The Lotus F1 Team heads to Melbourne cautiously optimistic after a promising pre-season test programme in which Lotus were fastest.
The team rolled out the new E20 at Jerez for the first test session of the year, on February 7. Kimi Raikkonen kicked off the programme with 75 laps, without major issues. He reported he was happy with the balance of the car, and demonstrated this by setting the fastest lap of the day. Welcome back Kimi.
Two days later, Romain Grosjean at the wheel. In sunny conditions, he completed 95 laps setting the second fastest time of the day and claimed it “a great start to the year”.
After the four-day Jerez test the team headed to Barcelona with new chassis No.2. Quickly, it was clear there was an issue. The test was immediately suspended. Back at Enstone, the problem was traced to the mounting of the upper front wishbone rear arm. A new component was designed, and that was the last of the team’s problems – but it cost them a week’s testing and, with such limited time available to the teams, there were deep concerns that this lost time could prove critical.
Back in Barcelona on March 1, Romain drove the modified E20-01 and set the fastest time of the day, which helped the team restore its confidence. “My crew told me that that the problems would make us stronger, and this is true,” he said. The following day he completed a mammoth 124 laps – almost 600km – including a race distance simulation. He ended the day fastest by over half a second.
Kimi’s track time the following day was curtailed due to power steering issues in the morning and rain in the afternoon. After 43 laps he was 10th fastest. But the next day he completed the team’s winter test programme in style, knocking out 121 laps and claiming the P1 spot.
The team is now fully pumped up for Melbourne and, in a season as long as this, anything can happen but they’re perfectly prepared.
This video is a general Formula 1 pre-season testing video 2012 with Lotus and other teams. In the first part of the video only season 2011 cars are present.
After the Lotus E20 is revealed the testing begins with 2012 cars.