Lotus F1 technical director James Allison has confirmed that the outfit has now fixed the chassis issue, which resulted in it having to sit out the second pre-season test of the year in Barcelona last week.
The Enstone-based squad completed just seven laps on Tuesday morning, before Romain Grosjean reported an issue with the chassis. Initially the team had hoped to switch to the chassis used in Jerez the week before, but in the end had to abort running altogether to address the problem.
“It's been an intense few days, but I have to say that everybody has completed their tasks in tremendous fashion,” Allison said. “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.”
Asked if he is confident about the repair, Allison added: “Yes”.
Furthermore while the E20 chassis is now a bit heavier, Allison doesn't think it is too significant: “We're only talking about 1kg, which is manageable. It won't have any significant impact on handling or performance,” he noted.
The team will now resume running this week at the Circuit de Catalunya, with Grosjean set to drive on the first two days, before Kimi Raikkonen takes over for days three and four. Lotus will use chassis 01 for the test, with chassis 02 – the one they had problems with last week – now becoming the spare.
“Missing four days of testing is not ideal,” Allison continued. “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.”
Testing at Barcelona this week will run from March 1-4 - for the full line-up see separate story - here