Lotus ends testing in barriers

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F1 Test, Barcelona, Circuit de Catalunyaes

Lotus F1 Team ended the final day of pre-season testing early after a systems issue compromised Pastor Maldonado’s braking into turn four resulting in him making contact with the barriers.

Maldonado had previously completed 36 laps, mainly of aero and comparison work. With the E23 Hybrid requiring a reasonable amount of rectification work for the damage sustained to the front wing and front suspension, the team opted to end the day’s running early. Pastor’s best time from the morning assessment was 1min 28.272secs.

After the team's focus on aero assessments including back to back aero component evaluations, the crash ended pre-season testing for Lotus, having completed 36 laps today and 917 laps in total during the 12 days of pre-season testing.

“It was a shame to end the day early, but that was the only issue we’ve had like this during testing so we can look to the positive that we have a lot of information to take the car in the right direction", Maldonado commented.

"My braking was compromised coming into turn four, meaning I went off the track and hit the barriers. I was able to brake and slow, just not as much as the maximum otherwise possible. The car was not too badly damaged and I am fine, but it’s a shame we had this issue as we would have been looking at running the softer tyres in the afternoon and putting in some fast laps. I’m looking forward to getting back in the car in Melbourne as I think we have good potential this season.”

Nick Chester, the team's technical director confirmed a rare technical issue on the E23-02 chassis.

“Certainly ending the final pre-season test in the barriers was not part of our game plan, but overall we’ve had a productive two weeks here in Barcelona following on from our initial outing in Jerez", he said.

"Pastor was unfortunate to have a braking-related issue which meant he wasn’t able to slow sufficiently into turn four and the car was damaged. There was nothing Pastor or any driver could have done to avoid this accident which was systems related and we’re investigating thoroughly to ensure it doesn’t happen again. We now have a quick turn-around to get the car back to Enstone, then shipped out to Australia at the end of the week. It was a pity we weren’t able to run any low fuel laps later in the day. We are looking forward to Melbourne where we will get a full picture of the relative pace of the E23. ”

The team is now off to the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne’s Albert Park Circuit on March 13-15.