Lotus to miss first pre-season test

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IOL mot pic jan7 F1 Renault 1-6-litre V6 turbo 1

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Renault 1.6-litre V6 turbo engine will power the new Lotus E22, but that is about all we, or Lotus, are sure of.

Lotus has decided to skip Formula One's first pre-season test in Jerez this month to give the team more time to work on its new car.

Technical director Nick Chester said on Monday: “We're going to keep our car under wraps a little longer than some other teams.

“We've decided that attending the Jerez test 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.”

The first pre-season test at the Spanish track is due to start on 28 January with two further tests in much hotter conditions in Bahrain before the opening race in Australia on 16 March.

TECHNICAL CHANGES

In the past, some teams have taken part in the first test of the year using cars from the previous season but there is nothing to be gained from that now with the introduction of a new engine.

However, given the extent of the technical changes and the limited opportunities to test cars with the new 2014 tyres before the season starts, most teams still want to get as much mileage as possible even if the weather in Jerez can be variable at this time of year.

McLaren's Jenson Button warned in December that testing in southern Spain could prove “hilarious', given the cold temperatures and likely lack of reliability.

“It will be very cold.”

“The tyres aren't going to work,” said the 2009 champion, “the cars probably won't work either and when you do get a lap it is probably going to feel weird because you are running higher gears.”

Formula One has replaced the previous 2.4-litre V8 engines with a 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 with energy recovery systems.

Chester, whose team had financial difficulties in 2013, said development of the new E22 had been positive and the figures looked promising.

“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,” he added.

“We think we have a very good solution to the challenge.”

“We’ll find out when the E22 turns its wheels in anger.”

Renault-powered Lotus finished last season fourth overall, with Kimi Raikkonen winning in Australia.

Raikkonen has since gone to Ferrari, complaining before he left that he had not been paid, with Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado joining Lotus alongside Frenchman Romain Grosjean. - Reuters


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