The two Lotus-powered drivers in the Indy 500 field have expressed concerns about their power deficit to rivals Honda and Chevrolet as preparations continue for the May 27 race.
Neither the HVM entry of Simona de Silvestro or the Indy-only Fan Force United car of former F1 star Jean Alesi were able to lap any faster than 205mph on the fifth day of practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, leaving them 10mph behind the next slowest car, and more than 17mph off the pace being set by the front-runners. Apart from the competitiveness aspect, Alesi admitted his slow speed creates potential safety issues.
"Right now, I feel very unsafe, being quite slow in the middle of the track," said Alesi. "So I am quite concerned for my fellow drivers if we are not able to get the speed that we need. I am flat-out, and I have reached 205 as the maximum that I can see. So it is not a comfortable position right now."
De Silvestro, who is the sole full-time Lotus runner left in the field after the two-car Dragon Racing team broke with the manufacturer two weeks ago, said that she was making progress with her car, but admitted that the lack of power is making things difficult.
"I think the car is getting there," she said. "But we're just really struggling on the engine side, and that makes it difficult to drive. When you do only 200mph, you don't have enough downforce, which makes it a little bit trickier. The good thing on the team side is that everybody is being patient and really working through the things.
"That's what we have to do this month – just be really patient about it and try to improve every time we go out there. Hopefully, for qualifying and the race we'll have something that's raceable."