Team Lotus and Lotus Renault took a break from their legal battle on Monday when both teams unveiled their cars for the 2011 Formula One season.
The two are at odds in a names—rights dispute which is to go before a London court on March 21.
Team Lotus brought the name Lotus back to F1 in 2010 after 16 years under licence from the Lotus carmaker Group. Now Renault have the Lotus Group as new title sponsors which means that the famous F1 name will feature twice at least at the season—opener on March 13 in Bahrain. Both teams are powered by Renault engines.
Team Lotus unveiled their latest car for their drivers Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen without pomp via their website. They were the best of three new teams last season and hope for more this time around. “There has been so much focus off—track it’s a thrill to be able to get back to talking about racing. The launch of the T128 is a big step forward for Team Lotus,” said team pricipal Tony Fernandes.
Technical director Mike Gascoyne said: “I think that basically this car looks like a front—running car in every area. We said very clearly that we want to start challenging the established teams and I think that’s very achievable.” The T128 name follows the long—standing Lotus pattern and is painted in the classic green and yellow. Renault Lotus are using other famous Lotus colours, black and gold, as they presented their 2011 model in Valencia, Spain, where pre—season testing starts on Tuesday.
Team officials and their drivers Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov aim to mount a serious challenge on the top teams in the 20—race season with the R31 car.
“We hope it will be a good car ... We had a strong last season and we hope to make another step forward this year and move closer towards the top,” said the Polish driver Kubica.
Renault came fifth last season in the constructors’ standings behind Red Bull, ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes.
Earlier Monday in Valencia, drivers Kamui Kobayashi und Sergio Perez unveiled the new Sauber car, a Ferrari—powered C30.
“We want to be in the points consistently and improve our position in the constructors’ championship,” said team boss Peter Sauber.
The Mexican newcomer Perez, 21, took the place of German Nick Heidfeld who raced late in the 2010 campaign, saying “I have a lot to learn.” Sauber were the second team overall after Ferrari on Friday and the first in Valencia to unveil their 2011 car. Mercedes, Toro Rosso and world champions Red Bull have their presentations Tuesday immediately ahead of the first laps on the Spanish track. The other big team McLaren will unveil its 2011 model on Friday in Berlin.
Keywords: 2011 Formula One