The Lotus F1 Team first publicly announced their decision to return to the Formula One circuit a month ago, and they’re already making quick time to overcome their lengthy to-do list. First and foremost is the vehicle itself, which has been spotted for the first time in model form today. Pictured above (and below, after the jump), the Lotus prototype is preparing to undergo a rigorous wind tunnel test to assess aerodynamics. Upon completion, the model will be refined and assembled in ready-to-race form, which is apparently easier said then done.
In addition to the difficulties commonly associated with getting any precisely engineered vehicles road-ready, Lotus also faces the sizable obstacles presented by the new F1 requirements. As per the new regulations (effective in 2010), vehicles are no longer permitted to refuel during the race, which will necessitate the addition of a larger fuel tank, and new tire regulations will finally force teams to switch to low-profile slicks (which is something the majority of F1 fans have been suggesting amongst themselves for years). Despite the numerous difficulties, however, technical director Mike Gascoyne is confident the Lotus F1 Team will be able to keep pace (no awful pun intended). “There is no escaping the challenges that we face simply to get the car ready for the first race of next season, but I am confident that we are up to the task in hand,” said Gascoyne. “Our target is to get the car ready for a roll out by the middle of February so that we can carry out pre-season testing in preparation for Bahrain in mid-March.”