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F1 2015 Jerez Testing

Lotus missing as noses stir interest at Jerez test

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Only seven teams are up and running for the first day of official pre-season testing at Jerez.

Missing altogether are the ailing backmarkers Caterham and Marussia, as well as Force India amid speculation of similar financial trouble.

But also not running on Sunday is Lotus.

Last week, reports suggested not only Lotus but also Red Bull could sit out the opening day of running.

Red Bull ultimately got going, revealing the striking zebra-like espionage-proof test livery on the RB11 after the chassis passed the FIA’s mandatory crash tests at the eleventh hour.

“We’ve been pushing to the limit as usual,” boss Christian Horner confirmed.

“If you’re not on the limit you’re not trying hard enough,” he insisted.

It is believed Red Bull’s near-delay could be related to the new nose regulations.

The FIA tweaked the rules for 2015 to do away with the ugly anteater-style solutions of last season.

But the changed posed a headache for teams, with one logical solution being a long nose like the new Ferrari and McLaren, and the other a shorter-style design like Mercedes’.

Williams, for instance, went the Mercedes route, adding a conspicuous bulge at the tip of the short nose, ostensibly to pass the tough crash tests.

The team’s Rob Smedley told Auto Motor und Sport he was surprised when he saw rival teams launching long-nosed cars.

“I can’t believe that they have recovered the old levels of downforce,” he said. “We tried and we could only get where we needed to be with a short nose.”

It appears other teams may have discovered the ideal solution too late — perhaps like the absent-at-Jerez Lotus.

The nearly-late but hugely resourced Red Bull, meanwhile, made it to Jerez but reportedly only with a temporary solution at the very tip of the camouflaged short nose.

A final, Melbourne-spec solution may only be ready after another FIA crash test.

Auto Motor und Sport predicted a busy forthcoming period for FIA crash-testing, with teams queuing at the doors for revised nose solutions to be rubber-stamped.

“McLaren and Ferrari are planning short noses,” correspondent Michael Schmidt claimed. “They are testing long noses (at Jerez) because passing the crash tests with them was a formality.”

Lotus, meanwhile, declared on Sunday: “E23 is in the air on its way to Jerez after firing up in Enstone yesterday, arrival expected later today.” (GMM)

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