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Lotus opt to miss Jerez but how crucial is missing the first pre-season test?
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Romain Grosjean
Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Jan 2014   |  7:09 pm GMT  |  172 comments

Lotus have decided to miss the first pre-season test at Jerez in Spain, which starts on 28 January, and are instead expected to run their 2014 challenger for the first time at the second test which follows in Bahrain next month.

The move gives the Enstone-based team more time to develop their car and they will not miss out much on tyre data as Jerez’s abrasive track surface isn’t representative of tracks on the race calendar.

However the downside is they will lose vital track time with a car that will see incorporate some of the biggest rules changes in years.

The news also comes as Lotus, who ran Renault engines last season as they finished fourth in the constructors’ championship, have yet to confirm an engine supply for 2014. Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado are their drivers.

The first test lasts four days with two tests in Bahrain following. The first starts on 19 February and the second follows on 27 February.

Lotus technical director Nick Chester said: “We’ve decided that attending the Jerez test isn’t ideal for our build and development programme.

“We are likely to unveil the car before attending the Bahrain tests, and in Bahrain we should really be able to put the car through its paces in representative conditions.

“This is the first year of radically different regulations which means that all teams are developing their cars along potentially quite different avenues.

“We think we have a very good solution to the challenge and hopefully this will be seen when the E22 turns its wheels in anger.



“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.”

It is not the first time a team has missed the first pre-season test. But by doing so, teams have suffered contrasting fortunes.

In 2010, Red Bull skipped the four-day test at Valencia, but it didn’t seem to hinder them as they went on to win the drivers’ title with Sebastian Vettel as well as the constructors’ championship.

Force India also missed that test and finished seventh in the constructors’ championship, two places better than they did the previous season.

In 2011, McLaren, Force India, Virgin and HRT, ran their 2010 cars on the opening day of the first test, while Lotus (now Caterham) missed the first day altogether.

In 2012, Marussia missed the first test – and went on to finish last in the constructors’ championship while Mercedes used their 2011 car for the first three days and missed the final day. The Brackley-based team finished fifth in the constructors’, one place worse than the previous year.

Last year, all teams attended the first test and used their new cars apart from Williams, who used their 2012 machine. The team suffered a hugely disappointing season, scoring points just twice to finish ninth overall.

On Tuesday, McLaren announced they will unveil their 2014 car on Friday 24 January with an online launch while Mercedes will have a low key reveal on the first day of the Jerez test.

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172 Comments
  1. Lee says:

    For ‘more time to develop the car’ read ‘more time to finish the car’. The objective of testing isn’t to make loads of noise, testing IS development time, and pound for pound it’s more productive development time than anything they can do in Enstone.

    1. Rockie says:

      All would be fine with Lotus they already stated earlier they were gonna miss the 1st test, they only just confirmed it.
      Team Enstone is very competent irrespective of lost staff its always come together for them on a lower budget than the rest also they still have a lot of clever people in that team its just like Redbull people only know engineers mentioned by F1 journos there are loads of people in each team that are unsung heroes.
      Lastly the funny thing would be come Australia they turn up and Pastor sticks it on pole and wins the race.
      Suddenly people dislike Lotus for choosing Pastor over Hulk despite the former being a race winner and also has a strong financial backing which Lotus need!

  2. JoeW says:

    What’s the significance of Lotus not announcing an engine supplier yet? They must know themselves (…surely?) – does this possibly indicate ongoing discussions about payment?

    1. Sebee says:

      I imagine they want more factory support from Renault. Perhaps they got a sponsor to pay for the engine and will either demand Renault support or Lotus powered by Colgate Engine.

      I honestly still have not figured out why Genii is doing this F1 project. I know James said they hoped to flip and sell quickly. But at this point, with all this debt before the 2014 car arrives…well, wonder how it makes sense. Who would buy this team now and why?

      As for all this talk about Kimi, hey, he’s rich, he got a Ferrari ride, I imagine even if he doesn’t get paid by Lotus he won’t be going hungry. That’s their thinking I bet too. Honestly, we all like Kimi, and know he’s legaly in the right. But it’s a bit hard to feel sorry for him. I’d rather Kimi not get paid for example rather than us losing a team on the grid and all those team mechanics and members being out of work.

      1. Boca Jim says:

        If Kimi’s salary isn’t paid by Lotus, his Barristers will put Lotus into receivership. No salary for Kimi = no more Lotus.

      2. Sebee says:

        And you’re willing to make that trade, just so Kimi adds a few million to his stack?

      3. If Kimi is not paid his wages for the season of 2013 by his employees god help lotus .

      4. Rodrigo Martins says:

        I agree with you, if you think as a team, Kimi ‘s salary could pay the salary of the entire team, and if you don’t pay the team you’re compromising the structure of the team, the team wouldn’t put that much effort to brink updates to the car…

      5. Sebee says:

        Indeed Rodrigo.

        Kimi could cut his losses on this one. He’s way ahead anyway, and in good part thanks to the fact that Lotus put every cent they had into the car he was driving. Say Kimi was finishing P12, P14, etc. in an uncompetitive Lotus in 2013. You think Ferrari would have taken him on? I say no way. That’s why I feel Lotus has given Kimi this 2 year Ferrari run, and perhaps even more. I’m sure he is well aware of that to know it wasn’t only his magic that got him the results in 2013. It was the team throwing all resources mainly into his car. When it became apparent he was leaving they threw those resource into Grosjean…I think.

        I’m not asking him to lay down and play soft. Simply to give the team some time, not go after them hard, and let them get on the grid in 2014. I’m sure there is a compromise out on this. And even if it means Kimi forgoes 1 year of salary, what’s the big deal? He won’t go hungry.

        I think Lotus should just give Kimi the car he drove in Australia last year and call it a day personally. He can keep it, sell it, etc. It’s a nice PR move, clearly Kimi can pull a few euros out of it if he wants, and we can all move on.

      6. Wade Parmino says:

        This is the first time I have agreed with something you have said (apart from the liking Kimi part). Perhaps because it’s the first time you have written something not about how fantastic Vettel is. ;)

      7. Sebee says:

        It is true Wade, I forgot how wunderbar Vettel is. But don’t worry, we’ll all be reminded about taht on March 16th. Until then, we can chat about the other parts.

        As for Kimi, I say he’s in the right. But look at the situation. Thanks to Lotus Kimi is back in F1, got 50% paid for his services so far, and got a Ferrari ride to boot. I think Kimi can give Lotus some time on this one. Again, it’s not a matter of screwing Kimi out of money. He basically isn’t getting paid at this point anyway. Now, will he pile on the pressure with lawsuits that can perhaps put the team off the grid? Honestly, if Kimi is the straw that breaks the Lotus’ back, I will not be pleased with his actions. I’d rather have Lotus on the grid for another year than Kimi have his few million extra Euros.

      8. J Hancock says:

        Kimi could also drive the team to the wall over unfulfilled contractual obligations. When it comes down to it, they owe him a lot of money, at some point they will either have to pay it, or admit they’ll never be able to pay it at which point they’re bankrupt. Success it seems can be a dangerous as failure.

      9. Sebee says:

        But he isn’t. He’s at Ferrari getting 15 million Euros a season, or something like that, right?

        How exactly did he get there? We could easily argue that what Lotus did for Kimi is a huge part of the reason why he’s going to be back in red this year with a much bigger paycheck than he was ever getting at Lotus. It is Lotus that gave Kimi the negotiating leverage to pull that off. Finders fee anyone?

      10. dimitar kadrinski says:

        What a lot of nonsense Sebee…
        “I imagine even if he doesn’t get paid by Lotus he won’t be going hungry” – how do you know that, and most importantly would he be like that if he was to wave a few millions here and there???
        Saying that Lotus gave Kimi the leverage to negotiate with Ferrari is another nonsense (not taking it personally, just my opinion). Champ beating a rookie in the same car is not like rookie beating the champ…. Not to mention that Ferrari know Kimi very well, and they also know what type of driver they need for the NEW car. All Alonso fans ( and I am on of them) better hope he can adapt quickly to the new car, because Kimi will do so earlier than him (Just remember his rallying days)!

      11. Sebee says:

        dimitar,

        Kimi came back to Lotus after 2 years off. If he didn’t have that Lotus car, no one would be saying how good Kimi is if he had constant finishes but P14 not points, podiums and wins. Guess what, there are drivers who were consistent and finished p14-p18, Ferrari didn’t look at them. There is no doubt, the tools Lotus gave Kimi is in big part why red is his color again.

      12. Elie says:

        €200million debt is not going to make one bit of diff of whether he gets paid or not and if anything it was the best/worst indicator that Lotus had much deeper problems. Kimi himself probably cares less about the money. But on the flip side it’s hard to feel sorry for Lotus because they decided to treat him like garbage when he would have earned them over 200pts which probably equates to twice his salary anyway.

        Strategically had it been handled better Lotus may have kept him and were probably on the casp of attracting many new (real) sponsors. Instead they didn’t even give him lunch money, treated him like a fool on track, and then started dreaming of huge investment. You reap what you sow..They have to pray now they build a good car because their immediate future will depend on it

      13. Sebee says:

        Not sure they treated him like garbage.

        They could have paid him and given him a P14 car. Which is a better choice?

        I remind you, Kimi did get paid for 50% of his services at Lotus.

        Bottom line is, that if it is Kimi’s claim that breaks the camel’s back, while I understand his claim – it will suck for us and for F1.

      14. Wade Parmino says:

        Treated him like a fool on track? He drove like a fool on track (India) where he was majorly out-driven by Grosjean who started from 18th on the grid! Also, Kimi is supposed to have lightning reflexes which he has shown in the past. Where were these when he hit the Caterham in Abu Dhabi right at the start of the race. After which he left the track immediately (not via the garage I understand) to the hotel. He was the unprofessional party in this fiasco, not Lotus.

        Kimi thinks he can do what he wants, failing to turn up to drivers briefings, talk back to his bosses etc. I am sick of his Mike Hawthorn/James Hunt lad persona.

      15. Elie says:

        Sebee / Wade..I will remind you both lotus were a 7th at best team before Raikkonen came along and Grosjean was certainly no better than that.

        Up until Lotus failed to pay him 1 euro he was fully committed and when Quantum lies amounted to nothing. He rightly considered his future and was grabbed by Ferrari. I still dont think hes been paid even now and his management are negotiating a small settlement. Be interested to know where you heard he got paid.50%?? Please note that Ferrari would not hire someone who they think is unworkable (let alone twice) and the guy that sacked him – LdM- was recently quoted as saying “Kimi was always correct in how he worked within the team” .

        I have yet to see 1 person who thinks calling any driver to get the f out the way in any circumstances as anything less than garbage but you 2 might certainly get a prize for it. Grosjean was a complete nit wit for attacking on the outside of that turn. Kimi made clear he would get out the way at the first chance he could- not when his car is sliding everywhere ( thanks to another silly strategy).. Anyone could see the whole incident took less than 3 corners. Yet when the tables were turned Lotus left Kimi to fight his way past several laps. Germany too was a real chance at beating Seb but for this!

        Wade you have to be stark raving mad!- do you understand that after Korea Kimi ( and anyone with any of pride) was not about to return to the track– EVER!- do you understand.?? The fact he even turned up shows great character and a racers spirit most people were saying he shouldnt even bother.

        As for Abu Dhabi it was a clear racing incident and if you watched carefully Van De Garde didnt see him fully turned in till the last second and flicked away very quickly. It was light contact evidenced by no damage to the Caterham. But even the best cant avoid them all. Especially given he was throwing caution to the wind starting dead last after being one of the fastest all weekend. Without the floor failure he was easily a threat for the win.

        Just ask martin whitmarsh – he even said Kimi is often mis understood. He works hard when hes there and its only his off track oersona that many confuse.

      16. Sebee says:

        OK, valid points.

        I have to take issue on one. Yes, the car improved when Kimi came, but it wasn’t just Kimi’s doing. Some of the tech Renault was developing for RBR found it’s way there and they followed that direction. Investment was boosted by Genii to give Kimi the car that could podium and win. It wasn’t Kimi that lifted Lotus from 7th up with his magic Kimi pixidust and hard work. It was the team putting the package together of Kimi and then investing heavily to give him the car as well to not let him down. You could argue that this was a pure racer decision on the part of the team. Throw all you can at it. Borrow, beg, steal to get that car to be as fast as you can. Worry about the rest tomorrow.

        50% paid…I mean Kimi was there for 2 years and he got paid for 1 already, late but paid. So his contract is 50% paid.

      17. Sebee says:

        Let’s not forget who Lotus was taking on this year too. Ferrari and Mercedes….no less!

        They are hoping for investment, interest, backers. Strangely, even those impressive results have not produced any.

      18. Elie says:

        Sebee Im not about to give Kimi full credit for a good car. My point was more -even a vastly improved Grosjean this year was no better than 7. When Kimi switched back to the short wheel based car and tweeked it for less understeer he showed great pace at Abu Dhabi- i have no doubt he would have challenged Seb those last 2 races. He was almost 1/2 sec quicker than Grosjean- who most people think is the next big thing.( i dont).

        I think he manages to get the best out if a package very, very quickly. Australia this year and his first year at Ferrari are evidence of that. Even his return last year shows he has uncanny skills. Lets hope Ferrari dont make the same mistake of 2009.

        As for the strategy of Lotus throwing the kitchen sink and all their spare change at it– no probs at all- I understabd that- just saying a little respect and sensibility with Kimi may have seen him get Kimi for the last 2 races and indeed some new sponsors for this year.

      19. John S says:

        Sorry or not as you said legally he is in the right. If a team can’t manage their finances to pay what is due then it deserves to fold. It’s this same justification that led to the numerous bailouts post recession.

      20. dren says:

        I have to agree with you. Kimi signed a contract with the team and they should pay him. Lotus does deserve to fold at this point. I’m surprised they haven’t yet.

      21. JCA says:

        They can’t re brand a Renault engine without their permission, iirc Renault retain ownership of all their engines even when they are used by customer teams (the reason Mclaren can’t open Merc engines to supply information to Honda) and it has reportedly cost well into nine figures to develop these power units. So unless they can convince Merc or Ferrari to supply them on short notice, they are stuck with Renault, and Renault branding.

        They would be better off trying to convince Renault to become their title sponsor, as they are unhappy with their lack of recognition through Red Bull, after letting one of their partners steel their thunder.

      22. aveli says:

        if you buy anything, it become your’ sand you can do whatever you want with it.

      23. JCA says:

        @aveli they don’t buy the engines, they buy the use of the engines. The engines, iirc, are only ever handled by Renault Sport employees. The engines, engine design(IP) and engine branding remain Renaults property.

      24. Sebee says:

        That’s what I mean. Maybe they are negotiating to either get Renault support or to get permission to rebrand. Say they made a deal with some Korean brand or Russian brand of cars who will pay for the engines?

        I think engine makers who aren’t supporting teams financially need to give a bit of space to have the engines rebranded. After all, they get paid for their technology and they are benefiting from milage and reduced cost due to larger volume.

        If Lotus can bring a car maker into F1 who simply wants in for the marketing and who wants to pay for the Renault lease, either Renault offers to take up that cost, or they allow the engine to get rebranded.

        Makes sense to me, especially if it means we keep a team on the grid.

      25. aveli says:

        jca, do you wish I said they bought engines?

      26. Kimi4WDC says:

        RE: Losing the team. Well, how about loosing that management team at the top for total lack of competence? They are the ones who could not exploit good stuff they had for past two years and showed total lack of ability afterwards.

        Only thing I feel sorry for are the amazing brain power back at Enstone factory.

        I’d rather see this team go bankrupt and taken over by someone who can actually manage the team, rather than watch this painful drama.

    2. Ben says:

      I think I remember reading somewhere – and I may be wrong – that Renault were looking at Lotus to be more of a Renault works team as Red Bull are covered in the infiniti branding and Renault feel that they are not getting the exposure that they deserve from the partnership with them. If this is the case I am guessing that Renault are now getting cold feet over the deal as Lotus appear to be in trouble and are trying to renegotiate.

      1. Rich B says:

        I read that somewhere too, I think you’re right about the cold feet.

      2. John S says:

        Renault owns something like 40% of Nissan, and Infiniti is the luxury brand of Nissan. Nobody knows what Infiniti is outside of the United States so it thought it could just slap its name on the champions and say they sell enthralling alternatives to BMWs (they don’t). What’s good for Infiniti is good for Renault and after each victory it’s Seb who thanks Renault not Inifiniti. It’s Renault’s people who are on the ground there at Red Bull, and two Renault logos one on each sleeve of my Red Bull Racing jacket.

        I knew when Infiniti became a title sponsor they wouldn’t be able to resist placing a totally unmodified pre-Red Bull sponsorship Infiniti car racing the Red Bull car in a commercial. Which it did in the form of a G37 at Monaco no less. Despicable.

      3. Sebee says:

        Tell me John, when you wear that jacket, do you feel like you can do anything? Like Seinfeld when he got the awesome suede jacket?

        Just asking, as I’m consdiering if I should get one for myself.

        P.S. If you live in UK, do you ever feel “In Danger” when you wear it?

      4. John S says:

        Yes, as a matter of fact I do feel invincible in the jacket. I live in America so more often than not I am combatting any suggestions that I am part of a nascar or any other racing team. I look forward to wearing it in the UK in fact, if my experience during the 2013 Montreal race was any indication. The haters just make me love it more. Nothing like gloating among a sea of bad losers. Much better atmosphere at Austin though it was balanced. Love the Seinfeld reference, the jacket is on sale now so buy it immediately.

  3. Superfan says:

    Not announcing engine suppliers yet is a worry, surely integration would have started at the beginning of last year. Is the implication that Renault has not been payed yet? If so it begs the question if they will actually be on the grid in Melbourne.

    1. forzaminardi says:

      I’m confused by these comments about “not announcing an engine supplier”. Lotus confirmed continued use of Renault ages ago, did they not?

      1. Rockie says:

        Surprised as well, thought they confirmed before the end of last season!

      2. Lotus have not come true about their financial mess to the public and especially their pilots for 2014 . Are they still discussing engine deals and sponsors for 2014? Is Kimi ready to press the button ? All will be explained soon by Signor James Allen .

    2. I know says:

      Financial disagreements are the most likely explanation for the delay in announcing their Renault partnership – far too late to switch supplier now. I wonder how the negotiation goes – an F1 engine is very much a bespoke product, and the contract would have been fixed a long time ago. Perhaps suppliers (and drivers, at least if they expect to be payed by the team) will start to demand bank guarantees.

      Even if there are disputes over payments, the current situation only fuels speculation, which can’t really be in the interest of the team nor of Renault.

      The other possibility is that the situation is so dire that Renault would rather minimise its association with a failing team, and believes that an announcement of their partnership would attract more negative than positive publicity. I hope that isn’t the case.

  4. Aadil says:

    Lotus did the Hulk a favour by not signing him.

    its becoming pretty obvious that Lotus are going to be a midfield team next year

    At least at force India he has a better chance of being paid :)

    1. Alexander Supertramp says:

      I’ve been thinking the exact same thing, don’t expect Lotus near the front.

    2. Chromatic says:

      +
      I also feel sorry for Valsecchi .
      He may not regret too much being fired by Lotus, but does he have any other F1 options ??

    3. Mark V says:

      And Kimi’s decision to jump ship all the more astute as well. “Lotus, get out of the f***ing way!!!”

    4. Rockie says:

      How exactly even with all this problems Lotus would still finish higher than Force India, Lotus finished 39pts behind Ferrari despite 1 car not scoring for last 3 races.

  5. Suckfizzle says:

    No engine supply confirmed, missing the first test, their CEO Patrick Louis no longer in his position, no Quantum investment money. Are Lotus even going to be on the grid in Australia?

    1. Aleksandar says:

      Plus, have they paid Kimi?

      I think they are on thin ice, great team with much promise but such bad finance strategy.

    2. James Clayton says:

      I’m pretty sure they won’t be.

    3. Kimi4WDC says:

      Doubt it.

    4. David in Sydney says:

      I think we’re going to lose this team. And I hate that they were ever called Lotus.

  6. Matt W says:

    James, is there a hint that this is a financial move rather than tactical?

    1. I know says:

      A hint? Why would any team miss a test for “tactical” reasons, unless they have come up with some super-secret part and want to keep their edge for as long as possible? That’s almost certainly not the case here, but even if it were, Lotus would test without that part to gather as much data as possible.

      Delaying the first test, especially with the new regulations, is never done out of choice.

    2. Ben says:

      I think it is probably a combination of both. It has been well reported that Lotus are struggling financially and each test costs a lot of money for the teams to attend and Bahrain appears to be a more representative test because of the reasons mentioned above.

      Lotus have had a good history of doing a lot more on a much smaller budget than the other top 5 teams so I imagine that they are hoping they can continue that form although losing some of their top technical personnel implies this may not be the case this year but if they still continue to have the good wind tunnel/computer model that they appeared to have over the last couple of years then the extra development time at the factory may turn out to be more cost affective than running the test. Only time will tell

  7. Owen Brooker says:

    I seem to remember that Braun only attended one test and then went on to dominate. So testing is not everything, but given a choice you would want to make the most of every opportunity.

    1. Alexander Supertramp says:

      Yes, but Brawn very much had a development advantage as Honda wrote off 2008 early. Nothing suggests Lotus is in the same position and by losing track time, they compromise development. Missing the test is not even the worst part imo, it just reflects bigger problems.

    2. Chromatic says:

      I think Ross knew he’d got a loophole well and trully sussed and that Braun would dominate no matter what………

    3. Ace says:

      That was down to a really untimely pull out by Honda. In Lotus’ case though, they would’ve set out a plan for 2014 at least a year in advance which was to culminate at winter testing.
      For them to have it change it at 11th hour and 59th minute seems to me (my opinion) that it’s either financial or a certain part of the car isn’t crash compliant (chatter of front nose).
      Could be both, but hey, lets see what effect it has at Melbourne.

      1. I know says:

        It would be easy enough to run with a compliant part in testing – many teams will change their front nose between Jerez and Melbourne, precisely because of what they learned (from their own and other teams) in the test.

      2. Alexis says:

        The engine was tried and tested though in 09

  8. Alexis says:

    Madness. Or money issues. “Representative conditions” are irrelevant when you’re trying to get 20 laps done with no issues.

  9. Richard says:

    Hopeless situation at Lotus, how not testing can be seen as a move forward is a mystery to me considering the lack of testing times?? Really want to see merc and LH do well this year. Think it will be good for the sport and me!

    1. Voodoopunk says:

      How would it do the sport good?

      1. Random 79 says:

        Maybe he just threw that in to be polite – I think he mostly meant the “me” ;)

      2. Voodoopunk says:

        I was pretty much expecting it to be the “me”, but hoping for something more than the regular I want the driver I support to win more because he deserves it.

      3. Tim says:

        ‘How would it do the sport good?’….

        It’s generally accepted that prolonged periods of domination by a single team/driver has a negative effect on the popularity of F1. The current decline in viewing figures may be reversed if there was a ‘changing of the guard’. More folk tuning in = more $$$, hence it will be good for the sport.

      4. Voodoopunk says:

        A good answer, I don’t necessarily disagree, but the sport to my mind has become unpopular with the casual fan = “more folk tuning in”, which the PTB seem to want to pander to more and more.

      5. Tim says:

        Absolutely the PTB pander to the casual fan – that’s were the ‘new’ money is. Cynically, they can be pretty sure hard-core fans (such as myself) will not stop watching. I might moan a bit but I won’t be cancelling Sky anytime soon, so I am not a problem – they can bank my money. The casual fan is much more fickle and they are the ones who need to be courted and encouraged to tune in. That’s why we see daft ideas like double points races etc.

      6. Voodoopunk says:

        If the new rules meant a complete shake up at the top of the order, say Force India or Sauber winning for a few years, I think that would be wonderful, do you think this would encourage the casual fan?

        Unfortunately I think not, it’s more to do with who’s winning, or not.

      7. chris says:

        Short term it would be bad, and very bad for the staff involved. However it would hopefully be the kick up the arse the ruling powers and team bosses need to get the resource control in place. One thing I would like to see is the revenue much more evenly split among the teams. Say 75% of it split equally between the top 10-12 teams with the remaining 25% based on points from last season. New teams entering would only get money after the 1st completed season.

    2. Alexander Supertramp says:

      The Merc engine might have overheating issues, where have I heard that before :p? Still, my gut tells me they will be a main challenger.

    3. Rodrigo Martins says:

      To be fair, i think to the drivers is not a good situation at all. With this new engines and tires, test few miles with the car probably would be good for the drivers. If you think from the perspective that they don’t have a driver that it is not in f1 for that much time, don’t test is not good.

  10. Rich B says:

    didn’t realize they’ve yet to confirm engine supplier, let me guess, they owe Renault money!

    I presume their car’s been designed around Renaults ‘power unit’ and it’s way too late to change.

  11. Gene says:

    Lotus haven’t confirmed an engine supply as of yet for 2014? This seems crazy, quite frankly. Isn’t a huge part of chassis development how it gets along with the powerplant’s weight distribution, size, shape, exhaust, etc? Am I wrong in thinking this is insanely late in the game to have your engine supply be a question mark?

  12. jmv says:

    Are they missing the test because of engine supply issues?

  13. Jon Clucas says:

    This part of the season has become my favorite!!

  14. Jock Ulah says:

    Would it be stating the obvious to say that without an engine supplier attending a test seems pointless?

    1. Bradley says:

      They could test out neutral.

      1. Russ says:

        They would fail the weigh-in.

    2. Scott77 says:

      Yeah, it seems pushing the car around the track is not allowed under the current regulations. Safety issues I’m led to believe.

    3. Arnie S says:

      Well, they can push it around!!!

      1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

        Too risky, even if they cut a hole in the floor of the car and the driver ran, Fred Flintstone style, they’d still be worried Maldo would bin it ;)

    4. Cedric says:

      Well said!

  15. Andy says:

    If Lotus are going to issue a press release, at least make it believable. For Nick Chester to say “Our E22 development programme has been ongoing for over 2 years…”, and then to say they aren’t going to the first test to develop the car further, is rubbish. They say they’ve been working on it for over 2 years and they still need another 3 weeks! They are probably still trying sort the packaging out for the engine, or more likely, trying to pay for it.
    For a team to finish fourth and still have the reputed financial problems, makes me question the owners, because that is the likely source of their problems.

    1. Kimi4WDC says:

      The owners. Now, why would I seek any financial services from people like Gerard Lopez or Genii Group? Bunch of amateurs. Hope they gone by the end of the month.

  16. Gui59 says:

    On French TV, the track operation manager did confirm that Lotus will be powered by Renault this year, for some reason nodoby spoke about it.

  17. Sven says:

    No engines for sure to run the car with.
    The PR talk is the usual we hear from teams in despair.

  18. Gui59 says:

    Renault track operation manager

  19. goferet says:

    First Lotus lost Allison and the ship begun to rock around the midway point of the season as Kimi couldn’t get the car to work.

    Then the team goes ahead to lose Kimi and some other key personnel and you can start to see in what direction the team’s headed.

    Missing any kind of test isn’t a right move especially so in a year when reliability may play it’s hand.

    Red Bull got away with it by the skin of their teeth in 2010, whereas Brawn had no problems to write home about in 2009 as they had been working on their car for over a year.

    Now considering Lotus are already on the back foot, I wouldn’t be too surprised if Lotus and Mclaren exchange roles in 2014.

    P.s.

    Considering the fact Williams ditched Renault and Newey has been making worrisome undernotes about the competitiveness of the Renault powertrain, perhaps Lotus have a surprise for the fans as in what they will be carrying under their bonnet come Bahrain.

    1. Random 79 says:

      “perhaps Lotus have a surprise for the fans as in what they will be carrying under their bonnet come Bahrain”

      $5 says they rock up with a hamster on a wheel under the hood ;)

      1. Jock Ulah says:

        As long as the hamster consumes a pre-race can of Red Bull they should be alright.

        Don’t think the rules forbid using competitors’ open-source technology.

      2. Random 79 says:

        No, but I think they do forbid exotic fuels.

        In any case, I’m not sure that it would work for them:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4c75lWEb1eM

      3. Jock Ulah says:

        @R-79
        Unbelievable!
        Those rodents are pulling 5G turns with no effort . . .

      4. Random 79 says:

        On second thoughts they drive like Grosjean and Maldonado, so maybe it will :)

      5. goferet says:

        @ Random 79

        Lol… I take you up on your wager.

    2. Dave C says:

      But the thing is Lotus seemed more competitive in the 2nd half of the season last year certainly running at the front more often. Also no point speculating whats going on at Renault… afterall they are charging the most for their engine.

      1. goferet says:

        @ Dave C

        Actually Lotus was more competitive in the first half as it could make their tyres last thereby making one less stop.

        When the tyres got changed, this played more into Grosjean’s driving style and the lack of Allison meant the team couldn’t get on top of Kimi’s woes.

    3. ManOnWheels says:

      “Newey has been making worrisome undernotes about the competitiveness of the Renault powertrain”

      So you have any link to back that up?

      1. goferet says:

        @ManOnWheels

        Try reading inbetween the lines on this link

        http://en.espnf1.com/redbull/motorsport/story/134131.html

  20. threep says:

    I don’t see any significance in not announcing their engine supplier, they are still very tight with Renault and their website is still showing lots of Renault logos, they probably figure they don’t need to. If they were doing anything different, they’d have had to start work on the different packing at least 6 months ago and we’d have heard about it. And if they had no power unit at all then they would have laid everyone off at the end of last season! I think it’s a non story. Missing the Jerez test is the real story, it’s puts them 3 weeks behind on the development cycle, if they find any big problems in Bahrain they’ll be up against it to fix it for the first race.

  21. Martin says:

    I’d be more interested in knowing when the decision to miss Jerez was made. It could have been an early plan or it could have been a result of a late discovery of a problem.

    The aerodynamic characteristics of the new Pirelli tyres are critical, so the reason could be around that.

    In recent years we’ve seen teams introduce ‘b-spec’ cars during testing, where the aero kit is completely revised. But since this year there isn’t a known baseline and the wind tunnel tends to lead the track by several weeks, having another two weeks development time with all the data together is potentially useful in performance terms. If Jerez isn’t helpful in chassis development terms then the running is largely about ensuring that what works on the bench testing also works in the car, which will primarily be related to cooling.

    The engine situation is a bit odd to me. There was talk of them trying to go to Mercedes engines, or looking to Honda for 2016 and Renault or Mercedes not being happy with a short-term relationship, so it could be about the price of the engine.

    1. deancassady says:

      good one, Martin. Thanks for the insight.

  22. goferet says:

    While Mercedes will have a low key launch on the first day of the test
    ————————————————–

    Yes, these sort of launches are done by those seeking to hide their cards thus surprising their competition and so I expect lots of brollies covering the Mercedes pit boxes for the duration of the winter tests.

    1. dren says:

      I don’t think that is the case. Mercedes has done the same the last few years. They don’t see the value in spending money on a big reveal.

    2. Tealeaf says:

      You seem confident Mercedes and Hamilton will clean up this year, all I can say is you shouldn’t get your hopes up even if Merc locks out the front row in Australia just like Mclaren and Hamilton did in 2012, once he realises he can’t beat Vettel even with the fastest car and add to that being matched or beaten by his average team mate again then he will no doubt implode again and blame it on the media, team, ex girlfriend, the brakes etc. In fact I can see him thinking of excuses already.

  23. Sarvar says:

    May be Lotus have been developing their own engine on water so need some further development…

    1. ManOnWheels says:

      Don’t forget the free quantum energy recovery system!

  24. Joe_in_Miami says:

    sounds like trouble for Lotus. I do sincerely hope they make it at the end. It would be sad to lose them as contenders.

    1. Tealeaf says:

      One step at a time, nevermind contenders as long as they survive right now is the main thing.

  25. Spyros says:

    Hang on a minute!!

    With packaging of ‘the power unit’ being so critical, isn’t information about these units sensitive enough that a team would not be given specific information UNLESS they have a firm engine contact??

    If not, what’s to stop Lotus from learning about all of Renault’s odds and ends, and then getting an engine deal with Mercedes?

    1. Tealeaf says:

      I’m sure Lotus have already agrred to use Renault power units because of these complex packaging and integration I doubt they’d make the first race if they haven’t yet chosen which engine to go with.

  26. JB says:

    Is Williams and Lotus going to swap directions?

    Williams have been in a ditch for many years. Depending heavily on paid drivers like Senna and Maldonado.
    Now (as far as I know) Massa and Bottas are hired drivers.

    Where as, Lotus have Grosjean and Maldonado. Both are crash prone paid drivers.

    Finally, Have they paid Kimi yet??

    1. Sujith says:

      My point exactly! We’ll see a new revived Williams Team and a fully motivated Filepe Massa that is going to do wonders with Bottas!

      I so want to see the Williams name come up the ranks. It’s do or die for them!

      1. Tealeaf says:

        Why is it do or die for them? The way I see it is that they’ve been on a steady decline in the last decade and half with occasional spikes in performance but overall this decline is likely to continue until they reach Caterham and Marrusia level and by then they will fold but they’re a few years away from that, but its inevitable, look at all the old teams with aging team bosses, old Lotus, Arrows, Tyrrell etc its sad but unavoidable, the trick is for the team founder/owner’s legacy to live on and thrive just like Ferrai and Mclaren and these are rare but also important to Formula 1, will Frank be as legendary as those names? Unlikely but then anything can happen in Grand Prix racing and it usually does.

      2. McHarg123 says:

        Quite the pessimist you are!
        This is the chance Williams need . A New partnership with an engine that supposedly is the best of the lot. A fresh driver line up. One being supremely talented and the other with a wealth of experience. Combine that with very other team starting from scratch, I see Williams climbing up the order this year. Seriously, you would think bettering last year isn’t that hard to achieve

    2. Wade Parmino says:

      Ayrton Senna and Jody Schecter were also quite crash prone drivers.

    3. James Clayton says:

      Massa brings a fairly decent sponsorship package with him. Not as much as Maldo, but not insignificant.

    4. Sri says:

      Exactly. Did Kimi get paid? Venezuelan money?

  27. Grant H says:

    Its too late in the day for lotus to change engine supplier (assuming they are working on integrating renault) this new engine is such a beast teams have been working well over a year on packaging it. No anouncement this late can only point to big financial problems!!!

    1. Tealeaf says:

      Well maybe the beast really does produce 900+hp with ERS whilst being the most efficient, the heat issue certainly doesn’t seem as alarming as Mercedes.

  28. sjd1992 says:

    Has to be financial surely. In another year missing the first test may have had its advantages but with the new rules and engines it’s absolutely vital that the teams get as much running as they possibly can in before Australia.

    Even if Jerez isn’t that representative in terms of track layout you can still get some serious shakedown and reliability work done on the cars, so I really cannot see how any kind of advantage can be gained by skipping a test, apart from to save the cash.

    1. Ben says:

      I think you hit the nail on the head with your last comment ‘apart from to save cash’ I don’t think Lotus believe they are getting an advantage from missing the first test just that they will get less of a disadvantage than if they miss either of the other two tests.

      Lotus have historically been very good at making a smaller amount of money go further, it remains to be seen whether they can maintain that form this year

  29. Tim says:

    Kimi sure looks smart right now :)

    1. Tealeaf says:

      Now all Raikkonen have to do is teach Alonso a lesson on how to win a championship for Ferrari, can’t wait to find out if the Kimi of 2003-2005 is still in there somewhere, that Kimi was clearly faster than Alonso.

      1. Joel says:

        “Kimi of 2003-2005 is still in there somewhere”

        I’m taking that as an excuse (already?) I’m waiting to see Kimi getting creamed by Alonso…

  30. Random 79 says:

    Who can be the first to name the Nine Inch Nails album that describes Lotus’ situation perfectly?

    Disclaimer: No prizes to the winner…sorry :(

    1. Tim says:

      There are several albums where the title is quite apt:
      The Downward Spiral
      The Slip
      Further Down The Spiral
      All That Could Have Been
      And, Things Falling Apart

      Am I the winner? :-)

      1. Random 79 says:

        Well:

        The Downward Spiral is the one I was thinking of -so if nothing else you got that – but you also named several others that could easily be considered correct…plus you were the only contestant.

        Congratulations Tim on winning this prestigious competition!!! :D

  31. Dave P says:

    Definitely financial issues…. The annoying thing is that Geni forced, demanded the Lotus name of Caterham… Now see how it looks.. Caterham are managing… Lotus about to go bust taking the name of Lotus back out of F1 again… Shamefull….

    1. Tealeaf says:

      Shameful? Caterham is the worst performing team in F1 and Enstone had a race winning car last year that was a match for anyone but Redbull towards tje end of last year, hardly shameful. What has happened to this damn Quantum!?!

  32. Rob Newman says:

    Look like Nick Chester is sending a message to stakeholders and possible investors. I have a feeling Lotus are in serious trouble. So far, no other team has boasted how well they are doing with their 2014 car. And why is this coming from Nestor? Where is Eric?

    1. Tealeaf says:

      In trouble? I’m sure Maldonado money and maybe if Quantum can somehow come in Lotus will be just fine.

      1. Random 79 says:

        The Quantum money is a mirage: The closer it gets the more it seems to disappear into the distance.

    2. Joel says:

      Please check for the latest. Eric may have left as he din’t get his paycheck yet :)

  33. Wade Parmino says:

    The team always go well at Bahrain, so this is not the track where they should be doing testing. Catalunya is much more representative of most of the tracks on the calendar. It has almost every type of turn there is. This is where the most important testing should be done. Missing this test is not good.

    I fear this may cause Grosjean’s first win to continue to elude him this year.

    1. Wade Parmino says:

      My mistake, Jerez not Catalunya.

    2. James Clayton says:

      I fear the lack of a having a car on the grid may cause Grosjean’s first win to continue to elude him this year

  34. deancassady says:

    I’m just hoping that Lotus makes it to the grid for the first race!

    1. Random 79 says:

      +1

      As much as they might be a laughing stock to some right now it would a real shame if they fail to make it.

  35. Elie says:

    It’s very hard for us to speculate whether its a good thing for Lotus to skip Jerez or not & Im not convinced that most teams will place much emphasis on it because the critical thing is tyres and we all saw how that played out last year!.
    Packaging around the the power unit is critical and if they have not signed a deal with Renault perhaps they have already looked at other units !.
    Either way whilst it’s better to have the test depending where their at- the benefit they derive maybe very minimal and change come Bahrain anyway. If your a Merc, Ferrari or Mclaren it’s diff ball game isn’t it. !

    1. deancassady says:

      Elie: I think there are two main streams of probability:
      a. they are confident that they have a technical innovation that will give them an advantage, but may be adopted by other teams, and is Jerez really that valuable a test? It’s not representative in layout, it was too cold to get very applicable tire data, last year, and perhaps the best thing that comes from it can be got from the other teams sharing, via motor and tire manufacturer; so it is maximal to opt out of the test>
      b. Lotus are in deep trouble, financially, any time they can buy, to raise the cash, is good, and makes their participation in the 2014 Formula of better viability.
      How come the fourth best team, better than McLaren in 2013, is struggling for sponsorship/financing?!?

      It would be interesting if it were case a., but let’s face it, it is case b., isn’t it?

      Yet I’m hoping for case a. !!!
      I think we both want the same driver to win 2014, don’t we? The best driver, and he’s not driving a Lotus for the 2014 championship.

      1. Elie says:

        Dean Its def the case that Jerez is not indicative, along with Lotus financial situation- without a doubt these go hand in hand. Thankfully these days it’s not as big a loss as you’d expect given the extra test .The big teams have brilliant simulation these days and whilst it’s always better to run than not..the gain is very minimal if it’s a) not on an indicative circuit in indicative conditions and b) the accuracy and simulation of your wind tunnel and factory operations. Lotus are good this way
        I have long wished that F1 teams would bring in solid budget controls and it’s absolutely true that it’s tragic we have such an innovative and competitive team – one of the longer serving ones in this situation. It’s great that the strategy group are seriously looking at this mid year. But it is very important that the framework is in place by mid next year ready for 2016 – because it won’t be an easy thing to do and will require many changes. Lets hope that something happens because even Mercedes won’t keep spending what they are now – Toto has already been quoted as saying his board don’t think the current levels are sustainable..bells are ringing!
        I have never/ will never be more impressed by the talents of a driver since Kimi joined. I like Lewis but he’s too emotional /inconsistent and no one has been or will ever be as accurate and consistently quick as Raikkonen. He never touches anyone even in impossible situations unless they move over on him and even then he still avoids. I just keep watching YouTube clips to pass these quiet times.I can’t help but want Ferrari to build a great car -only so that we see him at the very front …#mostreluctantferrarisupporter! Lol

      2. Bryce says:

        I think he could have quite easily avoided collision in his last race, but understand the lack of incentive to do so.

      3. Elie says:

        Not sure on that- Van De Guarde didnt see he him when he turned in & it was very lght contact.

      4. Elie says:

        Not sure on that- Van De Guarde didnt see him when he turned in & it was very lght contact evidenced by no damage to the Caterham

      5. deancassady says:

        Bryce: watch the replays again, very carefully, and report back if you still feel the same way.

      6. Bryce says:

        I have not had another look at it and could not be bothered to search for it. I clearly remember thinking to myself at the time, “come on Kimi, you’re better than that”, both as a driver and personality wise.

  36. Johnny Gat says:

    One of the contributing factors might be the cost of attending the first test. For a team that is having financial difficulties, the cost of dragging the team and equipment to Jerez could be more than they could spend?

    1. Tim says:

      Spending more money than they have doesn’t seem to be something that has caused Lotus too much heartache up to now ;-)

      1. Elie says:

        Yes but it had to start slowing / stopping somewhere.Lotus 2014 hashtag
        #thestrawthatbrokecamelsback

      2. Tim says:

        Absolutely, you can only draw water from a well for so long!. My guess is that Lotus gambled on overspending in the hope that it would attract more sponsorship and better results (ie more prize money). Time will tell if their gamble has failed :-(

      3. Elie says:

        Defintely Tim,- I reckon they were very close to succeeding with many new sponsors- everyone was talking Lotus. The minute they “burned” (pardon the pun) Kimi- they shot themselves in the foot and it was a downhill slide– it really was stupid how they handled themselves after mid year. He was their trump card and they played it completely wrong. They may still survive but it will be a while before they recover and theyve lost too many othet good people in the process.

  37. janis1207 says:

    Looks like cash flow trouble to me.
    It’s one thing they lost face falling for a schemer like Mansoor Ijaz and falling out with Kimi, but they also lost a lot of time which could have been used looking for other (serious) sponsors.
    Now they have found themselves with a badly damaged reputation and no money.
    Sure, they will scrap something together, but this takes time.
    So, it’s not so surprising they had no other option than to skip the first test.

  38. Warren G says:

    Not sure how true it is but I read in a forum that the Renault engine itself might not be ready in time, so Lotus might not be the only ones skipping the test.

    Seems odd though, Renault launched their engine ages ago, a long time before we heard anything else. Could they have found a last minute problem? Cooling seems to be a sensitive issue with both Fry and Lauda talking about it

    1. Random 79 says:

      They launched some pictures of it, but when the teams put the pictures in the cars they had some trouble getting them to fire up.

    2. Voodoopunk says:

      “Cooling seems to be a sensitive issue with both Fry and Lauda talking about it”

      Cause they would know?

  39. DB4Tim says:

    Kimi is sure looking smart right now, you know he has not been paid yet !

  40. Cedric says:

    This team is going from bad to worse, in hindsight I’m glad Nico didn’t sign up with them, what a bunch of clowns!
    Will be interesting to see what they come up with if the Renault deal falls apart

  41. ManOnWheels says:

    James is it true that José Gallego Segura (was head of aerodynamic design, wasn’t he?) has left Lotus for Porsche?

    James Allison, Dirk de Beer, Dave Weater, Robert Edwards, Rod Nelson, Mark Elliot – a lot of good people have left since the start of the last season. Seems like a huge brain drain at Lotus.

  42. Jodum5 says:

    THanks for the stats, James. But what’s your opinion?

  43. DK says:

    Funny if Kimi ended as part owner of the team !

    1. Random 79 says:

      So long as he owns the Lotus ice cream machine he’ll be happy :)

  44. Richard says:

    Well we all know what happend to Williams last year. Pretty sad for Romain, but Maldonation doesn’t deserve a good car. Only a matter of time before Pastor will accuse Lotus of sabotaging his car.

    1. Random 79 says:

      “Only a matter of time before Pastor will accuse Lotus of sabotaging his car”

      The only one who will be sabotaging Pastor’s Lotus will be Pastor himself ;)

  45. Mikeboy0001 says:

    Well, at least if this year I attend Jerez test as planned, I won’t have to see Maldonado’s face
    That’s surely a bonus!!!

  46. greg says:

    I’m not saying they can or can’t afford to go to Spain for the first test, but as costs go, Spain isn’t far and in scale of things its a drop in the ocean. I think they are behind in the build and have supplier issues from unpaid bills from last year.
    The owners are investors and they can’t sell something that isn’t functioning, so they will keep it going.

  47. Steve JR says:

    I believe this leaked spy shot taken from within the factory of the early winter prototype goes some way to explaining why they have had to miss the test:
    http://goo.gl/OFGcyL

    1. Random 79 says:

      Agreed – that ERS system doesn’t look like it meets the regulations at all :)

  48. clint says:

    Hey James,
    Could this be an attempt to conceal goodies on the car till its too late for copying and or lobbying?

  49. robert b says:

    I have no personal knowledge of what is going on with Lotus but one thing for sure is that the team’s finances are a disaster and the guys at Genni are a couple of clowns who have made of mess of things. They have sunk a boatload of their investor’s money into a proverbial black hole with no possible chance of getting it all back. These guys wanted to be part of the F1 show and made a bad investment that is cratering. The problem when you have negative “burn rate” is there is no real way out unless some greater fool steps in to temporarily stabilize them. F1 is a horrible business financially for all but the top teams and even the likes of Red Bull probably can’t really pay for their own way in real economic terms. I feel bad for the Enstone staff because they are a good group.

  50. Sebee says:

    The Gem engine spins at up to 46,000rpm (a MotoGP bike peaks at 15,000rpm), but it doesn’t need a gearbox – Toseland can just open the throttle and go.

    Read this today in the 400mph British motorcycle speed record attempt plans article.

    Anyone see the problem that caught my eye?

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