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Lotus pulls out of F1 test

2012-02-22 09:10

MECHANICAL WOES: Kimi Raikkonen had to end his test run in Spain after his Lotus suffered chassis issues.


BARCELONA, Spain - Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus team pulled out of the second pre-season Formula 1 test near Barcelona after a problem with their new car.

The former Renault team had earlier halted its involvement in the first day of the session at the Catalunya circuit after Romain Grosjean had completed only seven laps in the second chassis.

Lotus said it would return the car to the factory in Britain and replace it with the first chassis used in Jerez in January 2012 when returning 2007 champion Raikkonen was fastest on the first day - but that plan was later abandoned.


Technical director James Allison said the team had run simulations at the factory based on data provided from Tuesday's few laps and had identified the fix. "It will be more productive for us to carry out these modifications to both chassis at Enstone (the factory) rather than send (car) E20-01 out to this week's test

"We'll put the right measures in place and will fix the problem before next week."

The second pre-season test will run until February 24; the third and final round will start the following week at the same circuit. The 2012 season will start in Australia on March 18.

Team principal Eric Boullier said it had been a tough decision.

Boullier said: "We draw faith from the fact that the E20 was quick out of the box in Jerez and showed its reliability there. We have a lot of work ahead of us over the next week but everyone at Enstone is ready for this challenge."


Red Bull's double World champion Sebastian Vettel was fastest overall, Nico Hulkenberg second on the timing screens for Force India and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton third.

Vettel said: "It's difficult to judge where we are compared with the others. It's all based on feeling and the feeling I have inside the car at the moment is fine."

Daniel Ricciardo was fourth for Toro Rosso, ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and seven-times champion Michael Schumacher in a new Mercedes presented to the world that morning.

Schumacher said: "My initial feelings with our new car are certainly good. It's certainly an improvement and we have worked hard on the areas we had defined last year."

Charles Pic completed the most laps, 121, in the 2011 Virgin for what is now the Marussia team. The team missed the Jerez test and plans to launch its new car at the final test on March 1.


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