4 June 2014
Lotus could find Canada tricky, admits F1 tech chief
Lotus' Nick Chester concedes that the E22 is not best suited to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, but expected to be in the hunt for Canadian F1 GP points.
Lotus F1 technical director Nick Chester is taking nothing for granted ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, suggesting that the team's E22 may struggle on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Although Romain Grosjean has scored points in each of the last two races, in Spain and Monaco, Chester admitted the car had not performed as expected in the Principality and might not be best suited to the Montreal circuit this weekend.
“It's probably going to be a b it of a tricky one,” he conceded, “On the one hand, we're going to have the soft and super-soft tyres, which should be better for us. On the other hand, Canada's got long straights, which we feel might not be great for us.
“There are also some big braking points and, at some races this year, we've felt our braking isn't as good as it should be. So, for the E22, it's a balance between performing quite well on the softer tyres and maybe losing out on power and braking. We're going to do all we can to improve those areas before we go.
“We expected to be pretty quick in Monaco, but the bottom line is that we were off the pace in the low-speed corners. We feel we were losing out on mechanical grip, which may be a function of suspension - including how the car rides over any bumps - or of us not getting the tyres in the right operating window. Part of our response has been to do work on the suspension rigs before we go to Canada, to see if we can rectify this.
"The conditions that the car operates in for downforce in low speed corners are quite different to medium and high-speed corners. For example, the ride height is different, so it can be that you lose some downforce in a low-speed corner, but when the car has less steering, less yaw and different ride heights, it's better in the medium and high-speed corners. There are a few areas that can cost you in low-speed corners and, rest assured, we are looking at all of them!”
Chester confirmed that development isn't stopping at Enstone simply because the team is crossing the Atlantic, with a new medium downforce package set to due, along with 'a few new mechanical parts, one of which will hopefully improve the grip of the chassis', and a small update to the cooling package which should provide the E22 with a little more downforce.
While getting back into the points – Grosjean was eighth in each of the past two races – could be a close call, Chester is confident that both the Frenchman and team-mate Pastor Maldonado will be well placed to capitalise on any upset thrown out by the Ile Notre-Dame.
“There can be a lot of variables at Montreal, like rain, reliability and incidents,” he acknowledged, “Romain and Pastor are exactly the kind of drivers you want on your side to exploit any opportunities. However, we hope to be able to challenge for a good points finish irrespective of any of these variables.
“Both our drivers are now sufficiently experienced not to let frustrations impact upon their performance. Both have been extremely professional, as you would expect, and can see that the team and our suppliers are all pulling in the same direction.”
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