The Lotus F1 Team has given its new E22 challenger its first on-track running, completing a ‘promotional’ filming day at Jerez last weekend before the crew heads to Bahrain for the second and third pre-season tests.
And already the new car – which sports a unique ‘manta ray’ nose design – managed to complete more mileage than reigning champions Red Bull Racing managed for the entire opening pre-season test in early February.
Lotus was the only team absent from the first pre-season test at Jerez, and given the multitude of issues its fellow Renault runners had, it’s a decision unlikely to have cost the team too much in its pre-season preparations.
Promotional filming days limit cars to 100 kilometres of running, which equates to 22 laps of the Spanish circuit. Red Bull Racing’s RB10 managed just 21 – largely smoky – laps on its maiden outing, with the car’s Renault engine beset by cooling and power delivery problems.
The team’s new signing, Pastor Maldonado, was given the first laps of the new car, with much of the filming no doubt dedicated towards the Venezuelan’s sponsor, PDVSA, which is injecting around $40 million a year for major branding on the new car.
“We finished our running before 4pm on Saturday (due to the mileage restrictions imposed on a promotional event),” a team spokesperson confirmed.
“Both the chassis and the new Renault power unit ran without any major problems.
“Pastor settled in very quickly and is already fitting into the team nicely. The car went together well and the design and build quality is another step up on the successful E21 of 2013.
“We are now looking forward to a full testing program in Bahrain next week where we will start to see the potential of the new package.”
The news of the Renault engine’s seemingly improved reliability will no doubt be welcomed by the other three Renault teams: Red Bull Racing, Toro Rosso and Caterham.
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