Lotus focus on on exhaust after Double DRS problems

2012 Korean Grand Prix

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Suzuka, 2012Lotus will introduce a major update to their car’s exhaust at the Korean Grand Prix.

It comes after the team once again failed to make their Double DRS race-worthy after running in practice during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend.

Korea will see the debut of the team’s ‘Coanda exhaust’, which mimics the design used by several of their rivals. It is intended to replicate some of the effect of the exhaust-blown diffusers which were widespread last season.

Technical director James Allison said: “We?ve been ploughing something of a lonely furrow on the circuit with our relatively straightforward, power-maximizing exhaust.

“However, since well before the launch of the E20 and to the present day we?ve been carrying out parallel developments in our wind tunnel programme based around a Coanda effect exhaust.

“Once we saw the potential gain of the Coanda system surpass that of our current design it was clear that we needed to implement it, both for the benefit we could get in the last quarter of this season and also for learning experience it presents us for next year. We will run our first version of this style of exhaust in Korea.

“It is not as big a deal as the 2011-style blown exhausts. Last year (for all teams, but especially for our forward exhausts) it was quite challenging to ensure that the exhausts did not set fire to the car. The Coanda system is a little more indirect, and the jet has cooled a little before it impinges on the floor which makes things a little easier to manage.

“There?s still a fair amount of rearrangement including new Coke panels, new exhausts, new exhaust exit panels, some fireproofing of the floor and so on.

“All told, it?s a biggish change rather than an enormous one. It?s also easier to swap to and fro for evaluation.”

Double DRS to reappear at Young Drivers’ Test

Allison admitted the team had run into difficulty with its Double DRS, which has appeared several times in practice but hasn’t been raced yet:

“We haven?t had the happiest of introductions with the system. It?s been harder than I anticipated to make it switch effectively with only the limited opportunity afforded in free practice.

“We?re going to take it away, have another think and most likely give it another go in the Abu Dhabi Young Drivers? Test where we?ll have more time to develop it in a systematic fashion.”

He added that some upgrades which the team discarded in Singapore were successfully put back on the car at Suzuka.

“It was quite pleasing that we were able to resurrect the upgrades that left Singapore under something of a cloud. It?s annoying when something that the tunnel says will be good does not work straight away, but it is very easy at the track to end up with a false negative ?ǣ as we did in Singapore.

“The problem is that the track is a very uncontrolled testing environment. It?s always a relief when you find out at the second attempt that the factory modelling was correct after all.”

2012 Korean Grand Prix

Browse all 2012 Korean Grand Prix articles

Image ?? Lotus F1 Team/LAT

Advert | Go Ad-free

26 comments on Lotus focus on on exhaust after Double DRS problems

  1. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 9th October 2012, 9:54

    I think it is remarkable that Lotus have produced such a competitive car this season despite being the only team other than HRT which didn’t use a Coanda effect exploiting exhaust layout (after Mercedes adopted such a layout in Singapore). It goes a long way to showing what a fundamentally solid racing car the E20 really is.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th October 2012, 10:26

      It also goes a long way to showing just how mismanaged the team has been. This is something that some of the other teams have had for months, and which others still have had all year; John Beamer wrote an article explaining Coandă-effect exhaust layouts back in February, while Ferrari picked it up in July. You have to wonder if this is something Lotus should have adopted sooner, instead of wasting resources on a double DRS system that, at this rate, is unlikely ever to be raced.

      • toiago (@toiago) said on 9th October 2012, 11:24

        Exactly, that’s what I thought too. Had they introduced the coanda exhaust earlier in the season, their championship challenge would have been much greater my now.

      • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 9th October 2012, 11:53

        It is a fair point. You have to wonder quite why they thought the DDRS ‘device’ was the answer to all their problems when it clearly wasn’t doing Mercedes much good. Even to non-engineers like me developing and perfecting this kind of exhaust solution clearly offered more in terms of lap time than DDRS. Perhaps they took the view that their race pace was already strong, so getting the DDRS right would make up for the area they were really strugging in during the earlt/mid season: one lap qualifying pace.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th October 2012, 12:18

          I believe the double-DRS device is a passive system, and that the nature of its design (which I do not fully understand) means that it is constantly working, and therefore constantly providing some benefit.

          • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 9th October 2012, 13:19

            So it’s different from Mercedes and RBR’s in that it doesn’t depend on the driver opening using DRS for it to work?

          • Metallion (@metallion) said on 9th October 2012, 14:36

            Yeah @prisoner-monkeys is right. It’s a passive system which works independently of the DRS. So calling it a double-DRS like the Mercedes system is perhaps a bit misleading. Lotus has been calling it just the “device” if I’m not mistaken:)

          • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 9th October 2012, 15:55

            Well I’ve learned something new today!

          • @prisoner-monkeys – that is also the reason why it is more difficult to set up; after all you don’t want to loose downforce halfway through a fast corner.

          • Metallion (@metallion) said on 9th October 2012, 16:12

            The way the Lotus system works also means that while D-DRS of the type that Mercedes has will be banned next season, Lotus’ system will still be legal as it doesn’t involve any driver input. All the other teams will probably have their own passive system ready for Australia though so Lotus will have lost their advantage then.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 10th October 2012, 6:39

          The lotus device is more like the F-ducts of 2010 than the Mercedes DDRS thing though. Its development was probably inspired by it, but not the same.

          I understand that Lotus went this route because they though it would be easier to fine-tune than it proved to be (with weather further making it tough to work on it on Fridays). I expect them to work on it to have it functional for next year now.
          As for the coanda exhausts, that is something of a big change, because it means completely rethinking the back end of the car for them, so I can understand them not having wanted to go that route. I guess with not making the blowing device work and seeing how powerfull the coanda exhausts have proven to be, they want to get a good go on them to both boost their pace this season and get working on it for next year.

      • HeX (@) said on 10th October 2012, 15:05

        “However, since well before the launch of the E20 and to the present day we’ve been carrying out parallel developments in our wind tunnel programme based around a Coanda effect exhaust.”

        It’s not like they have suddenly rushed to copy this new exhaust within the last few races… They have already been planning it for a while, if you guys actually bother to read the whole article properly

        It has most likely been shelved due to them being busy planning the 2013 car in the first half of the season, and wanting to make sure it was well honed before they start introducing it to the car, especially as it requires a substantial rehaul of the E20’s rear bodywork, as compared to their Drag Reducing Device (DRD), which is supposedly easier to swap to and fro for evaluation as compared to the new exhausts (even though this has proved to be the opposite, with Lotus srtuggling to optimise their DRD for the race weekends)

  2. Silverkeg (@silverkeg) said on 9th October 2012, 12:33

    I’m glad Lotus have re-focused their development. The DDRS always seemed like a great concept that would be extremely difficult to get right in the real world. Their development in other areas has seemed to slow due to the resource consuming mature of the DDRS red herring.

    Hopefully their new exhausts and other upgrades can keep them in touch with Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari whom have all out developed them. Although the Driver’s Championship seems out of reach for Kimi, They still have a good chance of surpassing Ferrari and maybe McLaren in the Constructors Championship.

    A win would be most welcomed for one of my favourite teams, but that is probably a bit hopeful. More podiums and points from both drivers would go a long way though, recapturing some early season form. None of the tracks left look like they will prove a particular challenge for the E20.

    • HeX (@) said on 9th October 2012, 17:24

      As much as I’d like Kimi to storm his way to the Drivers’ title, things don’t look too optimistic for him, with quite a chunk of time wasted on the new passive drag reducing device. Hopefully this would be able to rediscover their strong early season form.

      Perhaps they should’ve made the Device driver operated (through the DRS) instead of making it passive? To perhaps resemble to drag reducing F-duct systems in 2010?

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 10th October 2012, 14:03

      @silverkeg I’m not convinced they’ve totally refocussed. Their DDRS solution hasn’t been outlawed for next year (yet) so while it would be nice for them to have it this year, they will no doubt have a bit of an upper-hand come 2013 when all the teams are exploiting their idea, months behind the E20.

  3. Kimi4WDC said on 9th October 2012, 13:59

    About time.

  4. Lotus owns only half the budget of Redbull or Ferrari, in a working environment dont expect something comes out free. it is a matter can you pay overtime for windtunnel guy or can you hire COANDA expert, nothing is free.

  5. I tend to agree with the guys at LiteralF1 and SomersF1, the Lotus system is not a DDRS, and shouldn’t really be referred to as such. Lotus refers to it as ‘the device’, the acronym “DRD”, Drag Reduction Device makes more sense. The passive system, as they’ve developed it, has really nothing to do with creating a ‘double’ effect coupled with the rear wing, the way that the Merc, McLaren or RBR systems currently do.

  6. davidnotcoulthard said on 9th October 2012, 17:04

    It’s also easier to swap to and fro for evaluation.

    It’s also easier to swap to and fro from for evaluation?

  7. Hotbottoms (@hotbottoms) said on 9th October 2012, 17:37

    Räikkönen is (or atleast was a couple of races ago) a championship contender, but his team has wasted half of the season on a device that doesn’t work. Yet all the talk is about Ferrari not being able to give Alonso the car that he deserves…

  8. Ral (@ral) said on 9th October 2012, 19:30

    It’s as if nobody read the quotes from James Allison. I have bolded the relevant bits:

    Technical director James Allison said: “We’ve been ploughing something of a lonely furrow on the circuit with our relatively straightforward, power-maximizing exhaust.

    “However, since well before the launch of the E20 and to the present day we’ve been carrying out parallel developments in our wind tunnel programme based around a Coanda effect exhaust.

    “Once we saw the potential gain of the Coanda system surpass that of our current design it was clear that we needed to implement it, both for the benefit we could get in the last quarter of this season and also for learning experience it presents us for next year. We will run our first version of this style of exhaust in Korea.

    So, they have had this design in their wind tunnel since before the car was even announced. To claim “Lotus is mismanaged” for not using it sooner, is absolute rubbish. There were clearly other areas where they thought they could make bigger gains while using the traditional exhaust layout, optimised for power generation as opposed to the coanda-exhaust layout which would trade off a bit of power for a bit of downforce.

    Meanwhile, I don’t think their time trying to set up their drag reduction “Device” is wasted. In the short term, perhaps it is costing Räikkönen some time getting his car set up. But seeing how tricky it is to get the device right, it wouldn’t seem too far-fetched to think that they will end up almost with different specs of it to suit the various circuits and allow it to switch at the appropriate times and speeds. And then who’s laughing next year when everyone is struggling to configure their attempts at this system on each track? Remember, Mercedes have put about double the miles on theirs in Magny Cours and they decided against using it in Suzuka as well.

    Meanwhile, it is a shame Lotus have failed to make the steps forward the other frontrunners have. But it does seem to highlight that Ferrari may have been fibbing a bit for several races now about how their car is so slow, because Lotus falling back has nothing to do with Ferrari becoming faster and Alonso has been quoted as saying he’s been driving the same car now for 6 races because their updates haven’t been working (interesting as well how somehow the press seems to have bought into the Ferrari story).

    And with that in mind, and how much praise Alonso’s efforts have garnered over these 6 races, perhaps the Lotus results shouldn’t be considered quite so disappointing? Because that would mean, from Germany on, between the two the Ferrari was actually the faster car on the whole, with Lotus trying to catch up to that level of performance. Unless you are going to claim that the Lotus has become slower than it was before. But if you look at the race pace, except for Hungary, it’s not such a strange conclusion to come to that the Ferrari wasn’t as bad a car as they themselves are trying to make it out to be.

    • Kimi4WDC said on 9th October 2012, 23:36

      Everybody except die hard fan boys know Ferrari is/was for most of the season a decent car, very decent at some. Mostly was in the right place at the right time where it was not as fast.

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 10th October 2012, 2:39

      Yes, at the first part of the season, I thought Lotus is 3rd or sometimes 2nd fastest but now it’s the place for Ferrari and Lotus is now clear 4th fastest. It’s quite strange Lotus have brought more updates than Ferrari but actually gotten slower than them.

      BTW even though Alonso said it’s same car for 6 races, still they brought a small piece of updates. I should say Ferrari have opted for optimizing of current package than huge development while Lotus tried these and those. I think Singapore rear wing was relatively huge one but that failed. I wonder they find theire dropped ball again now since Pat Fry reckons there’s something significant coming.

      Anyway it reminds me of HRT and Virgin for last 2 seasons. HRT never brought any updates while Virgin did, still there gap was nearly changed through the seasons.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.