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Lotus leaves Barcelona test early due to chassis issues
Lotus will not run on the final three days of the first Barcelona test after discovering a problem with the chassis at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Romain Grosjean had completed just seven laps on Tuesday when an issue became apparent and caused the team to stop running for the day. Lotus originally planned to swap the brand-new but faulty E20-02 chassis with the E20-01 used at Jerez, but then decided that work needed to be carried out on both. As a truck left the paddock for Enstone a team spokesperson confirmed to ESPNF1 that it had decided to sacrifice the remaining three days of the test to get both chassis fully working for the final test next week.
Technical director James Allison said that the decision was taken after the team found areas on the car where further work was required.
"Before we were due to fly chassis E20-01 out to Barcelona in replacement of chassis E20-02 - damaged this morning - we ran a series of simulations at the factory based on the data provided by our brief running on track today," he said. "As a result, we were able to identify an area which requires some additional work. It will be more productive for us to carry out these modifications to both chassis at Enstone rather than send E20-01 out to this week's test. We'll put the right measures in place and we will be able to fix the problem before next week."
Eric Boullier remains confident that the team will be able to recover from the setback due to the performance shown at Jerez.
"Not running this week has been a tough decision to take, but we feel that our choice is the right one," Boullier said. "On the positive side, we have quickly identified the issue with the chassis and our design office has already devised a solution. We will be present at next week's test in Barcelona. We draw faith from the fact that the E20 was quick out of the box in Jerez and showed its reliability there. We have a lot of work ahead of us over the next week but everyone at Enstone is ready for this challenge."
The final test also takes place in Barcelona next week, but having set the fastest time of the 2012 cars at the Jerez test, Lotus is now left with just four days to complete its testing programme before the first race weekend in Australia.