Analysis: Devil in the detail for Lotus

The Lotus E21 is by no means a radical overhaul of its predecessor, but the small changes that have been made are those that should deliver the greatest return.

Technical director James Allison said at the launch on Monday night that the "devil is in the detail" of the latest car from Enstone, and that appears to be borne out by a deeper look at its design.

While it retains the stepped-nose and pushrod suspension concept of its predecessor - and the front and rear wings shown are not the final 2013 version – changes elsewhere should produce a decent step forward.

The car that was launched did not feature the passive double DRS that the outfit hopes will deliver it a straightline speed advantage in 2013.

On the launch car, the biggest change appears to be in the area of exhausts. The outfit has switched to the style of Coanda ramp and tunnel set-up that Red Bull put to such good effect last year.

This concept should deliver Lotus improved downforce, even if it is at the expense of throttle-sensitive handling and a small loss of power.

Team owner Gerard Lopez made it clear this week that one of the strengths of Lotus was that a culture of racing had been harnessed at Enstone.

"The people here feel pretty good about the team," he said. "There is a special Enstone culture for sure.

"I am not saying they are laidback, but there is a very accepting culture.

"People with differences who handle things in a different way. There is a common denominator though, which is racing."

That focus means there are no fads or radical elements of the E21 for the sake of it.

It is an approach that may not have delivered headline grabbing attention at the launch, but it is the right way for a team that wants to go racing and win.

* AUTOSPORT will bring a full technical analysis of the Lotus E21 by Craig Scarborough later today.

Lotus E21 launch - full coverage:

Lotus reveals the E21

Raikkonen sure Lotus capable of titles

E21 unveiling gallery

Lotus keeps passive double DRS

Raikkonen keen to prolong comeback

Valsecchi becomes Lotus third driver

Why Lotus was right to keep Grosjean