Lotus undecided over use of passive DRS device

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Lotus trackside operations director Alan Permane has revealed that the decision has not yet been taken on whether or not to use the passive DRS device in Belgium.

The device, nicknamed DDRS (double DRS) works by altering the air flow when the car is moving in a straight line. By reducing drag, a greater top speed is achievable – something that could prove invaluable at Spa next weekend. However, Permane is still undecided over the use of the device.

“We haven’t made a final decision yet as to whether the device will be deployed, but we’ve been conducting a lot of simulation work with the concept to help clarify that decision and there’s a good chance we’ll see it make an appearance,” he explained.

Permane is also confident that the team can come to Spa with the same pace that allowed Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean to finish the first half of the season with a string of good results.

“We’ve got several updates coming up – both mechanical and aerodynamic – so we’re confident of making another step forward.”

The team is currently enjoying a strong season, and although Kimi Raikkonen is championship leader Sebastian Vettel’s closest challenger, the Finn is in need of victories in the second half of the season, having claimed just a single win so far this year in Australia.

Fernando Alonso completes first test with United Autosports

Photo: United Autosports
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Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.

The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.

“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.

Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”

Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.

“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.

Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.