LONDON (Reuters) - Lotus are confident next week’s second pre-season test in Barcelona will see no repeat of the failure that halted the Formula One team’s efforts at the Spanish track a year ago.
Then, as this year, Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean had looked quick in the first test in Jerez only for an unexpected problem with the chassis to surface when they got to the Circuit de Catalunya.
The team had to pull out of that 2012 test and return to the factory after Grosjean had done seven laps.
“We had a problem last year because we designed a single joint poorly. We had created a suspension mounting which was capable of withstanding the loads if it had been made absolutely perfectly,” technical director James Allison explained on the team’s website (www.lotusf1team.com) on Monday.
“However, that style of joint was very difficult to make accurately enough to get repeatable performance from each chassis.”
The joint on the chassis used in Jerez last year was fine but the one on the second car taken to Barcelona was slightly different and failed.
“Once we realized our error we redesigned the joint,” said Allison. “On the (new) E21 (car) we’ve paid particular attention to this area so we’re not expecting any repeat dramas.”
Lotus were quickest with Grosjean and Raikkonen on Wednesday and Friday respectively in Jerez last week. Raikkonen, third overall in the championship last season, had been quickest on day one at the southern Spanish circuit last year.
Allison said the new car looked both competitive and reliable.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, Editing by Clare Fallon