Lotus’ decision to skip the first Formula One preseason test later this month at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain has had observers wondering if it will wind up costing them when the season gets underway in March.
New Sauber driver Adrian Sutil thinks that could be the case. In an interview with Reuters, the German competitor said that Lotus will be on the back foot going into 2014 as a result of their absence from Jerez.
Echoing Sauber’s stance on the preseason tests, Sutil told Reuters’ Alan Baldwin: “I think real testing at the moment is what we need and not simulator work, because you can’t simulate everything. In the end you need to go on the circuit and see how it goes.
Sutil then added: “[Jerez] is a very important test and we don’t have much so I think it’s clear that it will be a disadvantage for Lotus. But who knows why they decided it? I would say it is definitely not good.”
This year is a critical one for the sport as it introduces a variety of technical regulations that include new turbo-charged engines and energy recovery systems.
The preseason will be massively critical for teams, who are looking to gather as much data as they can and work out any issues that may arise with the new equipment as well.
But Lotus technical director Nick Chester said Monday that his squad would not attend the Jerez test (which runs from Jan. 28 to Feb. 1), saying that it “isn’t ideal for [the team’s] build and development program.”
He also noted that the E22 chassis was close to completing its homologation process and that drivers Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado have received chassis fittings. Earlier today, the team posted a tease picture of parts designated for the E22 on Twitter.