E23 Hybrid car ‘a great basis’ for Lotus in 2015

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Lotus technical director Nick Chester believes that there is plenty more to come from the team in 2015 thanks to the strong basis provided by the new E23 Hybrid car.

Following a torrid 2014 F1 season that yielded just eight points, Lotus opted to overhaul its car for the new season, bringing Mercedes on board as an engine supplier to help turn its fortunes around.

The team made a promising start to the year in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix as both Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado secured top-ten grid slots, suggesting that its pre-season pace had been genuine.

Ultimately, last Sunday’s race came to an abrupt end for Lotus as both drivers were forced to retire on the first lap, but Chester remained upbeat about the team’s performance.

“We are reasonably happy,” Chester said. “We look like we could be regular Q3 contenders but there is more that we want to be doing such as closing the gap to Williams and moving away more from the group behind us. There is more to do!

“It’s a brand new car and there is quite a lot of aero development work to do. We will be pushing developments all through the year for it. We are happy as we have a good platform to work from.

“The drivers enjoy driving the E23. They find it is a consistent car they are able to push to the limit quite well. It’s great to have this basis to work from as it means that we can focus on adding performance.”

Grosjean and Maldonado will be hoping to hit back at next Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix with a strong display, and if they can survive beyond lap one at Sepang, both will stand a good chance of finishing inside the points.