Lotus defends decision to miss first test
15 January 2014 – Lotus team owner Gérard Lopez has played down the outfit's decision to skip the first pre-season gathering of the year at the Circuito de Jerez, arguing that "the first real test" will take place in Bahrain.
With major regulation changes coming into play, spearheaded by the introduction of turbocharged 1.6-litre V6 powertrains, most teams are expected to be present at Jerez in an attempt to learn as much as possible.
But Lotus has opted to delay its on-track debut until the subsequent Bahrain outings, claiming that it will still be able to learn about one of the most important elements, the engine, while continuing to develop its car.
"The engine will be tested by Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Caterham," Lopez told Auto Motor und Sport. "The findings will also benefit us. Everything that Renault changes for the Bahrain test will also be on our car.
"The transmission is developed by us, so we can react quickly if something goes wrong. The only area we will be lacking is the electronics; how the KERS charges and is being used. But that will not be the end of the world.
"The biggest issue you can have at Jerez is the engine. We will see how that goes with the other Renault teams."
Lopez added that factors such as tyre degradation and engine cooling will not be representative during the Jerez test, given the traditionally cool temperatures and the unique tarmac coating at the Spanish venue.
"We could come to Jerez with 15 or 16 degree temperatures," he added. "What will you learn here about the tyres and cooling? Let us fly directly to Bahrain. At Jerez you can test for Silverstone, nothing else.
"The first real test will be held in Bahrain. Before that, we can find more lap time at the factory. We briefly considered to go [to the Jerez test] with an older car for the tyres, but the engineers advised against it.
"Jerez has such a special track coating that you cannot learn much. This is time thrown away."