sport

Lotus not expecting 'dramas'

Lotus technical director James Allison is confident there will be no repeat of the issues that blighted the team in testing a year ago.

The Enstone-based marque enjoyed a successful first test in Jerez last week, with Romain Grosjean quickest on Wednesday and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen fastest two days later.

It was a similar story last year when Lotus emerged from the opening test looking strong.

However, a major failure occurred on the car on the first day of the second test, forcing them to sit out the remainder of the week in Barcelona as the car underwent repairs.

Ahead of next week's second test at the Circuit de Catalunya, Allison is content enough that last year's woes will be avoided.

"We had a problem last year because we designed a single joint poorly," said Allison.

"We had created a suspension mounting which was capable of withstanding the loads if it had been made absolutely perfectly.

"However, that style of joint was very difficult to make accurately enough to get repeatable performance from each chassis.

"We ran chassis number one at Jerez and the suspension joint in the chassis was good enough to cope with the loads.

"We ran chassis number two at Barcelona and the joint in that one was made just a whisker differently. It was not capable of taking the loads and so failed instantly.

"Once we realised our error we redesigned the joint so the glue lines were capable of delivering the required strength without any scatter from chassis to chassis.

"On the E21 (this year's car) we've paid particular attention to this area so we're not expecting any repeat dramas."

Instead, Allison concedes the team heads to Barcelona in "high spirits", believing the car to be both "competitive and reasonably reliable".

With the opening race of the season in Melbourne now less than five weeks away, it is a case of building on that.

Speaking on the team's official website, Allison added: "The main thrust of activity between now and Melbourne is to build up the quantity of stock so we can go racing.

"We used just one chassis in Jerez, but in a month's time we need to have four tubs ready to go.

"Gearboxes, suspension, bodywork and thousands of small parts all need to be made to allow us to commence the racing campaign.

"At the same time we will be furiously building a crucial set of Melbourne performance upgrades to allow us to stay competitive.

"While the factory sweats to get this work completed, the travelling component of the team will plan and execute the remaining two tests.

"They will push the car as hard as they can to make sure we have amplified its strengths and minimised its weaknesses before we have to use it in anger."