Romain Grosjean has conceded that Lotus are behind schedule ahead of the new Formula 1 season, and that due to the nature of the technical regulations this year, it may take another month before they are finally ready.
The seismic change in the technical regulations has put enormous amounts of pressure on the design teams in the sport. Most notably, world champions Red Bull have struggled to adapt during the winter testing period. Despite having few problems in Bahrain, Lotus missed the opening test in Jerez, immediately putting the team behind schedule. Now, Grosjean has admitted that it is taking longer than expected to prepare for the 2014 season.
“The problem this year is that when you break something it takes between two and three hours to solve the problem, so if you have three issues in a day that’s the end of the day,” Grosjean explained to journalists in Bahrain on Saturday.
“In terms of preparation we are not quite yet ready.”
Like many drivers, Grosjean is focusing on merely finishing the opening round of the season in Australia (live on NBCSN on March 16) before the E22 car can really be put to good use.
“It’s not going to be perfect for Melbourne, and probably not for Malaysia, but we will do our best and try to do things as good as we can do them to steadily improve everything.
“The list is too long to have ticked everything before Melbourne, and in Melbourne we won’t have time to get everything we would like to.
“At the moment this is the situation and the best we can do is take the most serious one, put that right and then finalize the thing. It’s not going to be an easy first few races I guess.”
Grosjean enjoyed a successful second half of the 2013 F1 season, but he will be hard-pressed to carry this form over into the first few rounds of the coming year. Given that both Lotus and engine supplier Renault are behind schedule, it might be a case of ‘damage limitation’ for the Frenchman to begin with this year.
However, most drivers and teams are in the same position; the drastic changes made to the technical regulations are set to shake-up the pecking order and perhaps give teams such as Williams and Force India a chance to battle for podiums and race wins in 2014.