2012 Korean Grand Prix
Lotus 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 – 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
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Image © Lotus F1 Team/LAT