29 June 2015
Small updates as Lotus looks for home comforts
Austrian F1 test proves useful for Lotus as it looks to bounce back from a frustrating race weekend and claim valuable points at Silverstone.
Lotus technical director Nick Chester is in optimistic mood as the team heads for its home race at Silverstone this week.
Although only Pastor Maldonado saw the chequered flag last time out in Austria, Chester is confident that the problems that afflicted team-mate Romain Grosjean have been solved, and a useful two-day test at the Red Bull Ring has allowed the team to further develop its E23 ahead of the race that the entire workforce looks forward to.
“Silverstone represents a good challenge as the circuit has a lot of high speed corners and also some good low and medium speed corners, a real nice mix,” he explained, “It also presents reasonable straights meaning that there is a power sensitivity to Silverstone as well. It's a real challenge with the different characteristics of corners and to get the car to work well in all of them.”
The British Grand Prix takes on extra significance for Lotus as it was overtaken by local rival Force India in the battle for fifth place in the F1 constructors' championship and will be looking to redress the situation at the earliest opportunity. Like deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi, Chester is confident that Lotus can move back ahead this weekend, and says that the recent group test in Austria will benefit the Enstone squad.
“Our qualifying wasn't as good as it could have been [in Austria], and Romain had to retire in the race so, in general, we expected to be in front of Force India,” he noted, “We pulled away from Toro Rosso and Sauber, and fully expect to get these points [to Force India] back.
“In terms of parts, we tested a few small updates in Spielberg that we'll be taking to Silverstone and, despite the first half day being a complete washout, we still had a reasonable afternoon and did a good amount of aero data logging. We can do this type of data collection when the conditions aren't perfect and it was helpful in terms of understanding our aero package. In the end, we pretty much hit our targets at the test and completed our programme. We did a lot of mechanical set-up work also ahead of the British Grand Prix and, all in all, it was a useful test.”
The test was run on the same soft rubber used at the Austrian Grand Prix, and Silverstone presents a very different scenario with a switch to the hardest compounds in the range for the high-speed British venue, but Chester remains unperturbed.
“It shouldn't make a big difference,” he insisted, “We tended to like the softer compounds a bit better, but we are able to generate reasonable tyre warm up on most of the tyres now. Colder weather might have a small impact on how quickly we'll be able to get the harder compounds to temperature, but we have made a good step forward compared to last year in this area. The E23 is going well and a clear weekend should enable us to score some good points.”
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