With the first Grand Prix of the 2015 Formula 1 season behind them, Lotus heads into the Grand Prix of Malaysia with high expectations. Although the team struggled in Australia, with Romain Grosjean retiring early due to mechanical failure and Pastor Maldonado involved in a wreck that forced his retirement as well, the team showed promise as both cars were quick during practice and qualifying. Both drivers seemed pleased with the set-up of the cars in Melbourne, lending a feeling of optimism to the team as they head to Sepang.
Nick Chester, Lotus’s Technical Director, is pleased with the performance of the cars in Australia and is looking forward to racing in Malaysia. He commented that the track has “a good mix of corners—hairpins onto long straights and then in the middle part of the track, there are high speed sweeping turns.” This should be an ideal setup for the E23. Chester and the team have been working diligently on the car’s aerodynamics, continuing to develop the car in a manner that makes it more consistent for both drivers, as well as one which they both feel comfortable pushing the limits in. Performance, in every sense of the word, becomes the focus for the E23 and its suitability for corners lends itself to a promising race in Malaysia.
As for the challenges the team experienced in Melbourne, including the charge air system where a leak developed, the team feels confident that they have rectified the problem. It was an issue that arose out of nowhere as the problem was not present in testing and suddenly appeared in both cars. The issue was addressed at the factory, as solutions can often be hard to come by at the track. At the factory, different solutions have been cultivated and “extensive testing” done to make sure the problem has been resolved.
As the first teams arrive in Sepang and the equipment is unloaded, Lotus looks at the upcoming race with a renewed optimism. They are at a track where their drivers are comfortable and confident, their cars hold the promise of speed previously unseen in past seasons, the main issue they experienced at the Grand Prix of Australia has, hopefully, been addressed. The Lotus F1 team finds itself more than hopeful, they are cheerfully expecting a tremendous race.