of Dalara, Lotus will be last.

    • Xanathos said on 9th March 2010, 9:34

      I think so as well. It’s propably easier to make an unreliable car reliable than a slow car fast. And it looks like at least the Virgin car is going to be a bit faster than the Lotus.

      • Tim said on 9th March 2010, 15:49

        Jacques Villeneuve said something similar (easier to make a fast car reliable) about the BAR in 1999 and look how well that worked out for them.

        If the Lotus is a decent platform with all the fundamentals in place it shouldn’t be too difficult a task to develop it into a more competitive proposition. Lotus may have further to go than most of the other teams but in a way that makes their task easier. Unless the rules change, development is a game of diminishing returns – you first make the obvious gains which buy the most time first then spend longer working on ever smaller steps. That’s why the field tends to close up over several years of rule stability.

        The risk is that Lotus may have missed a trick will could prevent them from making some key upgrades – like the Ferrari F60 last year, where the gearbox arrangement prevented full use of the double diffuser.

        • Calum said on 11th March 2010, 19:58

          Yeah! Eventually the BAR became a fast race winning car that only broke down once (in 09 as Brawn!).

  5. steph said on 9th March 2010, 9:10

    “Weaknesses
    They’re not that quick.”
    Lol! My favourite line of the team previews :P
    Best of the new teams but 11th.

    • steph said on 9th March 2010, 9:12

      I mean *tenth* of course :P I really need to have coffee before I come on here on a morning ;)

    • Icthyes said on 9th March 2010, 11:24

      I almost literally laughed out loud when I read it too! Keith, you made my day with that.

      • steph said on 9th March 2010, 11:29

        I know it isn’t in the comments section but it is a comment on Lotus just it’s in the article so can we nominate it for CotD? :P

        • Harvs said on 10th March 2010, 5:30

          LOVE IT!!!!

          awsome line keith! if the f1 business doesnt plan out, then you have other tallents!

          All the best for the site though! you are doing a wicked job at the moment! this is the first F1 site i go to when i turn on the PC! followed by the official f1 site, and autosport so you are well up there

  6. Cyclops said on 9th March 2010, 9:20

    Best of the newbies by far.

  7. sparky said on 9th March 2010, 9:26

    I think the Dallara is going to be faster than the Lotus.

    • WidowFactory said on 9th March 2010, 9:39

      The car might well be faster, but the drivers certainly wont. 2 fresh-faced rookies wont be beating an old hand like Trulli, and don’t forget Kovy managed to out-qualify Hamilton quite a few times in 2009.

      Not to mention Lotus is backed by a major motor manufacturer, so their in-season development will almost certainly be superior too.

      • David A said on 9th March 2010, 13:38

        I think the driver lineup of Lotus is superior, but i’m not sure about their in-season development if they start the season very poorly (remember Honda’s millions?).

  8. Bertie said on 9th March 2010, 9:42

    Reliability and luck will determine the positioning of the bottom teams. Since all them are miles off the pace getting in the points will be impossible on merit alone. They just need to make sure they finish and hope for a lucky safety car or big pile up.

  9. PJA said on 9th March 2010, 9:43

    The three new teams lining up on the grid this season will have their own mini championship between themselves as I would be very surprised if any of them managed to beat one of the established teams on pace alone.

    Even with the change in the points system for this season, considering the reliability in F1 in recent years I think a new team will only score points in special circumstances, such as wet race.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if none of the new teams scored points this season, or if a fluke result meant a team’s final standing in the Constructors’ Championship, especially at the bottom of the table where any points finishes will be rare, did not reflect their true pace over the course of the season.

    With this in mind reliability and drivers who can bring the car home regularly will be vital, so I think Lotus will probably end the season best placed of the new teams.

    Even though they were granted their place later than the other new teams they have shown they have the resources to be ready in time, so even if they are not the quickest of the new teams to start with I think they could well be by the end of the season.

    For an established team I don’t think the Trulli Kovalainen partnership would be that good, but for a new team to have two experienced drivers could be vital.

  10. I think Trulli and Kovalainen will be the teams’ big strength. Together with Gascoyne’s strategic nouse, they’ll hoover up points whenever they get a sniff and they’ll be able to help the car develop quicker than the teams with younger drivers.

    Gascoyne’s already said he loves having Trulli in the car because he can easily tell it’s limit. He just needs to work on getting Trulli to go at full speed through a whole race…

  11. 11th. I see Virgin as the best of the new teams rather than Lotus. Although both have reliability issues at present, so that may skew things one way or the other. I’d really like one of them to beat STR but I don’t think it will happen this year.

  12. MacLeod said on 9th March 2010, 11:13

    In this case it will be the car who runs the longest is beter. I was not very impressed with their testing performance.

  13. I don’t mind what order the new teams come in, I’m just glad to see that three seem to have managed to make it!

    It is a new dimension for us to watch. I just hope they can all develop over time.

  14. Icthyes said on 9th March 2010, 11:28

    I expect Force Malaysia (sorry) to be the best of the new teams, but they’ll struggle to break into the midfield, and even then their superior (to the other new teams’) driver line-up might not be enough for them to even do that.

    Then again, they might get a shock podium. This is F1!

  15. I think Trulli and Kovalainen will have to get used to letting lappers past on mass which will have a detrimental effect on their overall pace.

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