Lotus T128

Lotus T128 launch – first pictures

2011 F1 carsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lotus have revealed the first images of their 2011 F1 car which is now called the T128.

The car was originally supposed to be called the TL11 which, according to the team, was to ??simplify what could have been another point of contention?? with Renault over the use of the name ‘Lotus’.

When asked by F1 Fanatic on Twitter about the change of name Tony Fernandes said:

Because we are continuing with history. We are a new dynasty but tradition continues.
Tony Fernandes

One of the most striking features on the car is the use of a ‘blade’ roll hoop with a split air intake. However the central part of the ‘blade’ has to be thicker because of the change in the 2011 rules.

Mercedes pioneered the design last year but the first picture of their new W02 shown yesterday indicated they are not using such a layout this year.

Lotus’s chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne has high hopes for the new car:

I think that basically this car looks like a front-running car in every area. We said very clearly that we want to start challenging the established teams and I think that’s very achievable.
Mike Gasoyone

The team also confirmed the T128 does not have a Kinetic Energy Recovery System. Chief operating officer Keith Saunt said:

If KERS was going to get us from eighth to sixth then we?d have it. But when you look at the weight of it and some of the engineering challenges, I think it?s a good decision not to start with it. We might end up with it, who knows?
Keith Saunt

The team switch from Cosworth to Renault power this year and the T128’s gearbox is sourced from Red Bull.

Tony Fernandes’ Air Asia brand features prominently on the car. The airline previously sponsored Williams. The T128 also sports the logos of energy drink EQ8.

The car will be shown in public at Valencia tomorrow and be given its first run by Heikki Kovalainen on Wednesday.

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147 comments on “Lotus T128 launch – first pictures”

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  1. Isnt the airbox similar to the one of last years Mercedes which was banned?. Or is it just my eyes. it is quite hard to tell..

    1. it is.. but not sure if it was banned.

      1. there were regulations brought in, which most saw as a ban, but Lotus have worked a way around it, and theirs is 100% legal.

        1. I thought the main point of that airbox was that it allowed it to be lower and slanted, although the Lotus’s is still upright.

    2. The merc “blade” roll structure was indeed banned. The rules where changed to have a minimum thickness for the roll structure. That sort of negates the advantages of the “blade”. Guess Lotus still though it was worth it.

      From the regulations:

      15.2.4 The principal roll structure must have a minimum enclosed structural cross section of 10000mm², in vertical projection, across a horizontal plane 50mm below its highest point. The area thus established must not exceed 200mm in length or width and may not be less than 10000mm2 below this point.

  2. Ermm, those sidepods are how thin?

  3. ForzaLaScuderia (@)
    31st January 2011, 5:14

    Interesting that they have opted to use the MGP airbox design from last season…while MGP dropped those plans.

    1. Yeah thats what i noticed. I thought that kind of design was banned?

      1. I don’t think it was banned. The only thing banned coming into this year is the F Duct.

        1. and the double diffuser? :)

          1. The airbox design is legal, although regs came in which effectively banned the previous incarnation, and most took to be a ban. The Exhaust Blown Diffuser is technically banned too, but don’t be surprised to see variations on that.

          2. The EBD is in no way banned, what is banned is holes creating a cross section in your diffuser, meaning the double diffuser is banned. That’s about 2seconds per lap of performance since the start of 2009 done away with.

            However it is not illegal to blow gasses over your diffuser, nor is it illegal to release exhaust under the car. However, it’s probably illegal to split your exhaust pipes.

            The blade thingy was semi banned because the FIA was uneasy with the design, felt if the car fliped the blade might stick in and not roll the car sactisfactorily. Can’t say I don’t have the same fear about that design. Hopefully it’ll work, don’t want to see it tested.

        2. New regs mandate a minimum cross section for the roll structure, and the Lotus “blade” looks thicker than last year’s W01 so possibly legal within the new rules?

      2. ForzaLaScuderia (@)
        31st January 2011, 5:18

        Yeah the fact that it was banned was probably a rumor spread to explain why the MGP W02 didn’t have it in the rendering that we saw today.

  4. + Keith the official name is the T128 not the TL11 :D

    1. As stated above. Remember reading is fundamental.

      1. But look at the pretty pictures!! ;)

        1. so true lol!

    1. The car looks good, very aggressive an light, although there are few things that I’m worried about. First is the airbox, a little bit too Mercedes like, second is the nose, not enough Red Bullish ;)

      But seriously, I’m really worried about the hype. People expected a lot from this team, and now the statements from Lotus raise the bar even higher. They want to create a new legend, they are pushing the boundaries, they create a basis for future cars, they aim to embarrass older teams and Trulli wants to score points from the first race. Guys, don’t you aim just a little bit too high?

      Don’t get me wrong, I wish you all the best. I want it to work out for you, but it’s just your second year. Raising people’s hopes is a straight road to disappointment. I expect you to score some points this year, just like Force India did in their second year. But challenging the midfield? I think it’s not realistic. Not yet.

  5. no, are TL11..

  6. Pity the pictures are pretty bad renders. Apart from the Mercedes style intake, there isn’t a lot you can tell from them. Hopefully, some proper photos are taken tomorrow.

    1. The pictures look pretty bad, especially when you compare them with those released last year, at the launch of T127. They were really nice, wallpaper worthy, high resolution photos.

    1. quite, the 3d render here, is a bit… blah.

      1. it’s been updated.. before anyone jumps in and insists we check our eyesight.

  7. It isn’t a real car because it probably isn’t built yet LOL! I agree it is a really dark photograph and it is hard to see much from it. I think the intake is legal and the only reason Mercedes dropped the idea is because it didn’t work… I believe what we can take from this is that the Lotus will not be a midpack contender in 2011… still, it will probably be faster than last years now that the Cosworth motor is gone.

    1. “I believe what we can take from this is that the Lotus will not be a midpack contender in 2011”

      How in any way is that a reasonable assumption? Because of its air intake? Just wait for the racing to start, then we’ll see. They probably also wont expect to be challenging the mid pack until mid season themselves, so I think you’re jumping the gun a little bit.

    2. Williams showed that the Cosworth was competitive.

      1. It was the gearbox that was letting the teams down, particularly the hydraulics.

    3. TheGreatCornholio
      31st January 2011, 9:21

      the Cosworth motor wasn’t a problem last year, it was the X-Trac gearbox. Williams were very complimentary of the Cossie. The main benefit they’ll get is from the Red Bull transmission and back end. Superior packaging particularly thanks to the pull rod suspension!

  8. sry official T128..

  9. To be honest im disappointed.It looks too weak,with those thin and wierdly shaped sidepods.It looks they went conservative again on the nose.Was expecting a lot more.

    1. I dunno… those sidepods say to me the renault (read championship-winning) engine needs less cooling than other engines, allowing less wind resistance… it’s not all in the nose.

      For the teams second ever car, I think they’re doing a great job!

      1. Ditto. We’ll have to wait to compare it to the HRT and the Virgins. (HRT and Virgins in the same sentence conjures up images of old maids… just me? ok move on )

        They want to be mid field this year, so we’ll see how it goes, but I think for the second year, it’s beautiful.

        I do have a bit of resentment to them nicking peoples name though. Lotus Notes is a software from the 90s ;)

        1. I spotted the “Lotus Notes” link. Although it is something that Noah found in the Ark…

      2. Or its because they are the least powerful engine on the grid if you as Christian Horner

    2. It looks “too weak”? That’s a racing car, not a tank. It’s supposed to go fast, not to look beefed up like some guido.

      1. hahahaha :)

        1. Well, I guess if you are thinking of Belgium where Alonso could just drive on to a sad end in the barriers after being hit by Barrichello – tanking up seemed to have helped the Ferrari :-p

      2. OMG Dau you crack me up LOL!

  10. Lotus press release with actual photos. f

  11. it’s just jealous! :)

  12. Full PDF of their release, including real photographs at http://cdn.skive.co.uk/TLN_LaunchIssue.pdf

    1. good work :)

      1. Interesting to note that there isn’t any big “Team Lotus” branding on the side of the car as they had last year with “Lotus Racing”. Only references to Lotus on the car that I’ve spotted are small Team Lotus logos on the nose tip and driver’s headrest.

        Are they trying to preempt a possible switch to a non-Lotus name in case they lose the legal fight in court?

        1. The way I see it, the Lotus Racing logo was a placeholder as they couldn’t get Air Asia to come over and leave Williams a year early.

          Now that Air Asia is around, they will get very prominent placing (engine cover & rear wing).

          1. Wasn’t AirAsia already on the front wing endplates of the T127 midway through last season?

          2. Considering the guy who owns air Asia is the boss of Team Lotus, I don’t think it would have been an issue.

        2. Pretty sure it only said ‘Lotus Racing’ last year beacuse there was no paying sponsor to fill that space.

          It is a pretty standard procedure after all. Sauber had their logo on the engine cover last year, HRT had theirs on the sidepods until they started naming their cars after their drivers (all of them).

          Although obviously Red Bull manage both as their team and sponsor are one-and-the-same.

          And Ferrari only slap their logo big on the side because their whole car’s worth of advertising space is sold off illegally to Marlboro who then sell it on like some sort of cancerous middle-man.

          1. And of course, the “ferrari” logo is coincidentally exactly the same as the, also Marlboro sponsored, Ducati team. Ie. that’s Marlboro’s logo except in name.

          2. It is still quite incredible that Ferrari are allowed to continue with various forms of subliminal advertising and a publicised connection to Tobacco.

  13. Fascinating front suspension! no pushrod that I can see!

    1. I noticed that too. Must not be installed in that picture. The rear is pullrod, which I was expecting with the RB gear box.

      The Renault logo is its proper color on this car, unlike on the Renault car…

      1. More fundamentally, there doesnt appear to be a steering arm either!

        Aside from that I’m happily impressed with how aggressive the design looks over last years car. At the start of last year the emphasis was on reliability (specifically with cooling), now they have a year of data (+info on the Red Bull/Renault package?) they’ve trimmed down the sidepods to a minimum. I’m almost concerned they might have taken it a step too far!

        1. Well they’ve avoided the worry of KERS.. so they’ve given themselves a bit more space compared to some other teams.

          McLaren have given themselves a bit more space too, an extra 10 days.

      2. In the rendering you can see a push rod – it connects just behind the foremost top wishbone arm of the suspension. Of course, that could be inaccurate, but there is a hole on the side of the nose in that spot.

      3. That Renault in black on the yellow band on the back of the engine cover is a really great idea, looks good in the right colors.

  14. I really like the car, i mean for being one of the newest low budget teams i beliebe it looks good, im wondering about their livery contest i saw the wiinner at it doesnt look like this one, but i believe overall is a nice desing we will see how they do at the track im expecting a lot from them with that Renault Power and RedBull Gearbox!!!

    1. The only thing that’s slightly traditional looking is the nose. Everywhere else it looks pretty agressive. I’m a bit surprised it doesn’t have a bit more of a Red Bull style nose. Even Mercedes is headed that direction with the W02 nose. It’ll be interesting to see what the Renault and McLaren noses look like.

      1. I suspect McLarens nose is a little out of joint from last year..

      2. I wouldn’t be surprised if the team decided that the Red Bull nose was just a bit too advanced to try – and after all, we saw that Ferrari stopped using it this year.

        The T128 nose is really rather high until the tip, with the Red Bull ridges and having to fit the driver’s legs, maybe they couldn’t get it high enough to use the big undercut they have for those sidepods.

      3. Well, Merc went more Redbullish, Ferrari went more McLaren like. Shows that Redbull’s solution must have benefits and drawbacks.

        TBH, I’m glad Lotus stuck with Brit racing green. Ten time’s prettier than the JPS, an fun historical livery. The JPS is a ridiculous historical livery because of the tobbaco connection. Last years Renault wasp livery was just excellent.

    2. I believe that one lotus will be mocked up in the livery from the livery contest – but because it was a JPS livery, they can’t race with it.

      Car looks awesome, i love that paint scheme!

      1. but because it was a JPS livery, they can’t race with it.

        If that were the case, then Group Lotus Renault, wouldn’t be running with Gold and Black. No it’s because Bahar’s outfit announced they were going to go with Black and Gold, Team Lotus chose to stick to Green and Yellow, although they were pretty ticked off with it..

        see for yourself : http://twitpic.com/3v36ca

        1. Apologies, I meant that but I didn’t make it clear. Its because Renault decided to use the JPS livery, as you say

  15. Yeah, my B&G ”Air” livery was in the Lotus Notes! Top right corner with all the other ones ;)

  16. UneedAFinn2Win
    31st January 2011, 5:49

    Looks really different, they have achieved their intention in packing the rear very very tight. I doubt they’ll be introducing KERS this year, unless the Renault system is smaller than I imagine.
    Those sidepods are really agressive.

  17. Great quote from the Lotus Notes (not the software, another legal suite) magazine, two of MG’s (or TF?) dogs are talking to each other while playing, we pick up mid conversation:

    “..It is Sam. But not as tricky as
    driving a Formula One™ car –
    there’s so much for the driver to
    contend with in the cockpit this
    year, it would make you dizzy.”

    “If you’re a certain seven-time
    world champion, I think it
    already has”

    “Hmmm… simulated sickness.
    Tricky one. How you can tell
    if it’s even real…”

    1. That’s cold. But funny.

    2. LOL, mean, but funny.

  18. Not having KERS could be what keeps them out of the midfield. I think most if not all of the midfield cars will have it, and with the minimum weight increase the gap between KERS and non-KERS cars should be more dramatic as there’s no real advantage to not running it.

    1. Nick Wirth put it best: KERS is worth two to three tenths at best when the new teams need to find two to three seconds. If all goes well – particularly for Virgin and Lotus – they could invest in KERS about half or two-thirds of the way through the season.

      1. Lotus say in their Lotus Notes magazine ( which I’ve been reading ), that they may end up the season with KERS, depending on how things go.

        1. Sounds like rubbish to me, wouldn’t expect them to have designed possible KERS into the packaging. THey might have it next year, but why bother this one?

        2. Kers might only be 2-3 tenths but it’s also a few positions in the start. They could out-qualify Toro Rosso for example and be all happy and then lose the place immediately at the start of the race.

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