F1 – Team Lotus Gets Serious About Improving

We already know that Lotus Racing …er… Team Lotus (whatever they’re going by now days) will drop the Cosworthless lump in favour of Renault. Today, Team Lotus has gone further toward improving their technological position by confirming that they will use Red Bull Technologies’ gearbox and hydraulics for the 2011 season rather than the Xtrac equipment.

“The announcement that we have reached a multi-year agreement with Red Bull Technology for the supply of our gearboxes and hydraulics from 2011 is obviously a massive step forward for us, both in engineering terms, and as an expression of our ambitions for next year and for future Championships. The gearbox / hydraulics package obviously plays a critical role in the performance of the car, not just on track but in design and packaging terms, and this deal gives our design and aero teams a very exciting platform to work with. The removal of the double diffusers in 2011 will allow the whole grid to tighten up the rear bodywork and mechanical structures around the gearbox, and this supply deal will allow us to capitalise on that with our 2011 car. Exciting times lie ahead!” — Mike Gascoyne, Lotus Racing Chief Technical Officer

Be assured that Team Lotus is in no danger of suddenly finding themselves on the front row any time soon, but these decisions certainly have the potential to move them out of Q3. Lotus has two good drivers in Trulli and Kovalainen and a good engineer in Gascoyne; all they really need to have respectable speed is good equipment. Getting rid of the underpowered Cosworth and with the provenly quick Renault engine, will certainly help their overall pace. Moving away from the Xtrac equipment will also help their reliability. Xtrac has produced some real bulletproof equipment for the IZOD IndyCar Series, but their F1 products have been less than reliable with Lotus suffering a few DNFs as a result of gearbox issues. The other major area where they could improve their car and their pace is by improving the aerodynamics of the car. Double-diffusers will be disallowed next year which should help, but the Lotus aerodynamicists are going to have a busy winter if we’re to see the green and yellow cars have a chance at finding Q1 on occasion. I’ll go on record now and say they can do it! …lets see if I’m right by this time next year.

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