T he Lotus test drive in Barcelona would have an entry in the book of records earned. Romain Grosjean drove seven laps or 32.585 kilometers. Then the roller bar of the Lotus garage fell and the gates never opened again.
Alert in Enstone. The chassis is soft. At first it was thought that it was due to the new chassis number 02. But a test bench test with chassis 01 in the factory showed that this carbon tube also had a problem in Barcelona. The test was then called off completely.
Lotus chassis cannot cope with the lateral forces
Since then speculates at which point the Lotus chassis has given way. And why you didn't notice anything about it in Jerez. There was only a small hint: Kimi Raikkonen noted a strange feeling with the steering. Perhaps we should have got to the bottom of this rather than just changing the power steering setting.
Barcelona has higher demands on a Formula 1 chassis than Jerez. Only 15 percent, but the big difference lies in the type of forces that act on the carbon tube. Force-India technical director Andy Green explains: 'In Jerez there are more forces in the longitudinal direction, in Barcelona, however, more lateral forces.'
Former Jordan designer Gary Anderson suspected that the soft spot in the carbon hull is in the area of the engine mounting. Then you should have noticed that in Jerez. In the meantime it transpires that the problem area is where the front suspension is screwed on. Allegedly, the metal inserts have shifted between the two carbon fiber layers.
Force India 2011 with similar problem
The same thing happened to Force India a year ago. Fortunately, the technicians recognized the problem on the last day of the test in Jerez. It was fixed by re-lamination. 'We only lost one day in the next test in Barcelona,' said Green. The problem was the use of a new resin. It didn't dry out as it should.
Lotus is said to have poached a carbon specialist from Red Bull last year. It is now speculated that the information about the weight of the Red Bull chassis may have set new, ambitious standards for his new team. The chassis of the new Lotus E20 is said to be lighter than all chassis in recent years. Are you dealing with lightweight constructionexaggerated?
Lotus mutes itself
Lotus does not let anything out of it. Actually childish. The damage is done. Everyone knows there is a problem with the chassis. Then you can say where. The information about this would not reveal any secrets to the competition that they could use to their advantage. A typical example of the paranoia in Formula 1.
The good news is that the Lotus E20 will be ready for testing right on time for the start of tests next week. Post-lamination at this point doesn't have to be a major handicap. It didn't hurt last year's Force India either.