Lotus pull out of second Formula One winter test
20:24 21 February 2012
Lotus have pulled out of the winter’s second pre-season test in Barcelona after completing only seven laps on its first day.
The Hethel-backed constructor, buoyed by the E20’s reliable – and quick – debut in Jerez at the start of the month, did not make it to lunch on the first of four days at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Despite French driver Romain Grosjean getting an early start, a problem with the Lotus’ newly revised chassis signalled an end to the day’s action – something Enstone later applied across the whole test.
“Before we were due to fly chassis E20-01 out to Barcelona in replacement of chassis E20-02 we ran a series of simulations at the factory based on the data provided by our brief running on track today,” said technical director James Allison.
“As a result, we were able to identify an area which requires some additional work. It will be more productive for us to carry out these modifications to both chassis at Enstone rather than send E20-01 out to this week’s test.
“We’ll put the right measures in place and we will be able to fix the problem before next week.”
The decision puts Lotus four test days behind most of the grid’s front runners, with one more four-day test in Barcelona at the start of next month before the season starts for real in Australia on March 18.
Lotus team principal Eric Boullier added: “Not running this week has been a tough decision to take, but we feel that our choice is the right one.
“On the positive side, we have quickly identified the issue with the chassis and our design office has already devised a solution. We will be present at next week’s test in Barcelona.
“We draw faith from the fact that the E20 was quick out of the box in Jerez and showed its reliability there. We have a lot of work ahead of us over the next week but everyone at Enstone is ready for this challenge.”
Following the end of his running, Grosjean said: “We completed a few aero runs and then started timed runs, but I was very quickly aware that the car wasn’t responding as it should. It’s not ideal to lose track time, but…it’s far better that we have an issue like this now rather than in Melbourne.”