5 September 2012
Lotus won't run DRS device before Suzuka
Monza straights are not the right place to debut Team Lotus' 'device', according to tech chief James Allison.
The Lotus team will not now attempt to debut its much-hyped version of 'double DRS' until the Japanese Grand Prix, having been thwarted in its attempts to evaluate the system by rain throughout Friday practice at Spa last weekend.
Much has been made of the potential boost the system could bring to the team's E20, but technical chief James Allison has confirmed that it will not be seen until the calendar moves on to the second of the schedule-ending 'flyaway's at Suzuka early in October.
"Although we would like to have it at Monza - because it is the type of circuit that rewards such a thing - we don't have the DRS device configured to cope with the circuit's level of downforce, so it is not even on the table," Allison admitted, "You won't see it in Singapore either, because it's too high a downforce circuit with insufficient straights for it to be worthwhile, so the earliest you might see it now is Suzuka."
Despite heading to Monza without its secret weapon, however, Allison believes that Lotus can be a challenger for victory after failing to live up to expectations in Belgium.
"We ought to be able to get our show back on the road in Monza after a slight misfire in Spa," he said, reflecting on a disappointing race despite Kimi Raikkonen's third place behind Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel, "It's always tricky to go into Monza with any certainty about how the world is going to work out, for a number of reasons. Firstly, the track always produces very, very close grids and this is a season where the grids are close anyway.
"We could be in a situation like Valencia where, if you were two or three tenths too slow, you could miss getting into Q3. Not only does Monza already attract a close grid - in a season of close grids - but it is also a very distinct circuit. In some ways it's a bit like Canada: Straight into a corner, straight into a corner... without any big 'S' sections. The closest you've got is Ascari and Parabolica. This means that the straight-to-corner ratio is such that you run a wing level that is way too small for the corners.
"The drivers will be doing their best to scrabble around the corners in a car that is optimised for the straights. All this means it's difficult to know how we'll perform. And, having made predictions about the last race that were not exactly on the mark, it's even harder to do so here! That said, if you took the season as a whole, we've got a fair hit rate of arriving at tracks and performing reasonably. So the balance of probability is that we'll do the same in Monza as well. In all probability, it will be pretty warm and we've tended to go well when it's warm, Valencia being a case in point and another point-and-squirt circuit where we've done very well."
With Romain Grosjean suspended following the accident that marred the opening lap of the race in Belgium, Lotus has opted to run reserve Jerome d'Ambrosio alongside Raikkonen at Monza, but Allison does not feel that that will impair the team's chances.
"Kimi will just tuck into the weekend with relish, especially having made good progress in the drivers' championship in recent races," he claimed, "He'll want to do some more of the same.
"It's a much tougher challenge for Jérôme. He has driven the car - very capably - at the Mugello test, but that's a very different type of circuit. There's very little braking in Mugello and almost nothing but braking for the driver to think about in Monza. However, he is a reasonably seasoned campaigner and certainly a very level-headed sort of chap. It's a big opportunity for him to show us and the rest of the world what he's got. I know he'll really want to make the most of it and hopefully he will be able to cement some good championship points for us."
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