Lotus say 'modesty panel' to disguise 'boxer's nose' look is too heavy to be used
Enstone team's new car surprisingly still features slopped nose
By James Galloway. Last Updated: January 29, 2013 9:45am
Lotus' James Allison has clarified the team will add a 'modesty panel' onto the E21 only when they find a lightweight solution after launching their new car with a so-called 'boxer's nose'.
Prior to the unveiling of the first 2013 challenger, the expectation had been that the new season's cars wouldn't feature the kind of ugly slopped noses seen for the first time on last year's models after the teams agreed with the FIA the option of adding a laminate 'modesty panel' over the nose for aesthetic purposes.
However, while a more elegant solution than many others seen in 2012, the new Lotus still sported the notorious design when it was unveiled live on Sky Sports News on Monday evening.
Asked by Craig Slater why they hadn't taken the option of covering up the front of the nose, Technical Director Allison explained that the team had yet to find a light enough material.
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"We have not done it yet because the cosmetic panel would weigh a few grams and with a Formula 1 car adding a few grams on that you don't need to add is really anathema to us," he said.
However, the technical chief did make clear that should they find a solution that didn't compromise performance then Lotus would have no hesitation in bolting it onto the car.
"However, if we find a cosmetic panel that looks nice, but much more importantly and crucially, develops us a bit of downforce then we'll pop it on as quick as you like."
Indeed, Allison predicted that few rival cars would also feature a vanity panel.
"I'm guessing not," he predicted when asked if the cars would generally look different to 2012.
"A [vanity] panel is optional and I would not be surprised if the majority of the grid chose not to make use of it."
The team have also confirmed they will continue to run the 'passive DRS system' that they trialled to mixed results during the second half of 2012.