Lotus 95T

Lotus 95T

by Luca Dal Monte

Despite not achieving victory, the 95T model puts Lotus among the protagonists of the 1984 Formula 1 world championship. The project is signed by French engineer Gerard Ducarouge and is born as a natural development of the previous model, the 94T, which competed in the last races of the 1983 season.

The main difference compared to the previous model is the smaller overall dimensions due to the reduction to 220 litres of the fuel tank capacity, and the wide rear wings, a common feature of all the single-seaters of the 1984 season and a long-term consequence of the abolition, at the end of 1982, of ground effect. The Lotus 95T has two main qualities: great manoeuvrability and, in the hands of the right driver, reliability.

The engine is the 90° V6 with a displacement of 1.5 litres built by Renault-Gordini, which equips the Lotuses since the previous season. Instead of the Pirellis, which proved to be quite problematic in ’83, the Lotus 95T mounts GoodYear tires.

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Nigel Mansell: Mansell achieves two third place finishes in the French and Dutch Grand Prix. At the time, 1984 is the best season in the career of the English driver. The construction of the champion is underway, but it takes time and, above all, a less fragile car. At the end of the season, Nigel leaves Lotus. The first victories will come soon. In Dallas, Nigel sets pole position.

Elio De Angelis: Elio is fast, but above all, he is consistent. He has a different driving style compared to his teammate. He respects the mechanics of the car, which consequently tends to break less. While Mansell collects seven retirements in the first ten races of the year, De Angelis finishes all ten and misses the points zone only once. The best results are second place in Detroit, and third in Brazil, San Marino, and Dallas. He secures pole position in the first race of the year in Brazil.

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The 1984 season is a long series of podiums, achieved by both drivers. The best result is the second place achieved by De Angelis in Detroit. But the Italian driver will also step on the third step of the podium three times, just like his teammate Mansell will do twice. The results could have been even better if the 95T had not suffered from a certain fragility in the gearbox and if the engine had had lower fuel consumption.

With a total of 47 points, Lotus ranks third in the Constructors’ World Championship standings. It is the best result achieved by the English team since the title obtained in 1978.

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