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Lotus opt to miss Jerez but how crucial is missing the first pre-season test?
Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Jan 2014   |  7:09 pm GMT  |  173 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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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?


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.


Hey James,

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


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:



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


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.


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!!!


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.


“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 😉


Funny if Kimi ended as part owner of the team !


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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

Cause they would know?


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.


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.


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?


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


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



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.


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 🙁


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. !


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.


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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



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


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.


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


My mistake, Jerez not Catalunya.


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?


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


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


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


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….


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!?!


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

Disclaimer: No prizes to the winner…sorry 🙁


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? 🙂



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!!! 😀


Kimi sure looks smart right now 🙂


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.


“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…


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.


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


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!!!


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.

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