Renault has invited representatives of their embattled teams – Red Bull, Caterham and Toro Rosso – to attend the ‘promotional event’ which the brand new Lotus E22 will undergo at Jerez today and Saturday.
As we reported earlier this week, Renault are footing the bill for the two 100 km tests, which for them is a vital early step towards getting their all new V6 turbo powertrain and components operating effectively, in the aftermath of their woeful four days at the first test, late last month.
As a gesture of goodwill the French manufacturer offered the teams, afflicted by the shortcomings during the test, the opportunity to be special guests at the Lotus ‘promotional event’ as observers.
Lotus initially were unhappy with the arrangement, but once Renault offered to foot the bill, the cash strapped Enstone outfit relented.
As per regulations two promotional events are allowed per team during the course of the season using existing cars, which is described in the regulations as “an event in which a competitor participates purely for marketing or promotional purposes. No such test may exceed 100 km in length and only tyres manufactured specifically for this purpose by the appointed supplier may be used.”
Thus Lotus will use up their two day quota over the next two days, where it is expected that both Romain Grosjean and newcomer Pastor Maldonado will get seat time in the Lotus E22.
The team’s technical director Nick Chestersaid, “We’re very happy with the direction we have taken and it will be very interesting to see how the cars perform once we get a proper chance to compare them on track.”
“Where there are so many variations in design, there is always bound to be a little talk, but we remain relaxed and focused on our design and progression.”
Despite being the only team to miss out on Jerez, Lotus believe the E22 development programme is well on track, while the team is confident of a strong showing when they go up against their rivals in Bahrain later this month.
“The car is coming together pretty well now. The build is well advanced and we think we’ll be in good shape for Bahrain come the next test,” added Chester.
Nevertheless the real focus will be in establishing if Renault engineers have taken significant steps to resolve the engine problems that plagued their teams at Jerez last time out.
At the first test the four Mercedes powered teams collectively notched up 875 laps, with Ferrari’s three teams managing 444 laps while the trio of Renault powered teams could only manage 151 laps, and at speeds well off the pace. (GP247)
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