After sixteen years*, we get a new Formula One Lotus. It’s the T127, and it’s pretty:
Image link goes to f1technical article
Slab-sided sidepods seem to indicate a shorter wheelbase and reduced polar moment of inertia at the cost of cleaner airflow around the base of the car, as with the Mercedes MGP-W01 and &c. Front wing looks well-developed with that in mind, directing a lot of air around the outside of the front tires. No central rear wing supports, which cleans up airflow over top of the rear to drive the main element rather than around the sides to drive the beam wing and diffuser. Exhaust outlets look suspiciously chimney-like, but I doubt they’re really pushing the rules rather than just creating a little zone of low pressure. Generally the car looks pretty generic from a first-glance technical perspective, which I suppose is a good way for a new team to begin.
Holy shit look at those sidepod intakes! They’re huge! Does the Cozzie demand that much cooling, or is there something else going on here? Nose section looks very Sauber-ish from here, and the front wing looks like something BrawnGP ran late last season. No angle at all to the sidepod roofs, and little sign of a McLaren-ish bulge to the engine cover, both of which point to a conservative layout. No sign of a Newey vee-section, either, so airflow under the nose doesn’t seem to be a big concern. Maybe they really are pushing most of it outboard of the fronts and the enormous sidepod intakes are just trying to scavenge a lot of what’s left over?
Things are looking good for my “air around the sides” hypothesis: the airflow under the driver’s legs is pretty simplistically managed with a fairly standard-looking splitter and no vents to the underfloor. (Also, the barge-boards look rather conservative as well.) The nose doesn’t look as high as the Sauber’s from this perspective, but doesn’t involve any airflow shenanigans like the MP4-25 or the MGP-W01. Rear wing endplates look decidedly underdeveloped, and the abrupt end to the airbox spine makes me think that Lotus left themselves plenty of room for development in that area.
* Okay, the car was unveiled about a month ago. Shut up, I’ve had work to do.