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Lotus to miss first pre-season test of 2014

06 Jan 2014

Lotus, fourth-place finishers in the 2013 constructors’ championship, will not attend the first official test of 2014 in Spain at the end of this month, the team have revealed. Instead their new car, the E22, is expected to debut at the second test in mid February in Bahrain.

“We’re going to keep our car under wraps a little longer than some other teams,” said Lotus technical director Nick Chester. “We’ve decided that attending the Jerez test (on January 28-31) 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.”

With wide-ranging regulation changes being introduced for 2014, all teams face a particularly intense pre-season development schedule this year. But despite the later introduction of the E22, Chester insists work on the new Lotus is progressing well.

“Our E22 development programme has been ongoing for over two years and it has been illuminating watching it grow,” he said. “The backbone of Enstone is strong and we are relishing the challenge of the new season ahead. From our perspective the figures look promising and development has been positive.

“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. It’s fascinating for us engineers and I hope it is fascinating for the fans too. 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.

“We’ve made very good progress with the various homologation tests which took place before Christmas including chassis squeeze and side impact loading tests as well as the rear crash structure, meaning we just have the nose test to complete the car’s homologation.”

With former lead driver Kimi Raikkonen having moved to Ferrari for 2014, Lotus will field a revised line-up this season, with Romain Grosjean partnering new team mate Pastor Maldonado, formerly of Williams.

“We’ve undertaken chassis fits for Romain and Pastor,” confirmed Chester, adding: “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.”

The second pre-season test of 2014 takes place in Bahrain on February 19-22, with a third and final session scheduled for February 27-March 22, also in Bahrain. The first Grand Prix of the year, in Australia, is on March 14-16.