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  Lotus E22 Renault

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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:2014
Engine type:Hybrid
Predecessor:Lotus E21 Renault
Successor:Lotus E23 Hybrid Mercedes
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:February 21, 2014
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Click here to download printer friendly versionFollowing a season of ups and downs that started with Kimi Raikkonen's victory in the Australian Grand Prix and ended with considerable concerns of the team's financial future, Lotus F1 also faced the herculean task of creating a brand new car built to a completely revised set of regulations. These included the introduction of a complicated turbo and hybrid drivetrain and more subtle changes to aero regulations.

Supplied by longtime Lotus partner, Renault, the new-for-2014 power unit consists of a V6 engine, displacing 1.6 litre and equipped with a single turbocharger. The associated hybrid system is altogether more complicated as energy can be generated by both the turbo and in braking zones. The energy stored can be used to feed extra power to the rear wheels but also to control the speed of the turbo to reduce lag. With an eye on increasing efficiency, both the fuel load and fuel flow is limited, while the hybrid system can store twice the amount of energy as can be harvested in a single lap.

Mated to an equally new 8-speed gearbox, the Renault power unit is bolted to a conventional carbon-fibre and aluminium honeycomb monocoque as a fully stressed member. Dubbed the E22, the new Lotus has conventional front and rear suspension with push-rod actuated dampers at the front and pull-rods at the rear. For safety reasons, the new regulations also stipulated the use of a lower nose, while designers previously had created raised noses to improve aero efficiency. This has resulted in some very unusual creations, of which Lotus' two-fingered was the most unusual. Although initial concerns over its legality were raised, it was deemed to meet the regulations.

Taking in account the amount of work needed to build the all-new Lotus E22 Renault, the team opted to sit out the opening test at Jerez. In retrospect, this was a smart move as the Renault power unit had some serious issues and most other Renault-powered teams only completed a few laps. The E22 finally broke cover at the Bahrain test halfway through February where it was driven by Romain Grosjean and new signing Pastor Maldonado.

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  Article Image gallery (10) Specifications User Comments (1)