17G impact with curb cause of Maldonado’s Spa retirement

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Lotus technical director Nick Chester has revealed that a 17G impact with the curb at Eau Rouge caused Pastor Maldonado to retire from last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Maldonado was forced to retire from the race after just three laps when his Lotus E23 Hybrid shut down.

The Venezuelan driver had been chasing his third points finish of the season at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps from seventh on the grid, but was eventually resigned to his sixth retirement of the year.

Ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, Chester revealed that Maldonado’s car had in fact sustained a 17G impact on the curb at Eau Rouge, causing his car to shut off.

“We are still checking all the parts but he had a big excursion at Eau Rouge and hit some curbs very hard which gave the chassis a 17G impact,” Chester said.

“That looks to have effectively knocked the power off the car and although he managed to get the power back on, it looks like we might have damaged the clutch control valve.”

Chester was full of praise for Romain Grosjean, who led Lotus to its first podium finish since the 2013 United States Grand Prix by finishing third at Spa.

“He drove incredibly well,” Chester said. “His qualifying lap was brilliant – it was disappointing to get the gearbox penalty which in the end didn’t affect us as he drove such a good race.

“Romain didn’t have the easiest of weekends as he missed FP1 and then had stoppage time in FP2. Still, he was incredibly positive all weekend.

“His management of the race was excellent looking after the tires when he needed to and then pushed when he had to push. Everything was perfect.”