Lotus break the spirit of Formula 1 sporting regulations as new E22 flops at Jerez

Lotus are no strangers to testing problems

Lotus are no strangers to testing problems

Mixed reports are emerging from the past weekend’s Lotus ‘promotional event’ at Jerez – which broke the spirit of the 2014 Formula 1 regulations – with the Enstone outfit claiming all went well and according to plan. However, an eye witness claims that little went on, and what did happen on track was not at racing speed.

Despite ignoring a request for comment from GP247 with regards to feedback from the ‘event’, a Lotus spokesperson  released information to select media claiming: “Both the chassis and the new Renault Power Unit ran without any major problems.”

This statement is in itself a breach of the spirit of the 2014 Formula 1 sporting regulations which state: “A PE (Promotional Event) shall be defined as an event in which a competitor participates purely for marketing or promotional purposes.”

The Lotus spokesperson added: “Pastor [Maldonado] settled in very quickly and is already fitting into the team nicely. The car went together well and the design and build quality is another step up on the successful E21 of 2013.”

Romain Grosjean had troubles during testing last year

Romain Grosjean had troubles during testing last year

“We are looking forward to a full testing programme in Bahrain next week where we will start to see the potential of the new package.”

However a source, who works at Jerez and was present at the two day event, revealed that on the first day [Friday] the E22 “hardly ran at all and only emerged from the pit garage late in the day.”

On Saturday the E22 “did do around 20 laps” with either Maldonado or Romain Grosjean in the cockpit. But according to the source the E22 was “not running at testing or racing speeds [and was] actually very slow at times” on the second day, and “runs were limited to a few lap” stints at a time.

Furthermore the source claims they saw no evidence of cameras or TV crews normally present at such promotional events.

The new Lotus E22 hardly did any laps in anger

The new Lotus E22 hardly did any laps in anger

In fact, a cordon of tight security was placed around the former grand prix venue throughout the two days, with several photographers being ushered away during proceedings.

Lotus have now exhausted their two day quota of promotional events, and along with Renault, who bankrolled the episode, have effectively gone against the spirit of the rules if not having actually broken them.

Article 21.1 of the 2014 F1 Sporting Regulations issued by the FIA states: “Each competitor will also be permitted to carry out two Promotional Events (PE) with the cars [built in order to comply with the 2013, 2014 or 2015 Formula One Technical Regulations] which will not be considered TCC [Testing of Current Cars]. A PE shall be defined 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.”

Apparently the Jerez escapade for Lotus, and Renault, was not “purely for marketing or promotional purposes” as the rules specify.

The Lotus E22 features some intriguing innovations

The Lotus E22 features some intriguing innovations

Article 22.1 adds: “In order that an FIA observer may be appointed, competitors must inform the FIA of any planned TCC or PE at least 72 hours before it is due to commence, the following information should be provided.”

It is not known if the FIA sent on observer to ensure that the ‘promotional event’ did not turn into an engine test in the wake of Renault’s debacle at the first pre-season test.

On Saturday, when pressed for comment by GP247 regarding the two day ‘promotional event’ a Lotus spokesperson said: “You’re on the list when we issue any further info.”

This did not transpire, but selected media appeared to get comment instead, while Renault have ignored a request for feedback from the event. (GP247)

Subbed by AJN.

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