Maldonado retired from the race at the end of lap two after experiencing a sudden loss of power, but though Lotus suspected an off-track moment might have caused the issue, they were only able to diagnose the exact problem after careful analysis of the Venezuelan’s car.
“We are still checking all the parts but he had a big excursion at Eau Rouge and hit some kerbs very hard which gave the chassis a 17G impact,” explained Lotus technical director Nick Chester.
“That looks to have effectively knocked the power off the car and although he managed to get the power back on, it looks like we might have damaged the clutch control valve. Even though we may have been able to reset it when Pastor came back to the pits, we looked at the extent of the damage and decided to retire the car.”
Despite Maldonado’s DNF, Lotus collected their biggest points haul of the season in Spa thanks to Romain Grosjean’s third-place finish, and Chester is confident that the team should be similarly competitive on the high-speed sweeps of Monza.
“I think that the potential is quite good,” he said. “The cars have performed well at medium downforce tracks like Montreal and Spa.
“Monza is a step lower downforce that we never run anywhere else. The car seems to be efficient heading down to these kinds of levels. The E23 also has good braking and is reasonably well set-up for low drag. It should go quite well in Italy.”