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Lotus back on track after chassis issues 29 Feb 2012

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20.
Formula One Testing, Day 1, Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, 21 February 2012 James Allison (GBR) Team Lotus Technical Director.
Formula One Testing, Day 1, Jerez, Spain, Tuesday, 7 February 2012 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20.
Formula One Testing, Day 3, Jerez, Spain, Thursday, 9 February 2012 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E20.
Formula One Testing, Day 2, Jerez, Spain, Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Lotus say they have resolved the chassis problem - confirmed as an issue with the mounting of the upper front wishbone rear arm - that caused them to abandon last week’s second pre-season test in Spain after only a few laps.

The team were using their second E20 car for the first time and after driver Romain Grosjean reported a problem their initial suspicion was a manufacturing fault specific to that chassis. However, subsequent investigations showed that changes were required to both chassis.

“It's been an intense few days, but I have to say that everybody has completed their tasks in tremendous fashion,” technical director James Allison told the team’s website ahead of this week’s final pre-season test, which starts in Barcelona on Thursday.

“On the first day back at the factory, I spoke to the entire Enstone personnel and clearly explained what happened. Everybody understood that the situation was unfortunate, but under control. We designed the new parts, manufactured them, and fitted them to the chassis. We then completed the necessary tests satisfactorily and the chassis left for Spain.”

As a result of the changes, the E20 is now slightly heavier than before, but Allison insisted the weight gain is not an issue and the chassis does not need to be crash tested again. Perhaps more significant is the track time that Lotus lost because of the problem.

“We’re only talking about 1kg, which is manageable,” he added. “It won’t have any significant impact on handling or performance. Of course, missing four days of testing is not ideal. We need mileage at this stage of the year, as does any other team.

“That said, there are reasons to remain optimistic. First of all, we completed many trouble-free laps in Jerez and gained a good understanding of the car. Also, some of the small issues we identified in Jerez needed to be fixed, and the parts were not available last week. On Thursday, the car will run with all the required redesigned parts. We’re looking forward to being back on track.”

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