Lotus is confident that it will be able to meet its supply requirements for the remainder of the IndyCar season, despite admitting that it is still playing catch-up from its late arrival in the series.
A lack of engines meant that the Lotus-powered teams had to share a single car during the opening phase of preseason testing, and the problems extended right up to the eve of last weekend's opening race in St. Petersburg, with Dragon Racing's Sebastien Bourdais not receiving an engine until the day before the first practice session. However, Group Lotus director of motorsport Claudio Berro is confident that the manufacturer will breach the gap.
"We have enough engines," he said. "We had eight engines in St. Petersburg, and we will have another two at Barber to take the total to 10. The plan is to have 25 engines for the season."
Lotus's late start was compounded by the parent company being bought by DRB-Hicom from Proton in January, which caused its finances to be temporarily frozen. Berro said that the short time frame put a premium on building a small number of strong engines rather than rushing out a larger batch that could prove unusable.
"We started months after the others," he said. "Then, imagine if we produced 25 engines in November or December, and then needed to modify them. You end up putting 25 engines into the rubbish bin. That's why we tried to increase the number of engines after testing. If we'd rushed 10 engines out and then had to keep using spares, it's not a serious effort. I'd prefer to have five engines that keep running."
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said that he is confident that Lotus will get its engine situation under control
"Lotus has been very upfront with us about the fact that they are eight weeks behind," he said. "They are fully committed. One of the biggest issues that we've seen is a transition in ownership, and all bank accounts were frozen for over a month and a half.
"Let's give them every opportunity to try to win. It's important for us to see them competitive, as we want the sponsors that are tied to Lotus to be successful as well."