After finishing the 2013 campaign in a highly commendable fourth position, it is safe to say that 2014 has been a disappointment for Lotus and somewhat of a reality check. With financial issues to negotiate over the winter, the E22 arrived a day late and a dollar short and due to the ill-fated aggressive design, the car has rarely looked capable of challenging for points. As such, Romain Grosjean’s brace of eighth place finishes are the only results of note this season. However, after halting development early, the team are ready to debut a 2015 style nose in Austin and after spending last winter on the back-foot, they seem determined to avoid a similar fate this time around.
It’s aesthetic crimes are one thing, but the twin tusk nose design has failed to deliver what the Enstone outfit were looking for. While this has only been a contributory factor to their lack of performance, (with the brake-by-wire technology proving to be particularly troublesome,) the team will surly have welcomed the changes in the technical regulations for 2015, which essentially uphold that all nose designs must fit parameters similar to that of the Mercedes and Ferrari 2014 blueprint. Theoretically, this now places them in the same position as their rivals, (excluding the two aforementioned teams,) in terms of nose development. However, halting the 2014 development path early has allowed Lotus to begin focusing on their 2015 challenger and as such, a prototype nose is ready for a test drive in Austin.
“This will be for evaluation and aero data logging,” Nick Chester, the team’s Technical Director highlighted. “It’s something we’re doing as part of our preparations for the E23 Hybrid, next year’s car.” While this by no means allows Lotus to tick this area of the car off of the E23 parts checklist, it does give them a great opportunity to develop in this area, using comparative data which it is fair to assume that other teams have yet to gather, at least in an on-track capacity.
It will intriguing to see just how similar the E23 prototype nose is to the Mercedes and Ferrari 2014 equivalents. I doubt that the team have decided to be too creative with the regulations following a year when their creative licence led them down a dead-end.