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Lotus: We're making strong progress

25 Feb 2014

Lotus insist that they are making ‘strong progress’ with their new car, the Renault-powered E22, despite it completing just 111 laps - the fewest of any car, except Marussia’s MR03 - on its official debut in Bahrain last week.

“Certainly, we started from a position very far from where we want to be,” explained Lotus’s technical director Nick Chester in an interview on the team’s official website.

“On the first day (in Sakhir) we completed a mere seven laps, then 18, then next 26, and 59 by the final day, so we are heading in the right direction in terms of track time - and time on the track is what we need to understand and develop the car.

“We have to remember this is very sophisticated new technology we are running and we are adopting a cautious approach to understanding how everything should work,” he continued.

“Certainly the problems we have had relating to the energy store unit have meant lengthy amounts of time in the garage as we change components.”

Despite limited running for both Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean in Bahrain, Chester believes that there were plenty of positives to take from the test.

“The correlation of how the car looks in the wind tunnel and in simulations relative to how it performs aerodynamically on track seem to be good, which is encouraging for future developments with the car,” he said.

“The last day of running was very productive and has given us a lot of data to work with going forwards.

“There is still a lot of pace to be found from the E22. We’re working with Renault Sport F1 on the operation of the power unit, we only ran the power unit at representative power levels during the last day of the test and there is more time to come from optimising power delivery and allowing the drivers more time to get used to it. We haven’t started looking at car setup yet which will unlock more performance.”

Lotus will have a final opportunity to hone the E22’s setup ahead of the first race in Australia at this week’s final pre-season test in Bahrain, which runs from February 27 to March 2.

“Clearly it’s a different scenario to this time last year for all teams,” explained Chester. “All teams will be concentrating on race simulations at this week’s Bahrain test to prepare for Melbourne.”