Lotus to use Red Bull technology in 2011

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, Monza, 2010

Lotus has announced a tie-up with Red Bull in which it will use gearboxes and hydraulic systems supplied by the current world championship leaders in 2011.

The team has already split from 2010 engine supplier Cosworth and are expected to announce a supply of the same Renault engines Red Bull use next year.

Chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne said:

The announcement that we have reached a multi-year agreement with Red Bull Technology for the supply of our gearboxes and hydraulics from 2011 is obviously a massive step forward for us, both in engineering terms, and as an expression of our ambitions for next year and for future championships.

The gearbox / hydraulics package obviously plays a critical role in the performance of the car, not just on track but in design and packaging terms, and this deal gives our design and aero teams a very exciting platform to work with.

The removal of the double diffusers in 2011 will allow the whole grid to tighten up the rear bodywork and mechanical structures around the gearbox, and this supply deal will allow us to capitalise on that with our 2011 car. Exciting times lie ahead!
Mike Gascoyne

Team principal Tony Fernandes described the deal as “a real statement of our intention to challenge for Formula One honours as soon as we can”.

Gearbox and hydraulic reliability has been a persistent problem for Lotus this year, contributing to many of their drivers’ nine racing-ending mechanical failures.

Read more: Lotus officially split from Cosworth

81 comments on “Lotus to use Red Bull technology in 2011”

  1. That’s good news for Lotus…. that is if they will still be Lotus… :) I wonder what the virgin’s are thinking? :)

    1. Virgin probably have their eyes on a Renault deal. Why else would they be flirting with Jerome d’Ambrosio other than for sheer virtue of the fact that he drives for the Renault Junior Team in GP2?

      1. Because they think he’s faster than DiGrassi?

      2. I don’t think so. Remember how virgin have limited their budget and it really is logical to go with the cosworth. They may see if they can get a decent deal on the williams hydraulics and gearbox though

    2. one always wonders what the virgins are thinking… sorry, too easy!

      1. A bit lower they are talking about tighter rear ends. What is this site coming too ;)

  2. Its really nice to see one of the new teams actually developing and not under threat of bankruptcy.

    Sorry but I’ve just woke up and my mind is still closed and can’t understand his point, what is the benefit from this?

    tighten up the rear bodywork and mechanical structures around the gearbox

    1. This is refering to the new rules for the 2011 year. It is indicated that while the double diffusers have been removed, teams are going to have some freedom of sorts in terms of development of that area.

      Add to that the double diffuser is a relatively large piece of aero for a small area of the body.

      Just my thoughtd on it……

      1. sorry, my *thoughts* on it…..

    2. RBR’s usage of a pull-rod setup allows for tighter, cleaner aero packaging. However, that suspension setup meant that it was harder for the team to incorporate a double diffuser setup last year given the packaging limitations. Newey only managed to get the double diffuser incorporated properly on the RB6. Just compare how slim the rear of the RB5/6 is compared to its rivals.

      With double diffusers set to go away next year, I think it’s likely that Lotus will adopt a similar pull-rod suspension to RBR (if they use the same gearbox casing as RBR) for better aero efficiency. Wouldn’t be surprised if they incorporate a similar exhaust-blown diffuser too.

      1. Ooh, looks like it’s not just going to be the RB7’s gearbox taken as-is; it’s gonna be a bespoke piece with Lotus input:


        1. Nice link, Craig Scarborough explains it really good and in detail there.

          From what he writes, this is a really good sttep forward for Lotus to develop their team in years to come. Now they set the design plan and let RB technology work it out and integrate it into the hydraulics and in the future they can get more and more involved in doing it themselves. Sounds good.

    3. The Renault engine is noted for its better cooling, allowing Red Bull and Renault to run very tight, streamlined rear ends. I would assume that now they are using the same engine/gearbox, they will be looking to do the same.

  3. Great news for lotus. Lets hope they can battle with atleast Torro Rosso next year.

    1. I actually expect Lotus to be much better than that next year, i foresee them battling with the likes of Williams, Force India and Sauber to be honest, and unless Toro Rosso do something very special, they will be the ones that Virgin and HRT do battle with.

      1. Well, Virgin anyhow. I don’t expect much from HRT since they’ve done no development of this year’s car, and parted ways with the designers of this year’s car as well. Who knows though, maybe they’ll find the money to buy the Toyota design and make some changes to comply with 2011 spec. If they can do that, then Torro Rosso and Virgin will probably be at the back of the pack. That should make for some pretty competitive racing between Williams, Sauber, Force India, Lotus, and the theoretical Toyota designed HRT.

    2. This actually had me think Mateschitz is pretty sure to sell Torro Rosso off on short notice, otherwise, why would he support Lotus to beat his nr. 2 team with their own technology?

      And it might mean both Lotus and RBR will be doing without KERS for next year, as Renault will be almost certain to have their gearbox optimised to work KERS.

  4. Great news for Lotus, however is dissapointing for Virgin and HRT of course, they will have no chance whatsoever next year, not that they did this year.

    Shame it wont be as interesting battle between the new teams.

    1. Won’t it be good to see Lotus competing with Force India, Sauber and Williams (and who knows who else?)

      The back of the field has provided extra interest but they have to show more ambition than simply settling championship B.

      1. Yeah I guess I didn’t think of that. It’s just we had 4 fairly big battles going on, now probably 3.

      2. Wouldn’t be surprised if Virgin pull a deal with Ferrari or Mercedes for engines/gearbox. Ferrari think the new teams are clowns anyways, and are pretty confident that they will not be a threat. HRT might be stuck with Cosworth, but then again HRT dont look like they might even be able to put a car up for next year. Honestly, I wouldn’t miss HRT on the grid next year.

    2. No chance??? Mate, it isn’t impossible to conceive that Virgin or HRT might just design a fairly good car next year? I predict that next year we will definitely see the Virgin’s pushing towards the STR’s and Force India’s. They will be less than a second away, that’s my bet, and hopefully the HRT’s can start to push up to that marker too.

      1. Doubt it. I dont think you can design a car within a second of established team such as Toro Rosso and Force India, without a windtunnel. So that leaves Virgin out. HRT are a joke and for them to be within four seconds of Force India would be an achievement. Lotus look like the only team that can give Force India, Toro Rosso and Williams a hard time.

        1. Word in the paddock : JV is going to buy Toro Rosso for $30 million

          1. Bummer. I hope he honors the drivers’ contracts.

          2. JV is??? extending too short comment.

  5. Fantastic news! echoing geo312’s thoughts!

  6. Finally nice to see at least one promise of technical assistance by the big teams come true, even if it’s actually for next year. Hats off to Red Bull.

    1. Jarred Walmsley
      5th October 2010, 10:37

      Indeed, although I can’t help but think there is some self help going on there, possibly a third team to run Red Bull young drivers into?

      1. Nope, Red Bull are doing this because they are set up as a “development house” that sells to racing teams – to facilitate the Torro Rosso customer car arrangement. Now that TR have to build their own, there’s spare capacity that Red Bull might as well start selling. TR aren’t filling the job of driver development anyway, despite what Buemi seems to be hoping.

        It won’t hurt them to sell to backmarker or midfield teams, because their speed advantage is given to them by the very very expensive investments in aero genius.

        1. Plus this might be a very serious indication that rumours about an imminent sale of STR are realistic.

  7. Jarred Walmsley
    5th October 2010, 9:57

    So, Ricciardo at Lotus then?

    1. Interesting. It would be good to see Ricciardo in F1, and the Lotus might even be competitive next year.

      Will Codemasters release a patch for the updated performance in the Lotus.

      1. Jarred Walmsley
        5th October 2010, 10:36

        I think it is very possible, Red Bull I believe are establishing ties with as many teams as possible in order to funnel off the excess drivers created by the Red Bull young driver programme, to give them race time before switching them over to Torro Rosso and then onto Red Bull.

        And it won’t be a patch rather a feature in the 2011 game as the deal won’t actually commence until 2011.

        1. Sorry, but I doubt this will see Ricciardo race. It’s more likely that Lotus will use the Red Bull equipment because it’s already tailor-made to work with the Renault engine. Even if Red Bull pushed Lotus to take Ricciardo as a part of the deal, Renault would still have more power over Lotus. Therefore, it stands to reason that if any driver is going to join Lotus as a part of a tech deal, it will be a Renault driver.

          1. But why use Red Bull technology instead of Renaults own?

            One thing that springs to mind is KERS. Renault seem to be pretty much into using it next year, so they will want to optimise their drive train for that.
            Red Bull might stay with their sceptical view of KERS and do the car and gearbox etc without, making it a better package for Lotus who will also not be using KERS (quite some guesses in that, but it sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?)

          2. Simply because Renault Enstone (chassis) is now a completely separate comapny from Viry (engine), so they would have to negociate a separate supply with Enstone anyway. On top of it, RBT already has experience and resources to provide a second team with some components, and a few engineers at Lotus already know the RBT gearbox (e.g. Elliot Dason-Barber)

    2. Would be nice to see, but he could probably do with a year in GP2 before stepping up to F1…

  8. Isn’t the fact that the manufacture who provides you with engine also provides you with the gearbox?

    I think Force India is another team who too are doing something similar to this as they are been helped by Mclaren-Mercedes & over the last two years they succeed a lot.

    1. Jarred Walmsley
      5th October 2010, 10:33

      Which just further proves that Lotus will in fact be using Renault engines next year

    2. Not necessarily. The new teams were using Cosworth engines but they didn’t supply gearboxes.

      1. But I think a standard gearbox (by Ricardo) was part of the package the new teams signed up to, along with the Cosworth engine. Williams used Cosworth engines but went its own way on transmissions.

        Lotus haven’t had great reliability from the Ricardo gearbox, hence the move to Renault engines and transmission.

        1. It’s an X-Track gearbox and hydraulics for all the new teams (by explicit demand from Mosley), those are the parts all three of them must be loathing by now for their unreliability.

          Virgin already built the casing themselves and might build theirs completely next year, Lotus now goes with Renault engine/RBR rear end and HRT? Who knows.

    3. Williams make their own gearbox.
      Mclaren make their own gearbox which they also supply to ForceIndia and is different from the Mercedes unit.

  9. Well, it does give you wings! :)

    1. I love that on the rear wings, The perfect piece of advertising imo.

      1. ..not to forget the front wings, I wonder if Red Bull will be ‘flexible’ on this technology ;)

  10. I wonder whether Lotus will eventually develop their own gearbox and hydraulics…

  11. Next season has good potential for Lotus, this year has been poor performance wise, comparable to Force India’s first season under that guise, and once Force India got themselves a top engine – Mercedes – and tech help from Mclaren they were able to haul themselves into the points, and then to be an established midfield team. I really hope this similar approach by Lotus Racing, soon to be Team Lotus once again, pays off and they score points next year. :)

    1. Force india werent a new team. so not really a fair comparison.

      only ‘new’ teams other than the ones this term i can think of are Toyota and Stewart(i feel like im missing someone). The rest over the past 13 years have been brought from an existing team.

      1. How about BAR which later became Honda / Brawn / Merc?

        1. BAR were Tyrell

          1. I stand corrected. Thanks for the info.

        2. Strictly speaking BAR were Tyrrell (Ross Brawn almost called his team that, apparently), but there wasn’t really any continuity between those two other than the entry.

          1. Indeed, BAR acquired much more of its technological resources and capacity from Reynard (a now defunct manufacturer of customer racing cars) than it did from Tyrrell.

        3. BAR once was Tyrrell if i remember correctly.

          1. Guess I should refresh the page more often …

      2. How about Super Aguri?

        1. Super Aguri had Honda supplying them with engines and year old chassis. They didn’t design and build a car from scratch – the closest it got was the hacked around Arrows chassis which Super Aguri used in its first year.

    2. The Last Pope
      5th October 2010, 20:08

      Force India’s 2008 Ferrari engine wasn’t a top engine?

      Force India’s Improvement wasn’t just because of Mercedes and Mclaren’s help.

  12. Is the gearbox and hydraulics from Renault or does each team develop their own?

    1. only the engine is from renault; the gearbox and hydraulics are developed and manufactured by red bull, not renault.

    2. Red Bull Technology have developed their own gearbox hydraulics.

      Obviously used by RBR, but STR would use it too as until this year their entire car was provided by Red Bull Tech.

      RBT was just set up to help RBR supply STR with customer cars, now the customer car thing is not applicable it’s really just RBR…

      1. Seems me and Johnno answered at the same time…

  13. Atleast Lotus team looks serious in its endeavours.
    Neither Virgin nor HRT has given any indications of next year’s plan.
    I think the reason why Richard Branson is in F1 is because he wants to publicize his Virgin airlines and other products. He doesnt seem to keen on making progress or continuing in this sport.

    And only GOD ( or a rich businessman ) can save HRT.

    1. I think Lotus are trying to move up in the current F1, whereas Virgin are just waiting around for 2013 and the steady decline in real terms of average F1 budgets.

  14. These guys really mean business, which i’m well pleasd about. They seem to be really pushing forward and have a real ambition.

  15. Lotus are obviously financed to progress up the F1 ranks fairly rapidly. Good to see one of the new teams progressing.

    Hope this doesn’t hurt the business of the current supplier, Xtrac, one of many good British motorsport companies.

    1. X-Trac gearboxes are, I’m afraid, awful. Count the number of drivetrain failures Lotus, Virgin and HRT have had – and compare with Williams who are using the same engine but their own gearbox.

      1. They certainly have been awful this year but it can’t have been easy since Cosworth were new (or rejoining F1 after a prolonged absence), X-Trac were new and the team were new.

        Hopefully it will be better next year!

        1. Saying X-Trac are new is a bit of a weird statement. They supply a number of transmission components to some well established F1 teams (including RBR), especially gear ratios.

      2. How did X-Trac come about? I’ve read the name Mosley in relation to it so I suspect there is a story behind it.

        1. Xtrac have been around since the mid-80’s. As RFB says they supply components for the majority of teams and have done across motorsport for years. The difference this year is they were supplying the whole transmission package to the Cosworth powered teams except Williams. Not sure there is anything dodgy or a specfic Mosley link. http://www.xtrac.com/#

  16. Does the usage of a RBR gearbox mean that Lotus will also be using a pull-rod rear suspension next season, given that the suspension wishbones connect directly to the gearbox casing?

    1. Considering the number of people who had worked on the pull-rod suspension and have left RBT for Lotus, I wouldn’t be surprised if they used a similar design next year.

      1. Considerting the double diffuser rules that are coming in next year the benefit of using a pull road system are very apparent. I would be surprised if the whole grid doesn’t use it.

  17. the deal between lotus and red bull can be traced back to Valencia GP!! the agreement was “signed” by Webber and Kovalainen.

    1. what because when the red bull smashed into the lotus it momentarily made the lotus considerably faster?

  18. Wow, Lotus and Red Bull will be twins. At least it will remain in F1 and continuously develop.

  19. I wonder if Red Bull is planning to sell Toro Rosso.

    Otherwise it seems a bit odd that they would go through with this deal, which will possibly be to the detriment of Toro Rosso if Lotus get ahead of them next year.

  20. I hope lotus and Virgin are competitive next year. e.g midfield

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