Why the last innovative Lotus was banned

Why the last innovative Lotus was banned

The Lotus 88 could well have been the car to return the team to the sharp end of the F1 grid. But objections from officials and rival outfits meant Lotus never had the chance to show off the ingeniousness of its design

At the 1981 season-opening grand prix in Long Beach, Team Lotus driver Elio de Angelis was black-flagged in the first practice session. While the scrutineers were happy that their Lotus 88 cars complied with the rulebook, FISA - the FIA's subcommittee responsible for governing Formula 1 - was less so.

The team's innovative twin-chassis concept, built into the 88 to push the limits of what ground-effect aerodynamics could achieve, was judged to be completely illegal – being barred from even leaving the pits in practice for that year's US Grand Prix West.

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