Lotus is heading to next week's second pre-season Formula 1 test at Barcelona confident there will be no repeat of the suspension dramas that forced it to withdraw last year.
After once again showing promising form in the first test at Jerez, Lotus needs no reminding that its pre-season preparations in 2012 suffered a major setback when it had to quit running at Barcelona because of suspension failure. Technical director James Allison says that lessons have been taken on board about what happened last year to ensure that there is prospect for it to suffer the same dramas again.
"We had a problem last year because we designed a single joint poorly," Allison said. "We had created a suspension mounting which was capable of withstanding the loads if it had been made absolutely perfectly. However, that style of joint was very difficult to make accurately enough to get repeatable performance from each chassis.
"We ran chassis #01 at Jerez and the suspension joint in this chassis was good enough to cope with the loads. We ran chassis #02 at Barcelona and the joint in this one was made just a whisker differently; it was not capable of taking the loads and so failed instantly. Once we realized our error, we redesigned the joint so that the glue lines were capable of delivering the required strength without any scatter from chassis to chassis. On the E21, we've paid particular attention to this area so we're not expecting any repeat dramas."
Both Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean showed the potential of the E21 when they set pace-setting times during last week's Jerez test.