Lotus aim for 'pinnacle' of Formula 1 with 2015 car

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Lotus technical director Nick Chester expects the new car to be "much more competitive" than last year's

Lotus have released an image of the new car they expect will take them back to the "pinnacle of the sport" after a disappointing season last year.

The Mercedes-powered E23 is set to run at the first pre-season test in Jerez, Spain, from 1 to 4 February.

Lotus slumped to finish eighth in 2014, after coming fourth and winning a race in each of the previous two seasons.

"We are confident the new car will enable a huge leap forward," chief executive officer Matthew Carter said.

"We are full of optimism going into the new season. It is time to put the disappointment of last season behind us and benefit from 12 months of hard work; we are ready to return to our rightful place at the pinnacle of the sport."

Lotus struggled last season as a result of under-investment in the previous year, which they ended with losses of £64m.

Financial restructuring last season reduced that figure dramatically - the team lost only £6m in the first half of last year - and the team have worked to fill the gaps created by the departure of a number of key staff.

Switching from Renault to the dominant Mercedes power-unit is another reason for optimism at the team, who are sticking with the same driver line-up of Frenchman Romain Grosjean and Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado.

Technical director Nick Chester said: "It's no secret that we struggled with last year's car so we've targeted every area that caused us an issue.

"We've made strong progress in the wind tunnel as well as in areas such as packaging and cooling. We expect the E23 to perform far, far better than its predecessor.

"We learnt a lot in many areas of the car over the course of 2014, so there are many lessons which have been applied.

"We know we've made a big step. We won't know how our car will fare in relative terms until we're out in action at a Grand Prix, but we certainly expect to be much more competitive than last year."

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