Lotus is highly unlikely to run its double DRS in the remaining races of the Formula 1 season, despite planning to work on it at the Abu Dhabi young driver test.
Difficulties with the innovative device meant it was never raced despite being used in practice at several races over the summer. Lotus will use it again in the Yas Marina test, where GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi, DTM star Edoardo Mortara, and sports car racer Nicolas Prost will take the wheel of its car, but technical director James Allison said the work was aimed more towards 2013 use than this year.
"Our plan is to work on understanding how to make it act in a sufficiently predictable manner to be deployable in a race," he said. "Given the difficulty we have experienced so far, I think it would be optimistic to see it used in anger this season, within the final remaining races."
While Lotus struggled to make its double DRS race-ready, it has successfully introduced a Coanda exhaust system. So far this development's benefits have been partly negated by how much horsepower the system saps, but Allison said changes for Abu Dhabi would help the problem.
"It is not really the straightline pace that is the issue, as we can set that wherever we like simply by choosing the rear wing setting," he said. "It is the power that we need to recover. Our first version of the Coanda system is rather power-hungry. With Renault Sport's help we expect to claw back around one third of the loss in Abu Dhabi, and would be able to get around half of the loss back, eventually. We aim to introduce an exhaust pipe that keeps all of the Coanda downforce benefit, but sheds some of the horsepower penalty that we suffered with for our first-iteration design."
Lotus driver Romain Grosjean reckons the team is already making strides with the new-style exhaust.
"The Coanda exhaust is now much better understood," he said. "We have to do some work to try to get better results in low grip conditions, especially in qualifying – which is somewhere that I think we can improve – and then in the race the car is just very, very good as usual."