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Lotus F1 announced earlier this week that they would not be participating in the upcoming test session in Jerez on January 28th. Team boss Eric Boullier has added to the announcement telling the BBC’s Andrew Benson:

“It is true the car will not be ready on time, but we will be ready shortly after that – and in some ways, it is not bad because we will have time to watch what the others are doing and nobody will be able to watch what we are doing.”

Fair enough but that isn’t exactly how Lotus F1 originally put it. They merely said that the test didn’t favor their build or development but it is now understood that the car, quite simply, won’t be ready to run.

There is no foul in that as many of the teams have very tight schedules to create a working car for the first grand prix but I do find it odd given that most of the press in 2013 was centered on the notion that the teams have all been working on the 2014 spec car for two years. No doubt they didn’t want to appear as being behind the 8ball on the new car but with the massive regulation changes set for 2014, it’s hard to imagine any team having their new challenger fully sussed and ready to go by January 28th. In fact, Boullier says they won’t.

“You will see, we will not be the only team not being in Jerez (the first test in southern Spain),” he said. “I know this for a fact already.”

Can we expect Sauber, Marussia, Caterham and possibly Williams F1 to follow suit? Could the test boil down to Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes and Toro Rosso?

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Actually it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Red Bull is one of the teams that pass on the test. They’ve done it before to give Newey more time with the car and I’d say it worked out pretty well for them.

  • Mansell’s_Stache

    Caterham confirmed Wednesday they will be there. Lotus appears to be struggling…Kimi made the right move. And, with Maldonardo on board I can longer proudly wear my Lotus F1 hat :(…thing was like $50!

    • dude

      lol, you paid $50 for a hat.

  • Jack Flash (Aust)

    It doesn’t really matter how much of a head-start any of the F1 teams got into their 2014 design programs. The conceptual designs, aero-form models, chassis design, parts designs, power-unit packaging optional design, cooling optional designs, etc. are all “fluid and evolving” right up to the very last possible minute – prior to PRODUCTION commitment deadlines. Every ‘bleeding edge’ industry works like that. Formula 1 is no different.

    Those production deadlines are set by the capacity of the Teams own production facilities (minimum lead time to make/test/verify), their supplier lead-times for the same reasons, and the chassis certification and homologation (Grace’s favourite word… he he..) to be granted place on the Australian 2014 GP Friday first free practice session. FIA sanctioned Test Days prior are logistic trade-offs between track test validation of a prototype car, and the opportunity to invest more energy in developing a more evolved prototype for the following Test Days. They want to use the absolute latest design elements produced at the absolute latest timeline they can afford, to leverage a best product into the competitive market (read F1 2014 season here in this case).

    Every F1 Team ‘plays chicken’ with the timeline, and gambles when to commit their paper designs and prototype elements into a fully functional rolling chassis for Track testing. It is impossible to know from the outside of the business, whether Lotus-Renault F1 is playing their hand the way they want to, or if their hand is being altered by financial or other constraints. I’d be more worried actually if they had a car sitting there certified and homologated and ready for Track Testing in a transit box. That would show they were no longer in the ‘bleeding edge’ race. Jack Flash.

    • danfgough

      Everything you wrote is true, Jack and the cars will rapidly evolve this year, but whether it is for the chassis, the engine tyres or whatever, there is no substitute for on track testing. This is surely doubly true when you have so many new elements to understand and stress test. Even if the temperatures at Jerez are terrible they could road test their ERS, engine, transmission etc and get some baseline aero numbers for correlation.

      Surely the test days in 2014 are a vital part of that timeline. Every mile less running done by a team will hurt them.

  • Rapierman

    Just out of curiosity, why would anyone go to Jerez? Isn’t that track less than ideal, especially under wintry conditions?

    • F1fletch

      Well for one, it is a test track they all have used in the past (countless times) and have data to compare against. The first tests are rarely perfect conditions and I for one don’t buy the whole “it will be too cold to gather any really valuable data”. A car actually working on the track, cold or not, wet or not gives data. Data they just can’t replicate on simulators. No one would argue that larger tracks in warmer conditions give the best testing but cmon guys do you really want to wait until the 2nd or 3rd tests to shake down a brand new vehicle. Any team missing the first test in my opinion loses a little bit to the others (pick a percenbtage).

      Unlike past years where the cars were quite similar in the regs and some people sandbagged anyway, this first test is the most important in MANY years. It really is a whole new ball game….

      Fletch

  • danfgough

    The ‘Nothing to see here’ press story earlier in the week is what worries me about this for Lotus. Boulier has just said that it is because the car isn’t ready, where as earlier in the week they were saying ‘The car is fine. It doesn’t fit our programme’.

    Even better though was did anyone see the Lotus team tweet after the double-points/driver numbers announcement with spoof 2014 rules on. It was pretty funny but the best one was:

    – Any team(s) missing a pre-season test will be forced to contest a non-championship point scoring Korean Grand Prix on their own!

    Ticket to Mokpo Mr Boullier?

    • F1fletch

      I am on a roll this morning…lol

      Dan, I totally agree. I don’t trust a single thing out of the Lotus camp. I cheered for them the last couple years but not now. The team seems to be full of word whiskery, lies and misinformation. They have lost so much funding, credible people to other teams and my respect. Glad Kimi got away. I wish them all the best but when you get lied to enough and people can’t be straightforward and honest about things…you just turn your back.

      I see only one direction for them lately and it points…..down.

      Fletch

  • Cipher

    Of course the car wont be ready on time for Jerez! They had to start from scratch and work overtime to increase the levels of mechanical grip on the car and making it less dependent on downforce…..you know since Pastor’s gonna be driving without a front wing most of the time.