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F1 Belgian Grand Prix: Still plenty of updates to come - Lotus

Lotus F1 tech chief Nick Chester says the team is “continuing to push development of the E22” and that they know there are some “very sensitive areas of the car” where they can make some “good gains”.
Lotus still has some “fairly substantial upgrades” to come this season, technical director Nick Chester has said ahead of next weekend's Belgian Grand Prix.

Lotus need to make big strides in the second half of the year after a nightmare start to the 2014 Formula 1 campaign. Indeed the Enstone squad has scored just eight points – following Romain Grosjean's two eighth place finishes in Monaco and Spain – and will need to more than double that tally in the final eight races, if the team is to beat Toro Rosso and get seventh place in the Constructors' Championship.

Last year Lotus finished third, behind only Red Bull and Mercedes, taking 14 podiums, including one win, and scoring over 300 points - a far cry from 2014.

“We will still have plenty of developments to come as the season goes on,” Chester said prior to round twelve. “We have a fair amount of new development parts for Spa such as new bodywork and some smaller modifications centred around the front of the chassis which should give some good downforce benefits for us,” he explained.

“Front and rear wing developments are [also] planned for Spa,” he continued. “The rear wing upgrades may be tight for Spa due to the time lost in manufacturing during the summer shutdown but we are pushing for it to be in Belgium.

“The key thing is that we are continuing to push development of the E22 in the coming races with some fairly substantial upgrades. We know that there are some very sensitive areas of the car where we can make some good gains so we will be focusing on these areas too.”

Meanwhile, he also admitted that Lotus is still recovering from the loss of the FRIC - Front and Rear Interconnected - suspension system.

“We have made some progress in reducing the deficiency from losing the interconnected suspension but we are still hurting a little bit,” he noted. “We have some revised mechanical parts for Spa including some new springs and enhanced suspension settings which should help.

“It was a highly developed system on the E22 beforehand so it is hard to claw all of the performance back straight away.”

Looking specifically to Belgium and asked about the “secrets” of doing well there, he replied: “Like most things in F1 there are no specific secrets just hard work and good engineering. Because there is so much time spent at full throttle at Spa you need a reasonably light downforce level, so it is a tricky one because this has to be countered with what you face in sector two, which is a relatively slower section. This means there is a reasonable compromise to be made but ultimately you need to have a car that provides confidence for the drivers in the high speed corners. You also need good mechanical setup to get through the high compression sequence at Eau Rouge and Raidillon, which is still very demanding on the car.”

“Spa always throws up the possibility of wet or damp conditions too,” he added. “We have seen some promise with the E22 in these conditions already this season but most recently at Hungary that really wasn't the case.

“We struggled to generate good grip on intermediate tyres but then so did many others so it looked like a function of the track surface.”

“[Overall] as an engineer Spa is a massive challenge but a satisfying one,” he summarised.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
15.11.2013- Press conference, Nick Chester (GBR) Lotus F1 Team Technical Director
27.07.2014- Race, Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E22, crashed
27.07.2014- Race, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E22 and Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03
26.07.2014- Free Practice 3, Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E22
26.07.2014- Free Practice 3, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E22
26.07.2014- Free Practice 3, Mechanics Lotus work on the car
25.07.2014- Lotus F1 Team E22, detail
25.07.2014- Lotus F1 Team E22, detail

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