Lotus T128 launch – first pictures

2011 F1 cars

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

  1. Felix said on 31st January 2011, 5:46

    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!!!

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 31st January 2011, 7:30

      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.

      • Hare (@hare) said on 31st January 2011, 7:43

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

      • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 31st January 2011, 9:02

        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.

      • Scribe (@scribe) said on 31st January 2011, 9:45

        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.

    • sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 31st January 2011, 7:45

      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!

      • Hare (@hare) said on 31st January 2011, 8:11

        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

  2. mateuss said on 31st January 2011, 5:48

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

  3. UneedAFinn2Win said on 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.

  4. Hare (@hare) said on 31st January 2011, 5:52

    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…”

  5. US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 31st January 2011, 6:08

    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.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 31st January 2011, 6:11

      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.

      • Hare (@hare) said on 31st January 2011, 6:20

        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.

        • Scribe (@scribe) said on 31st January 2011, 9:48

          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?

        • Solo (@solo) said on 31st January 2011, 9:52

          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.

  6. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 31st January 2011, 6:08

    I’m not really a fan. The livery just ruins it. Especially that yellow streak at the back. And those dark and moody backgrounds destory any chance of making out the details.

    It’s funny, though. I thought the narrow Mercedes-esque rollhoop was banned for this year.

    • codesurge said on 31st January 2011, 6:30

      Not if it’s thick enough, apparently. The rules have a requirement about the minimum cross-section of the roll structure. If that’s met then I reckon it’s legal.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 31st January 2011, 7:34

      The livery just ruins it. Especially that yellow streak at the back.

      Really?! That’s the best part! I didn’t like the 2010 livery much, too dark I thought, but with more yellow it’s much improved, and with no R30 on the grid this season we could do with some more yellow. I think the livery is great. Much better than the R31 with that TOTAL-ly intrusive red garbage.

      • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 31st January 2011, 9:07

        I agree – that yellow streak in the back, combined with the yellow streak on the front of the rear/front wing endplates looks great. The least impressive bit of the livery is the rather cluttered looking nose.

        I also think the green might be a bit lighter, but that could just be a matter of lighting (of course, the rendering is metallic green, but well, that’s just a rendering)

  7. sumedh said on 31st January 2011, 6:08

    I have been disconnected from the whole Renault – Lotus naming controversy. I tried reading up a bit but gave up.

    For 2011, my nomenclature will be having only two names – Heikki’s car and Kubica’s car. Makes things much more easier. So, is the above car Kubica’s or Heikki’s?

  8. wasiF1 said on 31st January 2011, 6:09

    Looks promising hope it is better then previous year car.

  9. nose looks like force india vjm02 type

  10. Racefan said on 31st January 2011, 6:12

    In total a step forward from last year’s car.The sidepod’s and the airbox above are interesting but the front suspension looks plain simple.Does they have KERS?I think they don’t.

  11. Hare (@hare) said on 31st January 2011, 6:15

    Another great quote from the Team Lotus Notes Magazine :

    Under extreme
    braking, some drivers
    have said that this force
    is so great that their
    tear ducts squirt water
    into their visors

  12. Hare (@hare) said on 31st January 2011, 6:29

    BTW and FYI : Here’s the Black and Gold livery that Team Lotus would have ran with if they had the chance..


    • I don’t understand why they didn’t use the (beautiful) winning livery design and perform a simple palette swap. Change the black to green, and the gold to yellow.

      I did tweet them 3 times asking if they would/could, but for all the ‘fan friendlyness’ they promote, I got not a single reply.

  13. Felix said on 31st January 2011, 6:45

    I think having no KERS could be advantage when it comes to weight, if they have less weight in the car like the Braen did they have a chance to show some improvment.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 31st January 2011, 7:41

      Nope. The FIA increased the minimum weight for 2011 so that you couldn’t benefit from omitting the KERS, so presumably the disadvantage of not running KERS will be greater than it was in 2009.

      • codesurge said on 31st January 2011, 7:52

        Probably more of packaging decision given the relatively bulky KERS units – look at how slim and undercut the T128’s sidepods are.

      • couldn’t benefit

        As much. It still takes up weight that could be put using ballast lower in the car, and in better positions to tune the handling.

  14. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 31st January 2011, 6:46


    It’s talk like this that makes me dislike Team Lotus.

    • What in that article makes you dislike the team?

      The headline sounds a bit harsh, but like most headlines is slightly out of context, no-one says they’re aiming to embarrass the established teams, just that if they do start beating them then it could be embarrassing for them, which it probably would be.

      Otherwise it just sounds like they’re very ambitious.

    • blame it on autosport editor for putting that kind of headline when the whole context of the article is about Team Lotus and their aim for 2011 season…

      it’s seems like autosport has some kind of beef with team lotus

    • Hare (@hare) said on 31st January 2011, 7:28

      The problem for these other teams is that if we’ve been going for a year and then we start beating them, it’s a very clear message and it sends out a story which is embarrassing for them and good for us,

      That’s spot on. If I was Torro Rosso, and Team Lotus come along and beat us in their 2nd year, I would be embarrassed! I’d also fear for my job, because something is clearly wrong.

      To be honest, the Editor has done his part to make a sensation to get more hits, and sell more units. Whats new?

      For such an intelligent guy PM, I’m a little disappointed you’re so easily influenced in this particular instance.

      • David A said on 31st January 2011, 12:03

        Luckily Toro Rosso know their job isn’t to be competitive, and that they are afiliated with the current world champions.

  15. Not really important, but the stripe going up the nose looks horrible with all those logos interrupting it. I wonder if they will make it more pleasing to the eye before the first race.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 31st January 2011, 6:55

      What looks worse is the way the space around each ogo is a noticeably different shade of green to the rest of the car.

      • McG (@mcg) said on 31st January 2011, 7:35

        Yeah it’s a far cry from some of the other liveries isn’t it. I still love the traditional green and yellow though.

      • codesurge said on 31st January 2011, 7:49

        On closer look it appears that the logos on the nose of the launch car (Naza, Tune) look like stickers that were placed over the stripes at the last minute. The final version should have a more consistent shade of green as per the CGI renderings.

        • Indeed, they are stickers. But that doesn’t escuse the fact that it’s pointless having a racing stripe down the centre of your car when all you’re going to do it break it up every 3 inches with a sponsorship logo.

          It just treads muddy boots all over the design philosophy and makes it look amature at best.

      • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 31st January 2011, 9:10

        I do hope that was just for the photo and they will be able to fix it before it races – I agree that seeing that the sticker has a different colour rather ruins the livery.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st January 2011, 19:02

        To me it looks like that car was finished late (part of the front suspension not installed) and the sponsor stickers were just put on right before the pictures were taken as they did not manage to get this chassis properly painted beforehand (or were not sure which logo to put where on the nose before yesterday?). A bit shabby.

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