Lotus Renault Launch 2011 Car: Bruno Senna Is Third Driver

Daniel ZylberkanCorrespondent IFebruary 1, 2011

VALENCIA, SPAIN - JANUARY 31:  Robert Kubica (R) of Poland and Vitaly Petrov (L) of Russia attend the unveiling of the new Lotus Renault GP R31 at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit on January 31, 2011 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images)
Ker Robertson/Getty Images

Icons, we all think of icons when Formula 1 is mentioned.

There are few of them and one of the most powerful icons in the history of Formula 1 is a black and gold Lotus car, with a Renault engine in the back and a Senna with a green and yellow helmet.

Today, Lotus Renault GP, at least for now, revealed its 2011 challenger and well, it looks nothing those classic JPS black-and-gold cars from the 1970s and 80s.

But they are obviously trying to evoke the emotions that those Lotus cars are connected with.

Back in 1978, the Lotus 79 caused a revolution in Formula One with the introduction of ground effect aerodynamics into the sport.

With Mario Andretti at the wheel, that Lotus, albeit with a Cosworth engine, took the only American to the Formula One world drivers championship.

But most importantly, that happened in a car that was black and gold.

That image is so imprinted in the memories of Formula 1 fans that is almost too easy to try and use that for a team's own benefit.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Seven years later, a then-young Ayrton Senna had never won a Formula 1 race. It was in a Lotus at the 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix, where the world first saw how dominant Ayrton would be.

He would earn his first pole position and his first win, but the circumstances was what made that historic victory even more significant.

During a very wet race, the soon to be three-time world champion would lap every single one of his challengers except for one and he finished more than a full minute ahead of second-place finisher Michele Alboreto.

Bruno Senna will now have the opportunity to sometimes run in a black-and-gold Lotus Renault in Friday practice.

Further, he has a chance of getting on the grid if Vitaly Petrov underperforms or, God forbid, either of the lead drivers can't race for any reason, such as injury.

But honestly, why did I go off on that sort of diatribe when talking about the 2011 Lotus Renault?

Simple, nostalgia isn't always a good thing, especially if it is just nostalgia for the sake of it.

Lotus built its reputation by being the innovative, forward looking and successful of constructors from the mid-1960s through to the 1980s.

I really hope they aren't co-opting that image and that nostalgia just to make money and to make a splash. The most important thing they need to do in order to be respected as a Lotus team is to win, short and simple: W-I-N. 

With the news today from Valencia, that the new R31's exhaust is aimed forward in order to create more downforce while bending the spirit of the exhaust blown diffuser ban is something that Colin Chapman and the original Lotus team would have been proud of, so although it seems to only be a sponsorship/naming rights deal.

Bouiller and Allison have the right spirit in trying to bring the Lotus name back to the grid.

For better or for worse, in the eyes of the other Lotus team, who think they have the Chapman legacy on their side. But that's an issue for another article.