Lotus’ new E22 chassis, which has taken a really unique look at the regulations when it comes to its nose design with a “twin-tusk” layout, has finally taken to the track for the first time in an official session Wednesday at Bahrain.
Romain Grosjean was behind the wheel for what the team called “a small smattering of laps.” Teammate Pastor Maldonado, who ran the car in a filming shakedown at Jerez last week, will be in the car later this week.
The Renault-powered teams are up against it this week in Bahrain, as they seek to fix some reliability issues that cropped up in the official Jerez test at the end of January.
By skipping the Jerez test, Lotus had more time to work on its package in the Enstone factory. The question this week is what kind of issues, if any, will crop up during the week here.
More to follow later today.
On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.
And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.
Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.
The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.
“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.
“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”
A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.