Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Jerez, 2012

Lotus will not have new car ready for first test

2014 F1 season

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Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Jerez, 2012Lotus will not have their 2014 car ready for the first test of the year at Jerez.

With the first test of 2014 due to being three weeks from tomorrow, Lotus have become the first team to confirm their new contender will not be ready in time.

“We?re going to keep our car under wraps a little longer than some other teams,” said technical director Nick Chester. “We?ve decided that attending the Jerez test isn?t ideal for our build and development programme.”

Chester added the team intends to have the E22 ready for the second test of 2014 which begins on February 19th. “We are likely to unveil the car before attending the Bahrain tests,” he said, “and in Bahrain we should really be able to put the car through its paces in representative conditions”.

The new car is yet to pass all of the FIA’s mandatory crash tests, Chester added.

“We?ve made very good progress with the various homologation tests which took place before Christmas including chassis squeeze and side impact loading tests as well as the rear crash structure, meaning we just have the nose test to complete the car?s homologation.”

“We?ve undertaken chassis fits for Romain [Grosjean] and Pastor [Maldonado]. Certainly, our partners who have seen the car have reported themselves to be very impressed with the layout and various solutions to the new technical challenges.”

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Keith Collantine
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69 comments on “Lotus will not have new car ready for first test”

  1. I guess they are the first of a few teams who won’t be at the test..

    1. I agree, there will probably be a few teams that will miss the first test, so Lotus not showing up shouldn’t be that worrying!

      1. Lotus not showing up isn’t worrying because others will also not likely be truning up…?

        The season is too long. The costs are too high. Axe 5 races off the calendar and lets rebuild F1 to greatness, because right now it’s a joke.

        1. @nick-uk the length of seasons isn’t a problem I don’t think: the teams get more money from increased exposure and the fans get more races to enjoy.

          What is a problem is when the teams can’t afford to build a car for those races, and I absolutely agree with you on that: the top teams are spending far too much. Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari could have a £150m cut in funding and still be spending more than Caterham (if my mind serves me correctly with figures), which is ridiculous frankly.

        2. Having races is expensive for the teams but the cost is minimal for FOM and that expense for FOM is taken out of revenue before the distribution of funds to the teams where 11 teams share 63% of net revenue and FOM alone gets 37%, which will at least be better than when it was 50/50 .

        3. It’s not as if teams have never missed a test before. And saying that dropping races from the calendar will fix this is just ridiculous.

          1. @ciaran Cutting races was principly to do with cutting costs and adding a bit of quality control to the ‘sport’. You can’t sanely deny though that having a season that now goes almost into December and starts earlier than ever is not impacting teams ability to develop a new car.

        4. @nick-uk Other aspect is also that there is not a huge advantage to go to Jerez except to try out new engines for several reasons.

          If you want to join the test, the car has to be in its final form and then begin the adjustement and development phases. Lotus could use the 3 extra weeks to continue the initial process. And we have seen in recent years that Jerez wasn’t very representative as tyre could not reach operating window …

    2. Mainly the works teams have most to gain, and I would be surprised if McLaren wouldn’t be there. Williams might be there to get their first experience of mercedes engines on track too.

      Apart from those, there is really not that much to gain from running in a cold Spain, as we saw from last year

      1. Ordinarily I’d agree but I think there have been so many technical changes with the cars that they’ll all be very eager to get some mileage on them just to make sure nothing drops off or blows up. Reliability seems to be a major concern so the earlier you can identify reliability issues the more time you have to fix them before the season starts. Even if the first test is no indicator of performance, it’s still a very important shakedown. No team would willingly sacrifice this time if they could avoid it.

        1. I think they missed a couple more crash tests than planned @mazdachris – maybe they annouced that they would be late when they failed the last crash test for the nose (which seems to be the last critical part that did not pass testing yet).
          Although its all too likely that a lack of money at the critical stage last year might have caused them to be a bit too tight on their schedule.

  2. I hope this is a trend because of the extra time designing and building more complex cars… cuz I don’t want Lotus to “do a Williams”

    1. Missing first test is only a good thing when they are doing something special with the car and they are FAST in the first races. If they end up with a slow or average car, missing the first test shows they had some big problems developing the car.

      1. @f1lauri in normal circumstances I think that you might be correct, where cars tend to be more of an evolution and build on what is already known. But in a year with major changes to engine and chassis then missing any test is going to have a significant impact – as Jenson Button already said the first test will be hilarious as the number of problems is going to be huge. Teams and drivers missing the first test are just delaying that to the second test.

        Any team missing the first test this year will be doing so either because they are not on track with their new car design and build or because of financial issues. Any argument about it being “not ideal for our build and development programme” is just PR-speak covering one of those issues (or similar) issues.

      2. @f1lauri depends on many things. I think in 2012 Red Bull also skipped the first test, and it ended up well. And in the old days, Toyota were usually the first to appear witha new car before switching to a B-spec later, with the results we all know.

        But as @jerseyf1 says, at this time, I suppose track time is essential given how many things will change.

        1. @fer-no65: the RB8 was present on the first day of winter testing in 2012.

          I don’t think it depends on too many things. Testing is hugely restricted and missing a few days is always going to hurt. Unless, and this is a very rare chance, they are very confident in their car and have found something they want to shield from the others.

    2. Oh they did got Maldonado, which also lost first test on new car.

  3. Does this spell for bigger (money) troubles for Lotus? I really hope not, but feels that things are not right.

    1. Hopefully not. But that’s the first thing I thought if when is read the headline

      1. Whatever happened to..Mansoor Ijaz?..hehe

        Maybe I should start a rumour that I front a fund of some little known Ruler of..say Zamunda..who is very interested in buying into an F1 team. Its the best way to get a few free pit passes for a couple race weekends!!

    2. So glad Hulk didnt get a drive for Lotus,

  4. This is the downside to being in a constructors battle. You can’t move resources to next seasons car if millions of pounds rest on the performance of the current car.

    I reckon McLaren are gonna smash it next season. They’ve been working on the 2014 car since Monaco.

    1. OH YES, OH YES, PLEASE YES!!! And icing on the cake if the car livery is in the traditional Papaya Orange!

      1. If McLaren’s 2014 car is orange It will be the happiest I have been at anything F1 related for a decade :)

        1. Who’s their title sponsor for 2014? Let’s hope they move from Vodafone to Orange!

          1. Don’t think it’ll be orange. Don’t forget that McLaren had the same or similar livery in 2006 before the arrival of Vodafone in 2007.

          2. I have also heard they could very well have an orange livery next year. Seems the hot candidate to be their new sponsor currently is Sony.

  5. How come im not supriced…

  6. This does raise an interesting point. In 2013, some teams tested with their 2012 car to get some comparable data, this was OK because the rule changes were only slight between those years. This year the rule change is so drastic, what will Lotus do? Losing 4 days of track time is pretty bad (They had that in 2011 aswell), are there any rules for testing a previous year’s car? What can they actually test? Any mechanical parts?

    1. Correct me if I’m wrong but during the official test you can test almost anything :) For sure you can test previous year’s car. But as the changes are so big you can be sure no team will test their last year’s car – it just wouldn’t give you anything valuable. As far as I know teams did include some new items already in the 2nd half of 2013 – parts made and designed for 2014 car.

      1. There are a few restrictions on what you can test – under the current regulations the FIA insists that, on safety grounds, the car has to have already passed its crash tests before it can be tested. It’s one reason why Ferrari were nearly forced to sit out the first test session in 2012 (I think) – it was rumoured that they had failed the side impact test at least once, and possibly twice, so they only just passed the test a few days before the first test session took place.

        Asides from the fact that the regulations have probably changed sufficiently enough for it to be difficult to compare data between the 2013 and 2014 cars, the other big problem is the fact that the impact loads for the side impact test is higher than in 2013. The FIA might, therefore, refuse to allow a 2013 car to test because it would not conform to the 2014 crash test rules (something that wasn’t a problem in 2013 as the 2012 and 2013 crash test rules were the same).

        1. Presumably if they get desperate they could significantly ‘beef up’ the impact test zones in order to get something onto the track and then work on a more light-weight solution before the final chassis is finished for the start of the season? Presumably it would be better to test an imperfect solution than nothing.

    2. If it’s a financial issue (which is the first thing I thought when I read the headlines) I don’t think it will really benefit them to bring a 2013-spec car. Isn’t the aero changing enough that applying 2014-spec parts to a 2013 car going to be of little to no value?

      Not the news I was hoping to hear from them, it would’ve been nice to believe that they could build on their 2013 successes.

  7. Well, Williams skipped first test last year and we saw what happened.

  8. Theory: This might be down to the deal with Renault. There was some mentioning about talks with Renault when Kimi’s deal was on the table. I don’t even remember Lotus saying they have a deal with Renault, but I hope I’m wrong. Maybe they did owe Renault even more money than Kimi and they just didn’t get the 2014 power unit in time to build the car around it? Now this has delayed everything…

    1. I don’t think not having an engine deal was any trouble for Brawn GP in 2009. Lotus/Enstone simply hasn’t got their car done in time for the first test.

      1. As I understood it changing the chassis to fit the Mercedes engine was a big deal for Brawn, albeit that they got on and did an amazing job of it – mainly because the car itself was well developed so that was the primary challenge. My understanding of the new engine regs is that the engines should be much more interchangeable in terms of physically fitting connecting it, but any uncertainty over engine will have an impact on cooling, gearing etc though. I would have thought that they would just have to go ahead and design/build based on the Renault engine unless there is a significant likelyhood that they aren’t going to be able to secure a supply from Renault (which may be the case if they haven’t been paying the bills).

    2. replying to myself… according to Reuters the engine deal hasn’t been announced: “Lotus are the only team yet to announce formally their engine deal for 2014, although existing partner Renault said cooperation with the team it once owned was proceeding as normal.”

  9. So they’re not attending the test at all? I’d have thought that even if the full car was not ready to launch you would want to at least get some new parts onto last year’s chassis to start proofing reliability with simple mileage. Also with a new driver coming into the team seat time is important for him to familiarize himself with controls and how the team works. I guess that’s done mostly on the simulators these days though. Still I find it odd that they’d skip the test entirely, which makes me wonder if their financial troubles aren’t still dogging them.

    1. There are a lot of changes, though. It’s probably not even possible to put a new V6 engine in a 2013 car, nor is aero going to show you any worthwhile data due to the change in nose, front and rear wing regulations.

      Jerez that time of year is also cold, which makes for less reliable data. If anything, it’d be a waste of money to any team to drive around with a freak-2013 car.

  10. this isn’t a massive surprise especially with the team having to deal with kimi’s departure at the end of last season. This year should mirror 2009 because of the rule changes, in 2009 there were a couple teams that didn’t show up for the first test of the year. With all the rule changes this was is to be expected, but with the team’s situation this news is a tad bit worrying

    1. Wouldn’t think it has much to do with the driver, more to do with all the changes in design staff they have had.

      Or money.

      Or both.

  11. They will appear when Quantum pays, and the deal is almost done, just a question of procedure :)

    1. W (@yesyesyesandyesagain)
      6th January 2014, 19:51

      The money is in the bank guys, really… no serious… any day now.

  12. I’m gonna go ahead and guess that Marussia, Catheram and Sauber won’t be there either.

    1. @spawinte, at least we know Catherham passed all crash-tests already.

  13. Better get those crash tests right, as the car will be crashing a lot more than last year’s one with Kimi in it.

  14. Chris Brighton
    6th January 2014, 19:51

    I’m sure they won’t be the only team. I am excited to see the 2014 cars for this season though, especially the W05 in which I’ve seen the outline of the car already.

  15. This isn’t surprising in the slightest. Of all the teams they were definitely the most likely to miss this one. They haven’t even signed an engine deal yet.
    I don’t think Marussia will be there either. I’ll say Caterham will because I’m sure they had a crash test done last month.

  16. For the first time I can remember I read this and realised I don’t care about pre season testing. No excitement whatsoever. Bit depressing really.

  17. This is depressing. The team that won a race and collected a whole bunch of podiums, finished 4th in the standings and now can’t even afford to finance an extremely important test.

  18. haha that previous comment made it seems I have a severe short term memory problem. It should read – ‘I read this and for the first time in years of watching F1 realised I don’t care about pre season testing’

  19. My guess is it will be a warm Spain this year…

  20. I could go wrong. but if they could`nt pay Kimi. they must be short on money

  21. I would like to have a laugh at this PR spin and the inevitable failure of the Qantum confinancing, but this is a tragedy unfolding in front of our eyes.

  22. Prima facie Nico Hulkenburg was lucky to have moved to Force India and So is Kimi…. Again only time can tell. I could be wrong. Lotus could come back. Last year red bull were not ready till the second test and we all know how that worked out :) Of course needless to say the Brawn GP only did one test in 2009 !!!!

  23. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    6th January 2014, 22:20

    (so far) Hulkenberg 1 – Maldonado 0
    So maybe Hulk made the right move after all.

  24. I expect this to be due to the car not being ready for technical reasons, rather than financial. Lotus has money issues, but they are not broke. That means, in worse case they should be able to make and race a car, but then simply fall back in the development race as time goes, and possibly need to cut down on personal. But as far as i’ve read here, that hasn’t happened yet. As for missing the first test, Ross Brawn already said it a long time ago, it’s no good to miss that test this year

  25. im sure its far too early to say, but maybe force india was the better move for hulkenberg after all .
    missing the first test is a huge deal in my opinion. No team would want to miss the first test

  26. I think Lotus have some problems…

  27. It would seem other teams still aren’t learning from Red Bull:

    Take time to understand what’s going on. Don’t flail about making changes for the sake of it. Take every opportunity, every benefit given, and exploit it as much as you can. Everyone was bitten by tyres last year and teams who got their car to work with them benefited. This year, engines and cooling need to be tested. A lot. Reliability will be everything.

    And here are teams throwing away opportunities to test that reliability, and their packaging…. is it all down to money?

  28. I do believe some teams had control of their tires last year until they changed them, Lotus bring one of them… If they stayed close to the front maybe their money issues might not of been as bad.
    Definitely be tough to make up that test!

  29. Really worrying news for them, no crash test done, no car (even a test bed of last years), no testing.

    Not a good start and not a good sign for the start of the year.

  30. Well it probably takes a little longer to make a car completely Maldonado-proof, it must be difficult to make demolition derby exoskeleton fit on an F1 car while trying to keep it aerodynamically efficient

  31. @Hairs

    A good point there mate and Red Bull have not exploded out of the box in the last few years. “Lets have a look, see what we can make better and go from there”. Maybe they went a bit too much in the last half of last year for all of us!!

    So when were the last major rule changes since 2014?? Must be 2009 I guess! So this would be the most important initial test in 5 years. Too important to miss just for the money- I know the costs are getting extreme ( @Prisoner Monkeys ) had some good points earlier about manufacturing cost with supplier chassis, but also day to day operational costs are extreme, with FOM not helping.

    Can we only assume Lotus have some car issues? I really hope not, I loved seeing Lotus get amongst it this year and was hoping the top 4 closer next year “for sure” :)

    Anyway despite a few of the areas us F1F’s are not happy with at the current state of Formula One (and there are quite a few) I still am looking forward to Melbourne!!!!!!!

  32. It looks like the suppliers won’t play ball until they have been paid and the rumour is that lots of people are still owed for 2013…..including Kimi … so this years sponsors are nervous of paying up until last years debts are sorted out otherwise they see their sponsorship purely paying last years debts which of course is not good!

    no money = no test = no 2014 season

    It’s a pity but is it bye bye Lotus? We think so.

    ….plus other teams as well??? … Sauber, Marussia, Caterham ?
    0 agree 0 disagree

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