N after the successful test in Jerez, Lotus was considered the team of the hour . Romain Grosjean set the fastest time of all new cars. Kimi Raikkonen also got along well with the black and gold racing car right away. The team unwound more than 1,700 kilometers. No major problems arose. But after only seven laps in Barcelona the sky suddenly darkened.
Grosjean was the first to notice the chassis problem
When Grosjean came into the pits, the Frenchman complained about unusual driving behavior. 'We did a few aero runs and then started with faster laps. But I quickly noticed that the car was not reacting as it should.'
After alerting the driver, the team investigated Chassis with the number E20-02, which was first used in Barcelona. Damage to the carbon body was found. Initially, it was assumed that the damage was caused by a production defect in the chassis. Initially, it was planned to fly in the chassis E20-01, which had run without any problems in Jerez.
Before shipping, the chassis was tested on the test bench with data from the engineers from Barcelona. The same error occurred. 'We were able to find the area that we need to work on again,' said James Allison, chief technology officer. Both chassis tubes are now to be revised in the factory in Enstone.
Lotus cancels Barcelona test
As a result, Lotus has to watch the rest of the test week, like the competition busy collecting test kilometers in Barcelona. Allison promises that they will not be ready for action again until the third week of testing of the season, also in Barcelona.
'That was a difficult decision,' explained team boss Eric Boullier. 'But we have the feeling that it was the right one. The positive thing is that we recognized the chassis problem quickly and the design office already has a solution ready.'
The loss of the four Test days is a serious setback for the racing team, which actually wanted to annoy the top teams this year. 'We take our faith from the fact that the E20 was fast and reliable at Jerez. We have a lot of work to do in the next week, but everyone at Enstone is ready for the challenge.'
Barcelona with higher loads than Jerez
Why the mistake occurred in Barcelona and not in Jerez is easy by the wayexplains: On the Circuit de Catalunya, the car is exposed to much higher loads. The aerodynamic load is significantly greater due to the many fast corners and the long straight with its top speeds of more than 300 km /h.
In Barcelona, the longest straight is 1,047 meters long. In Jerez it is only 632 meters. There are also some higher curbs and bumps in Barcelona. Incidentally, it is not the first time that a chassis cannot withstand the stresses. Last year Force India struggled with a similar problem.
In our photo gallery we present the Lotus F1 E20 again in detail.