Lotus F1 Team technical director Nick Chester is confident that the team can learn from its mistakes in 2014 to bounce back next season and recover from this year’s slump.
After fighting at the front of the field for the past two championships, the British team has struggled this season to make much of an impact in F1. Romain Grosjean has scored all eight of its points, while teammate Pastor Maldonado is yet to finish any higher than 12th since his move from Williams.
Chester admitted in an interview with the official F1 website that missing the first pre-season test in Spain did harm the team, and although he believes that the gap has been caught up, there are still lessons to be learned for 2015.
“I think [attending the test] would have helped with some of the reliability problems,” he said. “There were some things we found in the second and third tests that we might have found had we been present in the first. So we lost some time there, and that made things tricky.
“That has been caught up by now, but obviously you’ve lost some development time because you’ve been fighting other problems.”
The seismic change in the technical regulations came at a bad time for Lotus, as the team hit financial difficulties towards the end of last season. However, Chester is confident that 2015 will be a very different story, with Maldonado’s backing going a long way to keeping the team above water.
“We had an awful lot of unknowns coming into 2014,” he said. “There were some things we were really worried about that turned out not to be problems, and then some things we hadn’t expected at all.
“So there was an awful lot of learning, and the early testing was really hard work, the hardest we have had with a new car since I have been at Enstone.
“There were whole systems on the car that we just had very little of experience of. But we learnt an awful lot from it.”
The team will be hoping to make a good start to the final stretch of the season in Belgium next weekend, with the target now being seventh in the constructors’ championship ahead of Toro Rosso.