Tag Archive | Bahrain

First image of Lotus E22 released

Lotus E22 (Image: Lotus F1 Team)

Lotus E22 (Image: Lotus F1 Team)

Lotus have unveiled, at least partly, their 2014 F1 car, the E22, on Twitter. The image was released just moments after McLaren’s official unveiling of their car, the MP4-29.

The Lotus features a quite different front end to the McLaren. Where the MP4-29 has a single, centred, narrow nose, the E22 features an unusual-looking double-pronged nose. It remains to be seen whether or not any of the other teams have adopted a similar approach.

The Lotus features the longer sidepods and rear-exiting exhaust required by the 2014 regulations. The livery is an evolution of that seen on last year’s E21, with the front end seeing the major changes in terms of paint-work.

The E22 will not be present at the first pre-season test that starts in Jerez, Spain on Tuesday. Instead, the car will make its track debut on 19 February in Bahrain.

2014 Lotus to skip Jerez test

Romain Grosjean tests the Lotus E21 at Jerez in 2013 (Andrew Ferraro/Lotus F1)

Romain Grosjean tests the Lotus E21 at Jerez in 2013 (Andrew Ferraro/Lotus F1)

Lotus Technical Director Nick Chester has confirmed that the team’s 2014 car, the E22, will not be unveiled until after the first pre-season test. As a result, the car will not run in Jerez at all and will make its track debut in Bahrain on 19 February.

“We’re going to keep our car under wraps a little longer than some other teams”, said Chester. “We’ve decided that attending the Jerez test isn’t ideal for our build and development programme. We are likely to unveil the car before attending the Bahrain tests, and in Bahrain we should really be able to put the car through its paces in representative conditions.”

The decision to miss the Jerez test is a bit surprising, as there are just 12 days of track testing available to the teams before the season gets underway in Australia in mid-March. The major technical regulation changes that have been introduced for this season make every lap important as the teams learn about their new cars and work to make them quicker and more reliable.

It’s possible that Lotus simply need more time to prepare their car before putting it on the track. It’s also possible that they have come up with some interesting solutions to the technical challenges that all teams face in advance of this season. If that is the case, they might want to keep their secrets under wraps until the last possible moment, to prevent other teams from copying their ideas before the season starts.

The Lotus E22 will be raced in 2014 by Romain Grosjean, who has been retained by the team, and Pastor Maldonado, who has moved to Lotus from Williams.

Rate the Grand Prix

The Bahrain Grand Prix produced some fantastic racing. Or did it?

After each race, f1plus.com allows readers to “Rate the Grand Prix” on the homepage. Head over there and show what you thought of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Bahrain – Vettel back to winning ways

Sebastian Vettel has returned to the top of the podium with an emphatic victory in Bahrain. The double World Champion has had a difficult start to the season, but silenced his doubters by taking pole position yesterday and driving a faultless race to victory this afternoon. The perfect weekend for Vettel sees him at the top of the points standings for the first time this season.

Only Lotus had an answer to the pace of Vettel, with Kimi Raikkonen challenging for the lead before the last round of pitstops. Unfortunately for the Finn, he was unable to keep pace with Vettel once the Red Bull driver was on fresh tyres, and Raikkonen finished the race in second, his strongest result since returning to Formula One in Australia this season. Team-mate Romain Grosjean finished third for his first Formula One podium, completing an impressive weekend in which he outqualified Raikkonen and led his team-mate in the early stage of the race. His joy was evident on the podium and again in the post-race interview as he smiled broadly during the proceedings.

Mark Webber scored his fourth consecutive fourth place, which makes it four Renault engines in the top four, a surprising result given that the Mercedes engine is considered better for straight-line speed and the Bahrain circuit has two long straights.

Chinese Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg could only manage fifth place today, recovering after a slow start that saw him lose a few places in the first corner. Rosberg will be the subject of two investigations by the stewards after the race, after on-track battles with Hamilton and Alonso saw both opponents running off the track to avoid contact with the Mercedes driver.

McLaren had a miserable afternoon. Lewis Hamilton had two very slow pitstops, both due to problems with his left-rear tyre, which pushed him down the order. Some good aggressive driving saw him finish in eighth, although that could change if the stewards find him guilty of passing Nico Rosberg outside the limits of the track. Jenson Button’s afternoon came to a premature end with a cracked exhaust.

Paul di Resta made a two-stop strategy work well to finish sixth, a good result for Force India. Alonso fought hard to finish seventh, with team-mate Mass scoring his first points of the season in ninth after a strong drive. Michael Schumacher rounded out the top ten after a solid drive from 22nd on the grid.

This weekend concluded the first round of fly-away races. The Formula One teams now return home, in advance of the first European race in Barcelona on 13 May.

Bahrain – Vettel leads close qualifying

The 2012 Formula One season has been full of action, and Saturday’s qualifying session for the Bahrain Grand Prix was no different.

Sebastian Vettel took pole position for the first time this season. The Red Bull has looked strong all weekend, and Mark Webber’s third place underlines the improved pace of the RB8.

The McLarens of Hamilton and Button continued to be strong in qualifying, taking second and fourth places respectively. Four races into the season, Hamilton has qualified on the front row for every race. A grid penalty in China pushed him back to seventh, but his qualifying time was second fastest.

Six different constructors feature in fifth to tenth place. Rosberg’s Mercedes is followed by Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso, a superb performance from the Australian driver in a car that has not looked that quick so far this season. Grosjean in the Lotus and Perez in the Sauber make up the fourth row of the grid, followed by Alonso’s Ferrari and di Resta’s Force India. Alonso and di Resta chose not to set Q3 times, presumably to save new tyres for the race.

The major surprises of the session happened in Q1. The track has been evolving quickly throughout the weekend, and laptimes fell significantly during the 20-minute Q1 session. As a result, Heikki Kovalainen managed to get his Caterham into Q2, with a quick lap right at the end of the session. Michael Schumacher was the big loser of qualifying, the team reporting that a technical issue with the rear wing of his Mercedes cost him some time in Q1. Schumacher ended up 18th, just a second off the fastest Q1 time, but slow enough to be out of Q2. Jean-Eric Vergne was soundly out-performed by team-mate Ricciardo. Vergne qualified 19th, not proceeding into Q2, while Ricciardo starts sixth.

The grid is very mixed. No two cars from the same team qualified in successive places, which is unusual. The grid is so close in terms of performance that anything could happen in the race. Any one of the top five is a good bet for victory, and behind them the action promises to be close.

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