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Lotus missing, noses stir Jerez interest

2015-02-02 08:35

RED BULL IN DISGUISE: Daniel Ricciardo tests Red Bull's camouflaged racer during 2015 F1 Testing at the Jerez circuit, Spain. Image: AP / Miguel Morenatti

JEREZ, Spain - Only seven teams were present for the first day of official pre-season testing at Jerez, Spain.

Missing altogether were struggling tailenders Caterham and Marussia, as well as Force India, amid speculation of similar financial trouble but also not running on Sunday (Feb 1) was Lotus.

Reports had suggested not only Lotus but also Red Bull could sit out the opening day of running.

‘PUSHING TO THE LIMIT’

Red Bull ultimately got going, revealing the striking zebra-like espionage-proof test livery on the RB11 after the chassis passed the International Automomobile Federation's mandatory crash tests at the 11th hour.

Team boss Christian Horner confirmed: "We've been pushing to the limit as usual. If you're not on the limit you're not trying hard enough.

It's believed Red Bull's near-delay could be related to the new car nose regulations. The federation tweaked the rules for 2015 to do away with the ugly ant eater-style solutions of 2014 but the change posed a headache for teams, with one logical solution being a long nose like the new Ferrari  and McLaren, and the other a shorter-style design like Mercedes.

Williams, for instance, went the Mercedes route, adding a conspicuous bulge at the tip of the short nose, ostensibly to pass the tough crash tests.

Team chief Rob Smedley told Auto Motor und Sport he was surprised when he saw rival teams launching long-nosed cars.

Smedley said: "I can't believe that they have recovered the old levels of downforce. We tried and we could only get where we needed to be with a short nose."

It appears other teams may have discovered the ideal solution too late - perhaps like the absent-at-Jerez Lotus.
The nearly-late but hugely resourced Red Bull, meanwhile, made it to Jerez but reportedly only with a temporary solution at the very tip of the camouflaged short nose.

A final, Melbourne-spec solution, may only be ready after another crash test.

F1 NOSE JOBS

Auto Motor and Sport predicted a busy forthcoming period for crash-testing, with teams queuing at the door for revised nose solutions to be rubber-stamped.

F1 correspondent Michael Schmidt claimed: "McLaren and Ferrari are planning short noses. They are testing long noses (at Jerez) because passing the crash tests with them was a formality."

Lotus, declared: "E23 is in the air on its way to Jerez after firing up in Enstone (England) yesterday, arrival expected later today."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 F1 season – fresh reports every day.

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