Test absence will hurt Lotus, says Sutil

Wed Jan 8, 2014 2:45pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Lotus's decision to skip the first pre-season Formula One test in Spain at the end of January will put them at a disadvantage to other teams, new Sauber signing Adrian Sutil said on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old driver told Reuters in a telephone interview from Switzerland that, with a new engine and major technical changes for 2014, teams needed all the limited track time they could get.

"I think real testing at the moment is what we need and not simulator work, because you can't simulate everything," he said of his own Swiss team's position. "In the end you need to go on the circuit and see how it goes.

"This is a very important test and we don't have much so I think it's clear that it will be a disadvantage for Lotus," added the German, speaking ahead of an appearance at the Autosport International show in Birmingham, England, at the weekend.

"But who knows why they decided it? I would say it is definitely not good."

Lotus, who finished fourth overall last season, said on Monday they would miss the test starting at Jerez on January 28 because the timing "isn't ideal for our build and development programme."

The team, who had financial problems last year and have yet to announce formally a renewal of their Renault engine deal, posted a teasing picture on Twitter on Wednesday of new car parts with the E22 chassis designation.

Their decision means Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado, who has moved to Lotus from Williams, will have to wait until the second test in Bahrain in February for his first taste of the car he will race in Australia in March.   Continued...

Former Force India Formula One driver Adrian Sutil of Germany walks in the garage during the first practice session of the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit outside Kuala Lumpur, March 22, 2013. REUTERS/Tim Chong