Lotus E20 chassis crisis bigger than they want to admit?

Romain Grosjean
Romain Grosjean stopped his Lotus E20 during Jerez testing

Feb.22 (GMM) Lotus is grappling with a major flaw on their E20 chassis with less than one month before the start of the 2012 Formula 1 world championship season.

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 Team. Formula One Testing, Day 1, Jerez, Spain, Tuesday 7 February 2012.
Kimi Raikkonen will miss out on valuable track time

The former Renault team has sensationally abandoned this week’s Barcelona test and returned to its Enstone headquarters, after an unspecified chassis fault was detected on the new E20 car on Tuesday.

“We’ll put the right measures in place and we will be able to fix the problem before next week,” said technical director James Allison.

But Gary Anderson, formerly the designer of Jordan and Jaguar cars, believes Lotus is playing down the problem.

“You would have thought they could have fixed it overnight – chassis are made of carbon fibre composite so you’d be looking to bond new strengthening parts on,” he told the BBC.

“In my experience, if you can’t do it in 24 hours, I don’t think you can do it at all. I wouldn’t be surprised if this meant they needed a new chassis, which would make it touch and go for the first race.”

Auto Motor und Sport thinks Lotus did not discover the fundamental problem at Jerez last week because the track is not as demanding as the Circuit de Catalunya,

The problem means that Kimi Raikkonen, who was set to take over the E20 for the final two days in Barcelona, will miss out on track time made more even more valuable by his two year absence from F1.