Team Lotus' new Renault-powered T128 challenger has been designed to form the development platform for the squad's future cars, according to its chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne.
While the team's first car was a conservative design that allowed Lotus to build up the squad's internal infrastructure through 2010, the new machine has been created from scratch with a far more aggressive approach that Lotus hopes will allow it to develop forward beyond the next season.
"With last year's car and especially the first half of the season it was just an exercise in survival, whereas from the middle of last year it was about building the team up – that's when we started working on this car," explained Gascoyne in the company's Team Lotus Notes online magazine this morning. "I think the thing that was a challenge this year was that the 2010 car really was a one-off, because of the way it was done with the design team and the time we had.
"There's been almost no carry-over of parts for the 2011 car, whereas normally you'd have a substantial carryover and the chance to optimize last year's parts."
Gascoyne added that the T128 carries many visual cues to contemporary Formula 1 design thinking and is considerably more aerodynamically advanced than its predecessor.
"It looks substantially different from last year's car – it has a much more 'current' feel about it. And it's the basis of our cars for the future," said Gascoyne
"It really follows current design trends, and aerodynamically it's much more evolved. I mean, a car is really the sum of 4,000 small details, so it's hard to pick out specific areas that are particularly brilliant, but overall it's a much more optimized work of design and engineering."