14 September 2014
F1: Lotus to trial parts in Singapore practice
Lotus will continue to try new ideas on its E22 at the Singapore Grand Prix, but with one eye firmly on F1 2015 rather than the current campaign.
Lotus may have shut down the development of its recalcitrant E22 chassis for 2014, but that does not mean the end of new ideas being brought to the car.
Work on the team's 2015 contender will see parts and concepts being trialled on the E22 at many of the races between Singapore next week and Abu Dhabi in November, as Lotus attempts to extract itself from the mire which has engulfed much of the current campaign.
“There will be some new bodywork parts and some new mechanical parts for this race, which we will evaluate in the free practice sessions,” technical director Nick Chester confirmed as the team prepared to jet out to Singapore.
With just eight points to its name, Lotus currently languishes in eighth place in the constructors' table, eleven points adrift of Toro Rosso and with only Marussia's surprise two-point haul from Monaco separating it from the scoreless teams at the bottom of the pile.
While E22 is not expected to be a contender for victory next weekend, Chester admits that things can't get much worse, and is encouraged by some aspects of the performance shown by both drivers at Monza.
“We knew that [Italy] was going to be a tricky race for us and you could see some of that on the other cars which also struggled,” Chester continued, “We knew that, with the drag level of our car on tracks like Monza, it was going to be challenging, but actually, on Sunday, our race pace was better than expected.
“Pastor [Maldonado] had a pretty decent race but, with his qualifying position, it was always going to be difficult to make up a significant amount of places. However, it was positive to see the race pace on Sunday.”
Singapore presents a very different challenge to Monza – and to most other circuits thanks to its day-night format – but Chester believes that having two veteran drivers will help make the team's job easier.
“The temperature does fall quite a bit, changing the grip and balance of the car somewhat,” he explained, “It will be down to the drivers to report back what the car is doing and let the engineers re-balance the car as the track temperature come down.
“The grip difference front to rear can change and make it tricky to get the car balanced following the earlier hotter practice sessions but, with previous years' experience, we have a fair idea of what sort of adjustments we need to make.”
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