Interview with Lotus' Nick Chester
6 January 2014 – Lotus F1 team technical director, Nick Chester gives an insight into the development of the E22 as the countdown to the first race of F1 2014 in Australia in March continues...
Nick, how is Enstone placed heading into the 2014 season?
Our E22 development programme has been ongoing for over two years and it has been illuminating watching it grow. The backbone of Enstone is strong and we are relishing the challenge of the new season ahead.
How is progress with the E22?
From our perspective the figures look promising and development has been positive. That said, we are very much working with very little idea of what the other teams are doing. This is the first year of radically different regulations which means that all teams are developing their cars along potentially quite different avenues. It’s fascinating for us engineers and I hope it is fascinating for the fans too. We think we have a very good solution to the challenge and hopefully this will be seen when the E22 turns its wheels in anger.
Although the regulations are different, are there good lessons which can be carried over from the E21?
Yes, and I think we can still reflect on what a good car the E21 was as it finished the season still looking particularly competitive, and it was the only car able to get close to the Red Bull. There are certain concepts from the E21 which are still valid for the E22, but in particular our development methodology and synchronisation with our various simulations is especially relevant and promising.
How close is the E22 to completion?
We’ve made very good progress with the various homologation tests which took place before Christmas including chassis squeeze and side impact loading tests as well as the rear crash structure, meaning we just have the nose test to complete the car’s homologation. We’ve undertaken chassis fits for Romain [Grosjean] and Pastor [Maldonado]. Certainly, our partners who have seen the car have reported themselves to be very impressed with the layout and various solutions to the new technical challenges.
When are we likely to see the E22?
We’re going to keep our car under wraps a little longer than some other teams. We’ve decided that attending the Jerez test isn’t ideal for our build and development programme. We are likely to unveil the car before attending the Bahrain tests, and in Bahrain we should really be able to put the car through its paces in representative conditions.