Lotus have decided to skip Formula 1’s first pre-season test in Jerez, later this month to give themselves more time to work on their new car, the team said on Monday.
“We’re going to keep our car under wraps a little longer than some other teams,” technical director Nick Chester said in a team release. “We’ve decided that attending the Jerez test isn’t ideal for our build and development programme.
“We are likely to unveil the car before attending the Bahrain tests, and in Bahrain we should really be able to put the car through its paces in representative conditions.”
The first pre-season test, at the Spanish track, is due to start on January 28 with two further tests in much hotter conditions in Bahrain before the opening race in Australia on March 16.
In the past, some teams have participated in the opening test of the year using cars from the previous season but there is nothing to be gained from that now with the introduction of a new engine.
However, given the extent of the technical changes and the limited opportunities to test cars with the new 2014 tyres before the season starts, most teams still want to get as much mileage as possible even if the weather in Jerez can be variable at this time of year.
Formula 1 has replaced the previous 2.4 litre V8 engines with a 1.6 litre turbocharged V6 unit with energy recovery systems.
Chester, whose team had financial difficulties last year, said that development of the new E22 had been positive and that the figures looked promising.
“That said, we are very much working with very little idea of what the other teams are doing. This is the first year of radically different regulations which means that all teams are developing their cars along potentially quite different avenues,” he added.
“We think we have a very good solution to the challenge and hopefully this will be seen when the E22 turns its wheels in anger.”
Renault-powered Lotus finished last season fourth overall, with Kimi Raikkonen winning in Australia and the E21 a front runner for most of 2013.
“I think we can still reflect on what a good car the E21 was as it finished the season still looking particularly competitive, and it was the only car able to get close to the Red Bull. There are certain concepts from the E21 which are still valid for the E22, but in particular our development methodology and synchronisation with our various simulations is especially relevant and promising,” said Chester.
Raikkonen has since moved to Ferrari, complaining publicly before he left that he had not been paid, with Pastor Maldonado joining Lotus alongside Frenchman Romain Grosjean, in what is seen as financial salvation for the team, due to the Venezuelan’s large sponsorship package.
“We’ve undertaken chassis fits for Romain and Pastor. Certainly, our partners who have seen the car have reported themselves to be very impressed with the layout and various solutions to the new technical challenges,” added Chester. (Reuters)
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