Lotus technical director James Allison has confirmed that the Double DRS ‘Device’ now won’t be raced until Suzuka at the earliest.
The team had planned to race it at Spa, but the wet Friday meant that it took the conservative choice of running in standard spec from Saturday onwards. However he says it was never intended to use it at Monza.
“Although we would like to have it at Monza – because it is the type of circuit that rewards such a thing – we don’t have the DRS device configured to cope with the Monza level of downforce,” said Allison. “So it is not even on the table. In Singapore you won’t see it either, because it’s too high a downforce circuit with insufficient straights for it to be worthwhile. The earliest you might see it now is Suzuka.”
Team boss Eric Boullier added: “Quite a few interesting developments are still in the pipeline and they’ll be implemented later in the year. At this time of the year, the team usually starts focusing almost only on its next car. This is not the case this year, as we’ll develop the E20 until the very last race. And that won’t compromise the design of the E21.”
Meanwhile Allison is confident that the team will bounce back in Italy after a disappointing weekend in Belgium that saw Kimi Raikkonen finish a distant third.
“It’s always tricky to go into Monza with any certainty about how the world is going to work out, for a number of reasons. Firstly, the track always produces very, very close grids and this is a season where the grids are close anyway. We could be in a situation like Valencia, where if you were two or three tenths too slow you could miss getting into Q3.
“Not only does Monza already attract a close grid – in a season of close grids – but it is also a very distinct circuit. In some ways it’s a bit like Canada: Straight into a corner, straight into a corner, without any big ‘S’ sections. The closest you’ve got is Ascari and Parabolica. This means that the straight-to-corner ratio is such that you run a wing level that is way too small for the corners.
“So the drivers will be doing their best to scrabble around the corners in a car that is optimised for the straights. All this means it’s difficult to know how we’ll perform. And, having made predictions about the last race that were not exactly on the mark, it’s even harder to do so here!
“That said, if you took the season as a whole, we’ve got a fair hit rate of arriving at tracks and performing reasonably. So the balance of probability is that we’ll do the same in Monza as well. In all probability it will be pretty warm and we’ve tended to go well when it’s warm, Valencia being a case in point and another point-and-squirt circuit where we’ve done very well. So we ought to be able to get our show back on the road in Monza after a slight misfire in Spa.”
Allison admitted that it’s not going to be an easy weekend for Jerome D’Ambrosio, who is deputising for Romain Grosjean.
“He has driven the car – very capably – at the Mugello test, but that’s a very different type of circuit. There’s very little braking in Mugello and almost nothing but braking for the driver to think about in Monza. However, he is a reasonably seasoned campaigner and certainly a very level-headed sort of chap.
“It’s a big opportunity for him to show us and the rest of the world what he’s got. I know he’ll really want to make the most of it and hopefully he will be able to cement some good championship points for us.”