Lotus E20 - prototype 'double DRS' system 23 July 2012
In Friday's practice sessions in Germany Lotus trialled - in the team's words - a 'prototype concept', thought to be a response to the FIA declaring Mercedes' 'double DRS' system legal earlier in the year. Whereas the Mercedes' system ducts airflow from the rear wing through the car and uses it to stall the front wing, cutting drag and boosting top speed, Lotus's appears to influence only the rear. Airflow enters the rear bodywork via two additional 'ear' inlets (not shown here) either side of the main air inlet above the driver's head. While the exact workings remain unclear, it appears that this airflow is then passed via a large duct over the rear beam wing, where it also cools the hydraulics radiator, but at certain pressures and speeds the airflow is diverted through a smaller duct to the upper section of the rear wing. There, it exits through the gaps between the endplates and the wing profiles, reducing drag and boosting the DRS effect - a kind of 'turbocharged' DRS, as it were. Lotus admit it is still early days and did not race the development at Hockenheim, but expect to see it reappear at future races.