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Lotus aims to race updated Coanda exhaust in US
Following the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi, Lotus is confident its upgraded Coanda exhaust will be ready to race at the US Grand Prix next weekend.
Lotus introduced a Coanda exhaust system in Korea to try to maximise the performance of the diffuser and boost downforce. Similar systems are run by all the top teams but can sacrifice engine power in return for the extra downforce. At the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Lotus trialled an updated version of the exhaust minimise the power loss, but were not confident enough with it after final practice to run it in the race.
"We are still experimenting with the latest evolution of our Coanda system," technical director James Allison said. "This delivers the same downforce as the one we introduced in Korea and used in the Abu Dhabi race, but does not sap as much power from the engine. We trialled this evolution in Abu Dhabi, but opted to go for the known quantity of the Korea-spec. Now we have the Young Driver Test behind us, we are confident that this evolution will assist with around an extra six horsepower for the last two races of the season. We also have a little aero upgrade to the front wing too."
Even without the upgrade, Kimi Raikkonen went on to win the race in Abu Dhabi, but Allison said the car had been showing strong performance figures since Korea.
"Since we upgraded the car with the Coanda exhaust system in Korea, the E20's actually been pretty decent. It maybe hasn't looked that way in Korea and India as we were trapped behind other people, but the pace of the car in the races has been strong. In Abu Dhabi, Kimi was making very confident sounding noises before the race as he was happy with the car. What we needed was an adequate result from qualifying to give us half a chance, and then a good start.
"We got both of those; Kimi did a cracking lap in qualifying, there was a bit of good fortune with Sebastian [Vettel] going to the back of the grid, then a bit more good fortune by Webber having a poor start. It was the first race for a long time where we could run the car in free air near the front of the grid and - hey presto - we won the race."
Allison is hoping the car will again be competitive at the Circuit of the Americas next weekend.
"It's a similar overall downforce level used on the car, but it's a very different circuit from the Yas Marina," he said. "There is a much wider range of corner types. Austin has a series of flowing fast corners which doesn't exist in Abu Dhabi, then there are some slow chicanes which do. The diversity of corners means that it's a much sterner overall test of the car. However, if we look at other tracks that test the car in this comprehensive manner, we've been pretty good