1 Feb 2011

Lotus teams unveil new cars for F1 season

9:09 am on 1 February 2011

The newly-formed Lotus Renault GP Formula One team has unveiled its new car for 2011 with its striking black and gold livery, as rival Team Lotus also sought to grab the limelight with an online launch just hours earlier.

The new R31 will have over 92 per cent new components, and is proof of Lotus Renault desire to push back the limits and fight at the front.

Technical Director James Allison said the entire concept of the R31 differs considerably from any car this team has ever produced.

Renault finished a disappointing fifth in the constructors' championship last season, with drivers Robert Kubica of Poland and Russia's Vitaly Petrov in eighth and 13th places respectively.

But the Lotus group, which is owned by Malaysian automaker Proton, has taken a major equity stake in the team for this season, which is now renamed Lotus Renault GP.

Meanwhile, Team Lotus, which returned to Formula One last season under Tony Fernandes, the flamboyant founder of Malaysia-based budget carrier AirAsia, will be competing on the grid separately this year.

In September, Proton terminated Fernandes' licence, forcing him to drop the original name of Lotus Racing and compete as Team Lotus. However, the issue was not resolved by the name change and legal action continues.

In what was seen as a snub to Lotus Renault, Team Lotus launched its new car online a few hours before their rivals.