Lotus boss expects more teams to miss first F1 test
LONDON (Reuters) - Lotus will not be the only team to miss Formula One's first pre-season test in Spain this month, principal Eric Boullier said on Thursday.
Lotus, who finished fourth overall last year despite financial difficulties, announced this week that they would skip the Jerez test starting on January 28 because their car would not be ready in time.
Boullier told the BBC that the decision not to attend was no cause for concern.
"Everything is fine here. Lotus will be on the grid this year and for a long time," said the Frenchman. "You will see, we will not be the only team not being in Jerez. I know this for a fact already.
"We already said a month ago that it (getting the car finished for Jerez) is going to be tight. Actually most of the teams agreed it was going to be tight. Then it was a decision we took," added Boullier.
"It is true the car will not be ready on time, but we will be ready shortly after that - and in some ways, it is not bad because we will have time to watch what the others are doing and nobody will be able to watch what we are doing."
The first 2014 test is seen as particularly important, with teams working with a new V6 turbo engine with energy recovery systems and only three four-day tests available before the season starts in Australia in March.
Reliability is always a concern with a new engine and Jerez will be the first opportunity to assess development and see what gremlins there may be.
The other two tests are scheduled for Bahrain, where conditions will be far hotter and more consistent but where the teams will be much further away from their factories if they need urgent spares.
"We took the decision bearing in mind we would miss a third of the testing, so we have to focus on doing things a little bit differently to make sure we do not lose too much," said Boullier.
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.
McLaren are due to launch their new car online on the Friday before testing while Mercedes and Caterham have said theirs will be presented on the first day at Jerez.
Sauber driver Adrian Sutil told Reuters on Wednesday that he would be testing in Jerez with his Swiss team, who also had financial woes last year that threatened their future.
"I'm not sure who is in for the first day but I will definitely be at the test," said the German.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Justin Palmer)