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No panels to cover up Lotus' modesty.

Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus team won the race to be first to show off their 2013 Formula One car with a challenger that put performance over beauty and turned up its nose at cosmetic surgery.

In one of the few rule changes for the year ahead, teams are now allowed to use 'modesty panels' to streamline the ugly 'broken noses' that caused gasps of dismay when first sighted last season.

The fairings, fitted over existing structures, do not affect the car's aerodynamics and teams are not obliged to use them.

The black, red and gold Lotus E21 decided to remain defiantly immodest, retaining the distinctive step of its race-winning predecessor from 2012, although the team did not rule out a future makeover.

Lotus finished in fourth place last season, with Finland's 2007 world champion Raikkonen winning the floodlit Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and ending up third overall in his comeback season after two years out. That win was the team's first since double world champion Fernando Alonso won in Japan in 2008 under their former guise of Renault.

"Our expectation is to do hopefully better than we did last year, which is quite a lot," said team chairman Gerard Lopez. Team principal Eric Boullier agreed: "Third place is at least an achievement that we would like to have...we expect to build on the momentum from 2012."

Grosjean had a torrid time in his first full season, earning a one-race ban after a collision that put title contender Alonso out of the Belgian Grand Prix with the Spaniard lucky to escape serious injury.

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Publication:Gulf Weekly
Date:Feb 6, 2013
Words:282
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