Lotus will not have new car ready for first test

2014 F1 season

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Jerez, 2012Lotus will not have their 2014 car ready for the first test of the year at Jerez.

With the first test of 2014 due to being three weeks from tomorrow, Lotus have become the first team to confirm their new contender will not be ready in time.

“We?re going to keep our car under wraps a little longer than some other teams,” said technical director Nick Chester. “We?ve decided that attending the Jerez test isn?t ideal for our build and development programme.”

Chester added the team intends to have the E22 ready for the second test of 2014 which begins on February 19th. “We are likely to unveil the car before attending the Bahrain tests,” he said, “and in Bahrain we should really be able to put the car through its paces in representative conditions”.

The new car is yet to pass all of the FIA’s mandatory crash tests, Chester added.

“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.”

“We?ve undertaken chassis fits for Romain [Grosjean] and Pastor [Maldonado]. 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.”

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69 comments on Lotus will not have new car ready for first test

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  1. SoLiDG (@solidg) said on 6th January 2014, 17:33

    I guess they are the first of a few teams who won’t be at the test..

    • Dion (@infinitygc) said on 6th January 2014, 17:46

      I agree, there will probably be a few teams that will miss the first test, so Lotus not showing up shouldn’t be that worrying!

      • Nick (@nick-uk) said on 6th January 2014, 19:24

        Lotus not showing up isn’t worrying because others will also not likely be truning up…?

        The season is too long. The costs are too high. Axe 5 races off the calendar and lets rebuild F1 to greatness, because right now it’s a joke.

        • @nick-uk the length of seasons isn’t a problem I don’t think: the teams get more money from increased exposure and the fans get more races to enjoy.

          What is a problem is when the teams can’t afford to build a car for those races, and I absolutely agree with you on that: the top teams are spending far too much. Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari could have a £150m cut in funding and still be spending more than Caterham (if my mind serves me correctly with figures), which is ridiculous frankly.

        • HoHum (@hohum) said on 6th January 2014, 21:52

          Having races is expensive for the teams but the cost is minimal for FOM and that expense for FOM is taken out of revenue before the distribution of funds to the teams where 11 teams share 63% of net revenue and FOM alone gets 37%, which will at least be better than when it was 50/50 .

        • Ciaran (@ciaran) said on 7th January 2014, 1:07

          It’s not as if teams have never missed a test before. And saying that dropping races from the calendar will fix this is just ridiculous.

          • Nick (@nick-uk) said on 7th January 2014, 21:00

            @ciaran Cutting races was principly to do with cutting costs and adding a bit of quality control to the ‘sport’. You can’t sanely deny though that having a season that now goes almost into December and starts earlier than ever is not impacting teams ability to develop a new car.

        • Jeanrien (@jeanrien) said on 7th January 2014, 11:56

          @nick-uk Other aspect is also that there is not a huge advantage to go to Jerez except to try out new engines for several reasons.

          If you want to join the test, the car has to be in its final form and then begin the adjustement and development phases. Lotus could use the 3 extra weeks to continue the initial process. And we have seen in recent years that Jerez wasn’t very representative as tyre could not reach operating window …

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 6th January 2014, 21:00

      Mainly the works teams have most to gain, and I would be surprised if McLaren wouldn’t be there. Williams might be there to get their first experience of mercedes engines on track too.

      Apart from those, there is really not that much to gain from running in a cold Spain, as we saw from last year

      • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 6th January 2014, 21:46

        Ordinarily I’d agree but I think there have been so many technical changes with the cars that they’ll all be very eager to get some mileage on them just to make sure nothing drops off or blows up. Reliability seems to be a major concern so the earlier you can identify reliability issues the more time you have to fix them before the season starts. Even if the first test is no indicator of performance, it’s still a very important shakedown. No team would willingly sacrifice this time if they could avoid it.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th January 2014, 11:02

          I think they missed a couple more crash tests than planned @mazdachris – maybe they annouced that they would be late when they failed the last crash test for the nose (which seems to be the last critical part that did not pass testing yet).
          Although its all too likely that a lack of money at the critical stage last year might have caused them to be a bit too tight on their schedule.

  2. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 6th January 2014, 17:43

    I hope this is a trend because of the extra time designing and building more complex cars… cuz I don’t want Lotus to “do a Williams”

    • Lauri (@f1lauri) said on 6th January 2014, 17:59

      Missing first test is only a good thing when they are doing something special with the car and they are FAST in the first races. If they end up with a slow or average car, missing the first test shows they had some big problems developing the car.

      • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 6th January 2014, 18:44

        @f1lauri in normal circumstances I think that you might be correct, where cars tend to be more of an evolution and build on what is already known. But in a year with major changes to engine and chassis then missing any test is going to have a significant impact – as Jenson Button already said the first test will be hilarious as the number of problems is going to be huge. Teams and drivers missing the first test are just delaying that to the second test.

        Any team missing the first test this year will be doing so either because they are not on track with their new car design and build or because of financial issues. Any argument about it being “not ideal for our build and development programme” is just PR-speak covering one of those issues (or similar) issues.

      • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 6th January 2014, 19:03

        @f1lauri depends on many things. I think in 2012 Red Bull also skipped the first test, and it ended up well. And in the old days, Toyota were usually the first to appear witha new car before switching to a B-spec later, with the results we all know.

        But as @jerseyf1 says, at this time, I suppose track time is essential given how many things will change.

        • MattDS said on 6th January 2014, 19:28

          @fer-no65: the RB8 was present on the first day of winter testing in 2012.

          I don’t think it depends on too many things. Testing is hugely restricted and missing a few days is always going to hurt. Unless, and this is a very rare chance, they are very confident in their car and have found something they want to shield from the others.

    • Nickpkr251 said on 8th January 2014, 20:51

      Oh they did got Maldonado, which also lost first test on new car.

  3. Lauri (@f1lauri) said on 6th January 2014, 17:56

    Does this spell for bigger (money) troubles for Lotus? I really hope not, but feels that things are not right.

  4. Chris (@ukphillie) said on 6th January 2014, 18:04

    This is the downside to being in a constructors battle. You can’t move resources to next seasons car if millions of pounds rest on the performance of the current car.

    I reckon McLaren are gonna smash it next season. They’ve been working on the 2014 car since Monaco.

  5. ME4ME (@me4me) said on 6th January 2014, 18:15

    How come im not supriced…

  6. KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 6th January 2014, 18:21

    This does raise an interesting point. In 2013, some teams tested with their 2012 car to get some comparable data, this was OK because the rule changes were only slight between those years. This year the rule change is so drastic, what will Lotus do? Losing 4 days of track time is pretty bad (They had that in 2011 aswell), are there any rules for testing a previous year’s car? What can they actually test? Any mechanical parts?

    • Lauri (@f1lauri) said on 6th January 2014, 18:29

      Correct me if I’m wrong but during the official test you can test almost anything :) For sure you can test previous year’s car. But as the changes are so big you can be sure no team will test their last year’s car – it just wouldn’t give you anything valuable. As far as I know teams did include some new items already in the 2nd half of 2013 – parts made and designed for 2014 car.

      • There are a few restrictions on what you can test – under the current regulations the FIA insists that, on safety grounds, the car has to have already passed its crash tests before it can be tested. It’s one reason why Ferrari were nearly forced to sit out the first test session in 2012 (I think) – it was rumoured that they had failed the side impact test at least once, and possibly twice, so they only just passed the test a few days before the first test session took place.

        Asides from the fact that the regulations have probably changed sufficiently enough for it to be difficult to compare data between the 2013 and 2014 cars, the other big problem is the fact that the impact loads for the side impact test is higher than in 2013. The FIA might, therefore, refuse to allow a 2013 car to test because it would not conform to the 2014 crash test rules (something that wasn’t a problem in 2013 as the 2012 and 2013 crash test rules were the same).

        • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 7th January 2014, 22:18

          Presumably if they get desperate they could significantly ‘beef up’ the impact test zones in order to get something onto the track and then work on a more light-weight solution before the final chassis is finished for the start of the season? Presumably it would be better to test an imperfect solution than nothing.

    • Steven (@steevkay) said on 6th January 2014, 19:50

      If it’s a financial issue (which is the first thing I thought when I read the headlines) I don’t think it will really benefit them to bring a 2013-spec car. Isn’t the aero changing enough that applying 2014-spec parts to a 2013 car going to be of little to no value?

      Not the news I was hoping to hear from them, it would’ve been nice to believe that they could build on their 2013 successes.

  7. Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 6th January 2014, 18:27

    Well, Williams skipped first test last year and we saw what happened.

  8. Lauri (@f1lauri) said on 6th January 2014, 18:27

    Theory: This might be down to the deal with Renault. There was some mentioning about talks with Renault when Kimi’s deal was on the table. I don’t even remember Lotus saying they have a deal with Renault, but I hope I’m wrong. Maybe they did owe Renault even more money than Kimi and they just didn’t get the 2014 power unit in time to build the car around it? Now this has delayed everything…

    • Nick (@npf1) said on 6th January 2014, 18:47

      I don’t think not having an engine deal was any trouble for Brawn GP in 2009. Lotus/Enstone simply hasn’t got their car done in time for the first test.

      • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 6th January 2014, 22:39

        As I understood it changing the chassis to fit the Mercedes engine was a big deal for Brawn, albeit that they got on and did an amazing job of it – mainly because the car itself was well developed so that was the primary challenge. My understanding of the new engine regs is that the engines should be much more interchangeable in terms of physically fitting connecting it, but any uncertainty over engine will have an impact on cooling, gearing etc though. I would have thought that they would just have to go ahead and design/build based on the Renault engine unless there is a significant likelyhood that they aren’t going to be able to secure a supply from Renault (which may be the case if they haven’t been paying the bills).

    • Lauri (@f1lauri) said on 10th January 2014, 3:13

      replying to myself… according to Reuters the engine deal hasn’t been announced: “Lotus are the only team yet to announce formally their engine deal for 2014, although existing partner Renault said cooperation with the team it once owned was proceeding as normal.”

  9. US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 6th January 2014, 18:31

    So they’re not attending the test at all? I’d have thought that even if the full car was not ready to launch you would want to at least get some new parts onto last year’s chassis to start proofing reliability with simple mileage. Also with a new driver coming into the team seat time is important for him to familiarize himself with controls and how the team works. I guess that’s done mostly on the simulators these days though. Still I find it odd that they’d skip the test entirely, which makes me wonder if their financial troubles aren’t still dogging them.

    • Nick (@npf1) said on 6th January 2014, 18:50

      There are a lot of changes, though. It’s probably not even possible to put a new V6 engine in a 2013 car, nor is aero going to show you any worthwhile data due to the change in nose, front and rear wing regulations.

      Jerez that time of year is also cold, which makes for less reliable data. If anything, it’d be a waste of money to any team to drive around with a freak-2013 car.

  10. this isn’t a massive surprise especially with the team having to deal with kimi’s departure at the end of last season. This year should mirror 2009 because of the rule changes, in 2009 there were a couple teams that didn’t show up for the first test of the year. With all the rule changes this was is to be expected, but with the team’s situation this news is a tad bit worrying

  11. spoutnik (@spoutnik) said on 6th January 2014, 19:40

    They will appear when Quantum pays, and the deal is almost done, just a question of procedure :)

  12. Spawinte (@spawinte) said on 6th January 2014, 19:41

    I’m gonna go ahead and guess that Marussia, Catheram and Sauber won’t be there either.

  13. Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 6th January 2014, 19:42

    Better get those crash tests right, as the car will be crashing a lot more than last year’s one with Kimi in it.

  14. Chris Brighton said on 6th January 2014, 19:51

    I’m sure they won’t be the only team. I am excited to see the 2014 cars for this season though, especially the W05 in which I’ve seen the outline of the car already.

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