Lotus are heading to next weekend’s German Grand Prix around the Hockenheimring full of optimism, with several upgrades planned to be introduced to the team’s 2014 car – the E22.
These upgrades, which include a new front-wing, as well as minor bodywork improvements come on the back of another frustrating weekend for the Enstone-based outfit at Silverstone, which once agin yielded no points for the team.
However, after the two-day test at Silverstone following the British Grand Prix, Lotus are hopeful that further steps forward can be obtained with the planned introduction of upgrades.
Despite enjoying a competitive season last year which included numerous podium finishes and a victory at Australia, the Enstone-based outfit have entered the new Formula One season on the back foot, encountering a whole host of mechanical gremlins throughout the first half of the new season, onset by the team’s delayed launch of its 2014 car.
Although Romain Grosjean has managed to finish within the points on two occasions at Spain and Monaco, team-mate Pastor Maldonado is yet to qualify higher than 13th and has retired from four out of the nine races as well as failing to start the Monaco Grand Prix, all due to mechanical issues.
However, with improvements scheduled for the front-wing and cooling of the E22, Lotus are optimistic of improving within the midfield according to their technical director Nick Chester.
“Our development schedule is continuing at full pace,” Chester told the Official Formula One website. “We will have a new front wing, which is a decent improvement, a cooling upgrade and some smaller bodywork updates to increase downforce. Between what we have learnt in the Silverstone test and these upgrades, we hope to make a good step forward.”
“[Hockenheim is] quite a mixed track with a couple of long straights and a medium-speed final section. Two of the straights are also linked by a medium to high-speed corner, which is good for us, as is having soft and supersoft tyres for this circuit.”
Whilst the team will be looking to see both Grosjean and Maldonado reach the checkered flag at Hockenheim next weekend, preferably both within the points, the Frenchman in particular has stressed a necessity for Lotus to improve their qualifying pace.
So far this season Maldonado has failed to reach the top ten shootout, with Grosjean only doing so on two occasions at China and Spain.
With inclement weather conditions already forecast for the German Grand Prix weekend, Grosjean is hopeful that the car will once again handle well in the damp conditions as it did last time out at Silverstone.
“We can’t afford to give our rivals a head-start,” insists Grosjean. “A top ten grid place will be the first target for Hockenheim.”
“The weather played a part in the Silverstone weekend, just as it did at Hockenheim in 2012, so we’ll need to stay on our toes.
“I think as a team we have more to gain than lose from any weather changes so we should view them as an opportunity – the E22 seemed to like the damp conditions at Silverstone.”
With the likes of Marussia visibly improving throughout the first half of the new season, Lotus are unquestionably in desperate need to find vital improvements for their car.
With Lotus currently only six points ahead of the Anglo-Russian outfit in the Constructors’ Championship and Jules Bianchi stating that Marussia only need to find several more tenths to be on a par with the likes of Lotus and Sauber, a substantial step forward will be a necessity for the Enstone-based outfit as they strive to continue eradicating their technical gremlins and improving towards the back of the midfield.
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