Exclusive: up close with the Martini racers
As Martini celebrates its 150th anniversary, we got a few of them into the TG studio…
Posted: 02 Aug 2013
◦ 1979 (first ground effect car)
◦ Lotus/Hewland 5 speed
Revolutionary concepts are rarely triumphant from the word go. Not even when they come from the brain of Colin Chapman. Such was the case with the Lotus 80, the first ever ground-effect F1 car. The plan was to generate downforce from the underbody of the car, meaning that the wings and spoilers up top could be smaller and so cause less drag and turbulence. It was a good theory, but during testing it was found that the car would gain and lose downforce suddenly at certain speeds, making it a very hard car for the driver to predict. Lotus persevered with it for most of the 1979 season, with Mario Andretti scoring a best of third at the Spanish GP, but Lotus later reverted to the older 79 chassis.