Car failure not the cause of Grosjean’s Sochi crash

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Lotus technical director Nick Chester has confirmed that Romain Grosjean’s crash during last weekend’s Russian Grand Prix was not the result of a mechanical failure on his car.

In the early stages of last Sunday’s race at the Sochi Autodrom, Grosjean lost control at the high-speed turn three before slamming into the barrier and wrecking much of his car.

Remarkably, Grosjean walked away from the shunt unharmed, although the impact did break his seat and leave the Lotus mechanics with plenty of repairs to carry out.

Chester confirmed that the crash was not the result of anything breaking or not working on the Lotus E23 Hybrid, instead suggesting that it may have been caused by a lack of downforce for Grosjean when running closely behind McLaren’s Jenson Button.

“There is no indication in the data and in the parts that anything broke and subsequently caused the accident,” Chester stated.

“It isn’t easy to draw conclusions in any accident investigation but it looks like Romain was maybe a little bit close to the McLaren and lost some downforce, running out of grip effectively. There is nothing that we can see that makes it a car failure.”

Chester admitted that there was a large amount of damage to the Lotus car, but is confident that the team can put it back together ahead of next weekend’s race in Austin, Texas.

“It is quite significant but still the car stood up well to the impact,” Chester said. “The right hand side of the car suffered the damage – front and rear suspension right hand side, the nose, the rear wing, crash structure. We haven’t seen anything however that should stop us getting the car back together.

“Any work that needs carrying out on the cars is done at the track now until Abu Dhabi; this means that the mechanics will be busy in Austin rebuilding Romain’s chassis.”