Lotus hope modifications will improve race times
Michael BaileyLotus Racing are hoping they will begin to close the gap on Formula One's established cars - starting with a series of upgrades for this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.Michael Bailey
Lotus Racing are hoping they will begin to close the gap on Formula One's established cars - starting with a series of upgrades for this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.
The first four rounds of the season - races in Bahrain, Australia, Malaysia and China - have seen most of the Hingham-based outfit away from the UK since the campaign started in mid-March. But a three-week gap since Shanghai and the chance to regroup at their Norfolk factory has given the chance for Lotus to introduce updates to the T127 that have been in waiting for months.
Technical officer Mike Gascoyne said: "All the teams will have upgrades for Barcelona, but we're hoping ours are even more significant than our rivals because we received our entry so late and had to freeze the initial specification of the car very early in the design process.
"We do expect it to be reasonably significant - we have an aero package with revised sidepods, front wings and brake ducts, and a number of mechanical changes, but obviously we'll have to wait and see what step forward our rivals will also make.
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"Straight after Barcelona we go to Monaco which is a totally different challenge. It's a unique place in terms of its configuration. Everyone runs maximum downforce and obviously it's a very tight, bumpy street circuit, but the experience our two drivers bring, combined with the progress we've made at the factory and on track, gives me confidence we'll put in a good showing at both races."
Since returning from China Lotus have unpacked and repacked 34 tonnes of freight, run intensive tests on the T127-02 chassis, fitted an entire upgrade package and unveiled its newly painted green and yellow race trailers - with the race team already out in Spain for the race weekend, which starts with free practice on Friday morning.
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Before that, Gascoyne was glad to see the Hingham factory finally up and running close to its capacity.
"It's very gratifying to see the whole factory in full operation, with every department now nearly fully staffed but starting to work to their full potential," he said. "This means we can now look at more long-term development, and start thinking about future cars."