Lotus News

Lotus F1 Team: More Testing Back at Barcelona

Kimi Räikkönen returned to the cockpit of the E21 for the fourth and final day of testing following day three’s absence through illness, only for the gearbox of his car to issue its own sick-note causing a lengthy interruption to running on the final day of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The E21 remained in the garage for much of the morning as the team diagnosed, rectified and replaced the gearbox for Kimi to run in the afternoon; the Finn eventually completing 50 laps and setting the fifth fastest time of the day.

Fast Facts:
  • Track: Barcelona, Spain, 5.9km
  • Chassis: E21-02
  • Weather: Sunny, dry, ambient 6-18°C, track 8-26°C
  • Programme: System checks, temperature monitoring, data correlation, assessment of the performance of the car with updated aerodynamic package (including new front and rear wing evaluation), set-up changes
  • Laps Completed: 50
  • Classification: P5, 1:21.568
  • Interruptions: Gearbox fault investigation and subsequent change

Kimi Räikkönen:

“I was sick yesterday and the car was sick this morning. It’s not what you want, but you go testing to find out if there are any problems with the car. For sure, we haven’t completed all the laps we wanted during pre-season, but that is often the case. We’ve found a few issues and we have solutions for them, which is positive. Personally, I felt much better today and I was fine driving. We ran through a lot of assessments this afternoon and the feeling in the team is that we have a strong basis to start the season; even if we haven’t shown that every day. I’m happy with the car and looking forward to going racing.”

James Allison, Technical Director:
“Today was something like this entire test in microcosm; we spent too much of the day in the garage, but when we did get out on track we made good progress. A definite positive is that we are not finding it difficult to be on the pace. Today’s gearbox problem was the same as we experienced previously but we’re confident we have a solution and are not concerned about it causing us any issues in Melbourne. We were able to confirm some aspects of the Melbourne aero package this afternoon and have some more new parts to be run in Australia. Overall we would have been happy with far more pre-season running, but we have not had any difficulties getting a good lap time out of the car without resorting to low fuel runs at any of the tests.”

Eric Boullier, Team Principal:
“Pre-season testing was not perfect for us but we are confident in what we have seen from the E21. We had glitches and we didn’t complete as many laps as we wanted, yet we still completed most of the assessments we required and have a good platform heading to the first race of the season. It was good to see Kimi back in the car today to take over from Davide and Romain’s work yesterday. It’s certain going to be a highly competitive season but I’m confident that we’ll be right in the battle at the front.”

Day Three

With scheduled driver Kimi Räikkönen sidelined through illness, Davide Valsecchi and Romain Grosjean both took turns in the E21 for the third day’s test at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Vastly improved weather on day three in Barcelona meant that Davide made his E21 debut on a dry track, completing 16 laps of familiarisation and exhaust/aero assessments to set the eleventh quickest time of the day.

After a brief stop-over in Paris, Romain returned to take over for the afternoon; completing 46 laps and ending the day with the tenth fastest time.

Fast Facts:
  • Track: Barcelona, Spain, 5.9km
  • Chassis: E21-02
  • Weather: Sunny, dry, ambient 9-17°C, track 11-24°C
  • Programme: System checks, temperature monitoring, data correlation, assessment of the performance of the car with its initial aerodynamic package, new rear suspension set-up evaluation, new rear wing evaluation, driver orientation.
  • Laps Completed: Romain: 46. Davide: 16. Total: 62
  • Classification: Romain: P10, 1:23.380. Davide: P11, 1:23.448
  • Interruptions: Red flags, altering car set-up for driver changes

Davide Valsecchi:

“This morning was quite a rush to get everything ready as the call only came late, but the team were fantastic getting the car prepared for me. I only completed short runs today so I have a limited impression of the E21, however it’s clear that it’s a very good racing car. For me to be able to get immediately on the pace means that the car is certainly fast and competitive. It was a fantastic opportunity; I sat in the seat of a former World Champion so I knew that I’d be fast for sure.”

Romain Grosjean:
“I certainly didn’t expect to be in the E21 again today so it was an interruption to a day off, but as interruptions go it was a pretty good one! The weather was definitely an improvement from what I’ve experienced so far and I was able to assess the new rear front wings; both of which feel improved over the initial versions. We ran with high fuel today so it wasn’t about lap times in the afternoon, but it’s all valuable data we’re getting for the car. I hope that Kimi is feeling better for tomorrow, but I don’t mind driving again if I have to.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
“Obviously, our day was rather compromised because of Kimi being ill. We changed the car for Davide to gain valuable experience in the morning, then changed it over lunchtime to Romain’s settings. Despite the disrupted running, we still completed a Grand Prix distance worth of laps and were able to put valuable miles on our latest rear wing concept as well as evaluating a new front wing. Both look to be a step in the right direction so it’s likely we’ll use them in Australia. Davide did a great job at short notice and we know we can rely on him if he’s called upon again. If Kimi is well enough tomorrow, we will run him in the car, otherwise it will be Romain in action once more.”

Day Two

Romain Grosjean finished his pre-season preparations as the fastest man on track at the Circuit de Catalunya, with weather conditions continuing to frustrate the team’s test programme.

In a day book-ended by rain, an extensive programme was nevertheless completed; including the evaluation of a new rear suspension set-up. As well as being the fastest driver on track, Romain accumulated the third greatest lap tally of the day.

Fast Facts:
  • Track: Barcelona, Spain, 5.9km
  • Chassis: E21-02
  • Weather: Cloudy, bookending showers, ambient 8-11°C, track 8-13°C
  • Programme: System checks, temperature monitoring, data correlation, assessment of the performance of the car with its initial aerodynamic package, new rear suspension set-up evaluation
  • Laps Completed: 88
  • Classification: P1, 1:22.716
  • Interruptions: Red flags

Romain Grosjean:

“Even though the weather was far from ideal it was a pretty good day for us and it’s certainly a better feeling to end the session with the fastest time on the board rather than the slowest! We had strong reliability again today and the E21 feels good in all conditions, which is very promising for the season ahead. Of course, I wish I could have more time in the car before the season starts, but if we’re in the same position on the monitors when we get to Australia I’ll be very happy indeed.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
“Today was far more productive than yesterday. We debuted a new rear suspension variation, working on initial set-up in the wet conditions this morning, then switched to dry tyres in the afternoon to gather further data on the medium and soft 2013 Pirelli compounds. Whilst circuit conditions are not as favourable as last week due to the recent rain, we were still able to show good pace and our initial findings from the new rear suspension are promising. Over the next two days we will be working on the updates we have for the E21; there’s plenty of work left to do and we’re hoping that the forecasts for better weather over the weekend are correct.”

Day One

Romain Grosjean returned to the Circuit de Catalunya for another day of testing in cold and wet conditions in Barcelona. The team ran through a programme of assessments and correlations, including work on the DDRS Device.

With the unfavourable track conditions, only short aerodynamic runs were conducted in the afternoon.

Fast Facts:
  • Track: Barcelona, Spain, 5.9km
  • Chassis: E21-02
  • Weather: Cloudy, frequent showers, ambient 8-10°C, track 8-12°C
  • Programme: System checks, temperature monitoring, data correlation, assessment of the performance of the car with its initial aerodynamic package, DDRS Device correlation
  • Laps Completed: 52
  • Classification: P11, 1:34.928
  • Interruptions: Red flags

Romain Grosjean

“Another day with bad weather in Barcelona is not what I wanted, but there’s nothing you can do about it. It was a bit of a frustrating day as we concentrated on aero runs and never went for a time on the drying track surface. The car feels good on both the intermediate and wet tyres and we’ve run through more of our pre-season test programme so those are positives. You never want to see yourself at the bottom of the timing screens, so hopefully that’s the only time it happens this season. We certainly know there’s more pace in the car than we saw today!”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director

“Given the weather, this morning’s session concentrated on running assessments between the wet and intermediate tyres and we’re getting a much better idea of Pirelli’s 2013 wet tyres. In the afternoon we concentrated on assessing our rear wing DDRS Device. These conditions aren’t great as it’s difficult to run comparison tests with an ever changing track surface. Nevertheless, we’ve clocked up more laps on the E21, tried different settings and conducted numerous aero-runs. This meant that our lap time today was very far from what we’d expect had we conducted a more normal test programme.”

About lotusproactive

Lotus proActive is an e-magazine published quarterly by Lotus Engineering, covering engineering articles, industry news and articles from within Group Lotus (Cars, Engineering, Originals and Racing).


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