Over the past few years, the Formula One hierarchy has three established teams: Red Bull, Ferrari, and McLaren. But if you paid any attention, you might have noticed that a fourth team quietly made a name for itself as the kind of dark horse contender in the next few years.
Led by former F1 champ, Kimi Raikkonen, and Roman Grosjean, Lotus has set its sights on bigger things in 2013. To kick off their run to the top of the leaderboard, the British-based F1 outfit unveiled their prized steed for the 2013 season: the E21.
Since there aren’t a whole lot of changes in the series’ regulations, the E21 isn’t too far away from its predecessor in both form and function. On that note, the chassis of the E21 comes with a molded-carbon-fiber and aluminum-honeycomb-composite monocoque that was and designed to ensure maximum strength with minimum weight.
There have also been some slight changes, though, particularly the new suspension layout and the slightly modified front wing that Lotus describes as a "continuation of concepts" dating back to 2009. Additionally, the new Coanda exhaust and the team’s modified passive double DRS system are looked at as two critical adjustments that could catapult Lotus into the ranks of the proverbial big leagues.
It certainly helps that they have one of the best drivers in Formula One in the always affable Raikkonen, who managed to finish 3rd in last year’s Driver’s Championship, despite having been out of Formula One for the past few years. If the E21 proves to be a better ride than the E20, then look for Kimi to make serious noise in the 2013 season.