The team, which competed as Renault last year has changed its identity and will be going into its first season with full Lotus branding.
The E20 is outwardly one of the more traditional designs unveiled so far, though it features the stepped nose design now commonplace, and reverts to a traditional exhaust layout – as mandated by the 2012 regulations – after last year’s experiment with a forward exiting exhaust. Team boss Eric Boullier hinted that the design featured plenty of subtle innovations.
“It’s true that the team’s reputation is good in terms of innovation and we brought through the last years some nice ones, and let’s say some more delicate ones, but definitely we have some this year,” he said.
The car is the first to be entered by the ex-Renault team under the Lotus title after the end of the branding dispute with rival team owner Tony Fernandes, whose erstwhile Lotus squad now runs as Caterham.
The E20 keeps the traditional black and gold colours used by the original Team Lotus team in the 1970s and 80s, and features prominent new sponsorship from Unilever brands Rexona and Clear.
Lotus has enticed 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen back to Formula One this year, with former test driver Romain Grosjean promoted to the second race seat alongside the Iceman after claiming last year’s GP2 title.
Boullier said the priority was to bring a winning spirit back to Enstone, which had claimed championships in its Benetton and Renault eras, most recently in 2006 with Fernando Alonso.
“My biggest hope is obviously to bring this positivity back again and to make sure this team is again at the front of the grid and for many years and a long time,” said Boullier.
“Also, to have all the people in Enstone enjoying life here and enjoying their passion for motor racing and F1.
“The fear is that we can have anything wrong which you cannot expect or handle and which would slow down this process.”
Lotus were known to have been working on a reactive ride height system for the E20, which they tested on its predecessor in Abu Dhabi late last year. However the sport’s governing body banned the system last month.
Video of the Lotus E20 launch: