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Lotus & Caterham hit problems in Barcelona

The second test of the winter started in Barcelona on Tuesday, but Lotus and Caterham both hit problems.

The Caterham team were unable to test for the majority of the day after Heikki Kovalainen broke down on the track after just 9 laps.

The technical fault was in stark contrast to the first test in Jerez where the Caterham team had completed more miles than any of the teams who were at the test.

After an investigation the team discovered that Kovalainen had suffered a a rear track-rod failure and the team were able to fix the problem to complete a further 22 laps.

'As soon as we had the car back in the garage we identified the issue and managed to fix it on site, and we have more parts coming out tonight to make sure we don't have the same problem again.' Caterham technical chief Mike Gascoyne told Sky Sports on Tuesday evening.

'We know that this car is fundamentally reliable, so the aim for the next three days is to complete the plan for this test and put ourselves back on schedule.' he added.

Unfortunately for Lotus though, their problems were not as easily resolved.

After just 7 laps around Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, the Lotus team identified a chassis problem which was not previously noticed at the Jerez test.

Lotus have not revealed the exact problem with the car, but they have pulled out of the first test in Barcelona.

'we have quickly identified the issue with the chassis and our design office has already devised a solution. We will be present at next week's test in Barcelona.' Lotus team boss Eric Boullier told the BBC.

But many people in the paddock believe that Lotus are actually playing down the issues that they have found.

BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson, who also writes for Autosport magazine believes that Lotus may even require a new chassis, which puts them in a race against time to be ready for the opening race at the Australian Grand Prix: 'you can't make a chassis overnight - you could probably compress it into three weeks if you really pushed it. If it is that serious, that could mean one new car for one driver in Melbourne and the other driving one that is patched up as well as possible.'

The reason behind the team not previously discovering the fault during the Jerez test could be explained by the higher aerodynamic loads that the car us put under in Barcelona in direct comparison to Jerez.

Cars behave differently under different conditions and tracks and the team have spotted what could prove to be a major fault for the team.

Lotus driver Romain Grosjean who completed the 7 laps told Autosport Magazine: 'It felt quite strange on the steering wheel, Both myself and the team picked up the problem at the same time.

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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday February 22 2012

Time: 11:00AM


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