Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado say they believe the move to ban FRIC from the F1 cars is hurting Lotus more than its rivals after struggling for form on the first day of free practice for the German Grand Prix.
Both Maldonado and Grosjean were down the order in both free practice sessions around the Hockenheimring, the duo ending the day in 16th and 17th respectively, ahead only of the Marussias, Caterhams and the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez.
Asked whether the decision to remove the much discussed Front and Rear Interconnected suspension systems (FRIC) from the Lotus had made a difference, though Grosjean says he likes to drive without it, he feels it is 'hurting' the team more than others.
“The first impressions were that it was quite nice to drive, but in terms of pace it is not exactly where we want it to be. It has changed a little bit how you drive the car, but it is not night and day. It's just we have been using the system for a long time, so the ban is probably hurting us a little bit more than others.
“It affects more entry to apex, because with a non-FRIC car you can control a bit more with the platform of the brake pressure you are carrying, whereas before it was a system doing it. If it was in the right place it was nice, if it was in the wrong place it was a disaster!
Maldonado, meanwhile, reiterated Grosjean's words, claiming the difference in performance has been greater than he expected.
“Personally I was not expecting a big change, but it is quite big. In terms of balance the car is quite hard to understand. The car has been designed to use the FRIC but without it we need to think about how to try and regain the time we lost.”