Lotus E21 Is First 2013 F1 Machine Out of the Gate | Edmunds

Lotus E21 Is First 2013 F1 Machine Out of the Gate

Just the Facts:
  • The Lotus F1 Team unveiled its new Formula 1 car on Monday via an online broadcast.
  • The Lotus E21, powered by Renault, is expected to be a contender for victories this year.
  • Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean return as drivers for the team.

ENSTONE, England — Lotus F1 Team is the first Formula 1 outfit to show its new car, using the Internet to broadcast its launch of the Lotus E21 on Monday. Live public ceremonies will introduce the new cars of McLaren on Thursday and Ferrari on Friday. The new Ferrari machine will be labeled F138.

The Lotus E21 retains power from a Renault V8 engine, but the team dropped the engine maker's name from its title after competing as Lotus Renault GP in 2011.

The team has a unique and complicated heritage. It carries the name, but no genealogical relationship, to the iconic Lotus brand established by the late Colin Chapman in the late 1950s.

In actuality, it owes its origins to Toleman Motorsport, founded in 1981 by Ted Toleman. That team gave the great Ayrton Senna his GP debut ride in 1984.

The team was purchased in 1985 by the Benetton clothing family. Under the name Benetton Formula and directed by the flamboyant Flavio Briatore, the team won two world championships. They were the first two of seven won by F1's most successful driver of all time, Michael Schumacher, in 1994 with Ford power and again in '95 with Renault engines.

In 2000, it became the property of Renault and became the works team of the French car manufacturer. Two more world championships were captured by the team, both by Fernando Alonso.

In 2011, there were two teams with the name Lotus competing in F1. A legal wrangle resulted in the requirement that the other team, Lotus Racing, drop the name. That team is now Caterham.

Like its predecessor E20, the new car carries the black and gold primary colors that Chapman's cars had in the 1970s when Mario Andretti won the sixth driving championship title for the team in 1978. That was the seventh constructor title for the original Lotus outfit. There is a splash of red on this year's car.

Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean return as drivers for Lotus. Raikkonen, the 2007 champion for Ferrari, won the team's only victory last year at Abu Dhabi. That was the first win for the team since Alonso scored for Renault in 2008.

Edmunds says: As is anticipated with most of the 2013 machinery, to the casual observer there are only incremental differences compared to last year's machine. Lotus climbed to the winning level last year and can be expected to challenge for more victories in 2013.

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