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Q&A - James Allison, Lotus F1

James Allison: Of course, missing four days of testing is not ideal. We need mileage at this stage of the year, as does any other team. That said, there are reasons to remain optimistic

Technical chief James Allison talks about the problems the Lotus F1 Team had last week with the new E20 and the fix that has been implemented ahead of the third and final pre-season test of the year...



Q:
James, what happened to the E20 in Barcelona last week?

James Allison:
We arrived in Barcelona with a brand new chassis, the E20-02. We completed installation laps on Tuesday morning then Romain left the pits for his first run of the day. As soon as he touched the brakes before turn 1 on his first flying lap, he felt that something was wrong. He told us on the radio that he was aborting that run and returning straight to the pits.

Q:
What did you discover when the car got back to the garage?

James Allison:
We saw immediately that we had a problem with the mounting of the upper front wishbone rear arm.

Q:
What were your thoughts at that time?

James Allison:
We were using chassis 02 for the first time, so our initial reaction was to consider the possibility of a manufacturing issue affecting that particular chassis. We made the decision to take chassis 01 - which had run successfully in Jerez - from the UK to Barcelona. Before we sent it, we launched an investigation programme at Enstone to ensure there was no risk of a similar issue. Unfortunately, our investigations concluded that there was a possibility of the same problem reoccurring. We then decided, quite reluctantly, to cancel the test and make the necessary changes to both our chassis before running again.

Q:
How did the factory react?

James Allison:
It's been an intense few days, but I have to say that everybody has completed their tasks in tremendous fashion. On the first day back at the factory, I spoke to the entire Enstone personnel and clearly explained what happened. Everybody understood that the situation was unfortunate, but under control. We designed the new parts, manufactured them, and fitted them to the chassis. We then completed the necessary tests satisfactorily and the chassis left for Spain.

Q:
Are you confident about the repair?

James Allison:
Yes.

Q:
Does it mean that the chassis is now heavier than before?

James Allison:
Yes, but we're only talking about 1kg, which is manageable. It won't have any significant impact on handling or performance.

Q:
Did the chassis have to pass a new crash test?

James Allison:
No. It wasn't necessary.

Q:
Which chassis will the team use this week?

James Allison:
We'll use chassis 01 this week, while chassis 02 will be used as a spare from now on. We're currently finishing chassis 03, with the new design implemented.

Q:
The team missed four days of testing. Is it a big setback?

James Allison:
Of course, missing four days of testing is not ideal. We need mileage at this stage of the year, as does any other team. That said, there are reasons to remain optimistic. First of all, we completed many trouble-free laps in Jerez and gained a good understanding of the car. Also, some of the small issues we identified in Jerez needed to be fixed, and the parts were not available last week. On Thursday, the car will run with all the required redesigned parts. We're looking forward to being back on track.


Interview conducted by the Lotus F1 Team



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Eric Boullier (FRA), Team Principal, Lotus Renault GP with Kimi Raikkonen, Jerome d`Ambrosio (BEL),  Lotus Renault F1 Team, Romain Grosjean (FRA), Lotus Renault F1 Team and James Allison, Lotus Renault F1 Team Technical director - Lotus F1 Team E20 Launch
Eric Boullier (FRA), Team Principal, Lotus Renault GP with Kimi Raikkonen, Jerome d`Ambrosio (BEL),  Lotus Renault F1 Team, Romain Grosjean (FRA), Lotus Renault F1 Team and James Allison  - Lotus F1 Team E20 Launch
10.02.2012 Jerez, Spain, Romain Grosjean (FRA), Lotus Renault GP   - Formula 1 Testing, day 4 - Formula 1 World Championship
10.02.2012 Jerez, Spain, Romain Grosjean (FRA), Lotus Renault GP   - Formula 1 Testing, day 4 - Formula 1 World Championship
09.02.2012 Jerez, Spain, Romain Grosjean (FRA), Lotus Renault GP   - Formula 1 Testing, day 1 - Formula 1 World Championship
Romain Grosjean (FRA), Lotus Renault GP and James Allison (GBR), technical director, Lotus F1 Team  - Lotus F1 Team E20 Launch

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