Lotus F1 Team Sitting Pretty Following Formula 1 Tests In Jerez

By Spenser Walters
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The four days of Formula 1 testing in Jerez, Spain provided a number of storylines for F1 fans to fawn over and analyze until the next round of pre-season tests begin on Feb. 19 in Barcelona.

We saw mechanical failures from a few different teams and a number of impressive showings from some teams that traditionally sit closer to the back of the pack in Formula One. Add to that the unveiling of two team’s newest cars the day before testing began and another two launches on the first morning of tests, plus a driver announcement and it all makes for a pretty exciting week of F1 action under the Spanish sun.

Then of course there are the lap times to be dutifully studied by both experts and amateurs attempting to get some idea of how the Formula One field might shake out during the 2013 season. A number of teams ran consistently impressive times at the circuit but one team stood out from the crowd.

We may be just one round of pre-season tests into the season, but one thing seems clear: Lotus F1 Team is going to be wicked fast in 2013.

Romain Grosjean was the first Lotus driver to take the team’s new E21 out onto the track in Jerez, and at the end of day one he had the team sitting in third place after running 54 laps and posting a 1:19.796 lap time as his fastest on the day. Grosjean returned to the cockpit on day two, running 95 laps and putting up the fastest time of the day when he completed a lap in 1:18.218, which wound up as the fourth fastest time overall at the end of the tests. It would not be the last time that Lotus would finish on top.

2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen got his first turn in the E21 on day three and despite only taking 40 flying laps and encountering a clutch problem had Lotus sitting fourth on the day with a top time of 1:19.200. Day four saw the Iceman really find his groove. Raikkonen would take 83 laps and run a 1:18.148, thus grabbing the top spot on the final day of testing and the second fastest time overall.

Only Felipe Massa of Ferrari ran faster than Raikkonen during the four days of preseason tests with his 1:17.879 lap from day three.

Lotus proved that their new car isn’t just fast, but reliable as well. The two drivers combined for a total of 272 laps in the new Renault-powered machine without encountering any major issues.

Naturally, it is far too early in the game to try and make too bold of any kind of prediction about how things will turn out in F1 in 2013. The cars only have four days of tests under their belts so much is left to be seen of what they and their drivers are truly capable of, but I think it is more than fair to say that Lotus looks extremely strong right now.

If the numbers from the circuit in Jerez are any indication of how Lotus will run in 2013, then they are going to be challenging for the Constructor’s title this year, and Kimi will be a very strong contender in the Driver’s points. 2013 might be the year that Lotus finally fully recaptures its glory.

Follow Spenser Walters on Twitter @SpenserWalters

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