Lotus reveals E22 in an unconventional manner

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Friday likely will go down in history as an odd day in the state of the Lotus F1 Team.

Earlier this morning, team principal Eric Boullier has left his position, with co-chairman Gerard Lopez taking over the role with immediate effect.

Meanwhile, the team revealed its new E22 via a Twitter post, rather than a conventional manner of an online launch or taking the wraps off at Jerez next week. Lotus, of course, is the only team to confirm it will miss the first test of the new year.

The key technical feature of note at first glance is the “double anteater” nose, which is similar to a structure employed by the second iteration of the Audi R15+ TDI LMP1 prototype.

Otherwise, with limited details revealed on the car’s technical format or quotes from any team officials, it seems something could be out of sync.

Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado will drive the E22 when it debuts; the team’s reserve driver is yet to be revealed. Lotus 2013 reserve driver Davide Valsecchi said he, like Kimi Raikkonen before him, had not been paid, and will likely explore other options.

Position of F1 start lights altered to compensate for safety halo

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The position of start lights will be altered on Formula One tracks this season, in a bid to ensure the drivers’ line of vision is not impeded by the controversial halo protection device.

The halo is a titanium structure introduced this year in a bid to ramp up driver safety, forming a ring around the cockpit top. It is designed to protect the drivers’ head from loose debris and offer better safety during eventual collisions.

Although drivers largely understand the need for it, very few like it. They are worried it impedes visibility, it looks ugly and also that fans will no longer be able to identify a driver properly from his race helmet. Drivers also take longer to climb in and out of their cars.

Formula One’s governing body has addressed concerns and asked every circuit “to make the lights at a standard height above the track,” FIA race director Charlie Whiting said.

“Pole position seems to be the worst case scenario with the halo,” Whiting added at the season-opening Australian GP. “Maybe the driver can’t quite see the lights, or see only half of them, and he might have to move his head too much.”

The new start lights were positioned lower for Friday’s first two practice sessions at Albert Park. Drivers were also allowed the rare chance to rehearse grid starts at the end of both sessions.

“We haven’t normally allowed practice starts on the grid here because it’s quite a tight timetable,” Whiting said. “What I thought would be a good idea was to give the driver sight of those lights, rather than for the first time on Sunday evening.”

A repeat set of lights has been moved from its usual position halfway up the grid to a more convenient position to the left.

“Those repeat lights were normally halfway up the grid, and they were fitted round about 2009, when the rear wings became higher on the cars,” Whiting said. “But now the wings have been lowered, there’s no need for those halfway up the grid.”