Lotus confident chassis problems are solved

2012 F1 season

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Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Barcelona, 2012

Lotus technical director James Allison says he is confident the team has solved its chassis problems.

The team was forced to abandon its testing at the Circuit de Catalunya last week after discovering a fault with its second E20 chassis.

Allison said: “We arrived in Barcelona with a brand new chassis, the E20-02. We completed installation laps on Tuesday morning then Romain [Grosjean] left the pits for his first run of the day.

“As soon as he touched the brakes before turn one on his first flying lap, he felt that something was wrong. He told us on the radio that he was aborting that run and returning straight to the pits.

“We saw immediately that we had a problem with the mounting of the upper front wishbone rear arm.”

Allison said the chassis has now been strengthened, which has increased its base weight by around 1kg. It has not had to complete a new crash test.

The team will resume testing tomorrow with Grosjean at the wheel of the repaired chassis 01. Allison added: “Of course, missing four days of testing is not ideal.

“We need mileage at this stage of the year, as does any other team. That said, there are reasons to remain optimistic. First of all, we completed many trouble-free laps in Jerez and gained a good understanding of the car.

“Also, some of the small issues we identified in Jerez needed to be fixed, and the parts were not available last week. On Thursday, the car will run with all the required redesigned parts. We’re looking forward to being back on track.”

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Keith Collantine
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34 comments on “Lotus confident chassis problems are solved”

  1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    29th February 2012, 13:32

    They had better will, if not there might be like that every-year promise that Renault (Lotus) will come back to the top, to only see setbacks and delays, wrong setups and drivers changes in the middle of the season

  2. problem with the mounting of the upper front wishbone rear arm

    Try saying that when you’re drunk…

    1. Uppfron’ shishboon veerum.

    2. upper front wishbone rear arm

      Say WUHH?

    3. Would probably offend a nearby lady.

  3. I’m surprised the chassis made the crash test, but cracked after a couple laps on Barcelona. Different forces in different directions, sure… But still interesting stuff.

    1. I think that’s exactly it – different forces in different directions. These chassis aren’t built to be “universally strong”, they’re just built just strong enough to meet all of the required forces – and very little more. I would fully expect that the layup of the composites in the chassis are different around all four of the suspension pickup points (on each side), optimized specifically for the forces that each arm places on the chassis.

    2. I may well be wrong, but in crash tests they analyse how the car destroys on impact and whether the cockpit is safe, so in a frontal impact both suspensions are broken and it doesn’t matter whether they’re well fixed; the suspension failure happened when the car was fully operational and withstanded heavy G-forces.

  4. This confirms my suspicion that the chassis needed reinforcement and not just mounting point inserts.

  5. Well I for one hope they have a cracking year.

    1. Let’s hope they improve on what, so far, has been a fractured testing program.

      1. Yeah, or else it may lead to fissures developing within the team.

    2. These jokes are making me crack up!

      1. My sides are splitting.

  6. At least they got loads of mileage before the hold up. Not only that, but they looked pretty handy on pace, too.

  7. 1kg of composite material is a lot of material. I really don’t believe that to reinforce a mounting. Roughly 1kg of carbon fiber is 5 sq meters… it’s too much for a reinforcement in a mount. They propably had to reinforce more than that.

    1. Certain;y sounds like more than the extra few layers of carbon fibre people were predicting.

    2. Or maybe they had to add some internals from steel to make sure its rigid and at the same time flexible enough

      1. @BasCB I think you’re probably right on that one.

  8. Richard F150 - I am not a truck
    29th February 2012, 17:35

    Well whats that quote.

    “If your sure the car can complete the race then its too heavy” – or something

    1. Tom Haxley (@)
      29th February 2012, 18:18

      Well Colin Chapman would say make it lighter until it breaks, then make it lighter again

  9. if Lotus had a chassis problem then how come Kimi was fastest in jerez test. and how come he didnt find the issue with the car in Jerez, beats me.

    1. As I understand it, Jerez didn’t offer big enough loads on the part of the chassis in question to reveal the problem. They only found the problem once they immediately hit the track at Barcelona.

    2. Kimi was fastest because he holds the chassis together with sheer power of will ;-)

      Welcome Back Iceman, now get on with the thrilling heroics.

    3. @Remy Because they brought a new chassis in Barcelona? They did it without the permission from Kimi?

  10. the upper front wishbone rear arm

    So where is that exactly?
    On the front of the car, but not the foremost, or is it the foremost on the rear of the car?

    1. The wishbone is roughly shaped, as a Y, oriented with the double legs mounted to the chassis, and the single leg on the wheel hub, and there are two per front corner (Top and Bottom).

      It seems the faulty area was the rear facing section of the upper double leg (which mounts to the chassis), as opposed to the front facing leg, or the lower wishbone.

      1. yes because that simplifies it

    2. I have to say, it took me a couple of attempts at reading that to figure it out myself. I had to break it down.

      Front wishbone means the wishbone at the front of the car. Rear arm then must be the arm at the back of the front wishbone.

    3. The only bit of info they left out was if it was on the left or right side of the car although if he was braking into turn 1 at Barcelona then you’d have to assume it was the left side, unless it failed purely under braking and without any lateral load.

    4. Thanks for the explanation everyone!

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