Lotus has confirmed that they will not be present at the first Formula One pre-season test at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain at the end of this month. Instead, the team is aiming to unleash its upcoming E22 challenger ahead of next month’s sessions at the Bahrain International Circuit.
“We’re going to keep our car under wraps a little longer than some other teams,” team technical director Nick Chester said on the Lotus web site this morning.
“We’ve decided that attending the Jerez test isn’t ideal for our build and development program. We are likely to unveil the car before attending the Bahrain tests, and in Bahrain, we should really be able to put the car through its paces in representative conditions.”
Chester reports that the E22 is almost ready for homologation, citing that the car has “made very good progress” through the process and has just a “nose test” to pass before it is ready to go. He also says that chassis fittings have been made for both of their 2014 drivers, Romain Grosjean and newcomer Pastor Maldonado.
“Certainly, our partners who have seen the car have reported themselves to be very impressed with the layout and various solutions to the new technical challenges,” Chester said.
However, while insisting that development on the E22 has been positive so far, he said that Lotus is working with “very little idea” of what their competitors have in mind for 2014.
“This is the first year of radically different regulations which means that all teams are developing their cars along potentially quite different avenues,” he said. “It’s fascinating for us engineers and I hope it is fascinating for the fans too.
“We think we have a very good solution to the challenge and hopefully this will be seen when the E22 turns its wheels in anger.”
As a result of Lotus’ decision to skip Jerez (Jan. 28-Feb. 1), the E22 will have just eight days of on-track running prior to the start of the 2014 season in mid-March at Australia. The Bahrain tests run from Feb. 19-22 and Feb. 27-March 2.
However, the fact that Lotus is opting out of Jerez may not be all that surprising; the team reportedly asked last month that this particular test be delayed by a week.