Renault confident it has kept Lotus car's strengths

Renault is confident its new Formula 1 car has maintained the strengths of last year's Lotus chassis, but will now also benefit from a ramped up development programme.

Despite tough financial times in 2015, the Lotus E23 earned high praise as it stayed competitive for much of the season, and even grabbed a podium finish at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Following the takeover last winter by Renault, the team has successfully switched its power unit and – judging by early running – believes that its car can keep on delivering in 2016.

When asked by if the new Renault had kept the strengths of last year's Lotus, technical director Nick Chester said: "I think so.

"The comments from the drivers have been nice, because they say it is very predictable and very consistent. They like the balance. So it feels like quite a good start.

"I am sure we are going to want to get more grip in the car and have more downforce, because there is a lot of development to do there.

"We haven't got a great handle of where we are laptime wise because everyone is on different fuel loads and tyres, so it is quite hard to pull apart, but I think it certainly shows it hasn't any vices which is a nice start."

Development upswing

A lack of money last year meant Lotus was unable to bring many updates to its car.

That should not be a problem this year thanks to Renault's investment, but Chester believes the team may need a little time to make up lost ground.

"I think the bit that is going to take time to build up are the factory departments," he said "Aero was hammered by finances, so that will take them a little bit of time to get back up to speed.

"But that is coming, but there will be a big of a lag while it ratchets up."

Chester is confident that the team will be a match for its rivals in terms of delivering improvements over the course of the year.

"I think so. There will be a bit of a lag to start with, but then we will get normal developments on the car.

"We probably won't be able to go mad and throw loads of development on it because if we do we are hurting 2017, so we have to keep that in mind.

"But the nice thing for Enstone and Viry is that it is a really long term collaboration, pulling everything together.

"We know that both sides are just going to get stronger, so we have a nice long term plan to improve and expand and get ourselves on a proper development track."

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Series Formula 1
Article type Breaking news