Lotus teams suffer Indy 500 blow as manufacturer does not have enough engines for test
|By Mark Glendenning||Monday, April 2nd 2012, 13:05 GMT|
Lotus-powered IndyCar teams' preparations for next month's Indy 500 have been dealt a blow with the news that the manufacturer will not have enough engines ready to participate in the test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday.
The test is aimed at giving the teams and engine manufacturers a head-start on getting the new technical packages tuned for the series' biggest race, as well as allowing Dallara to track-test its Indy-specific aero package.
However, AUTOSPORT understands that Lotus, which has been playing catch-up after a fraught off-season that included a late start to its programme and the sale of its parent company, does not yet have a sufficient stockpile of its units to accommodate both racing and the test.
Claudio Berro, Group Lotus director of motorsport, who did not attend last weekend's IndyCar race at Barber due to commitments in the UK, told AUTOSPORT via email that Lotus's chances of making the test were "50 per cent", although all five of the Lotus teams have since confirmed that they will not be running.
Simona de Silvestro, driver of the HVM Lotus entry, admitted that missing the test was a setback.
"It's a bit annoying that we're not going to go to the Indy test, but it is what it is," she told AUTOSPORT. "That's the situation we are in right now and we have to make the best of it."
Berro said in St Petersburg that he expected Lotus to have 10 engines ready by last weekend, although its stock ran dry after both Oriol Servia (Dreyer & Reinbold) and Alex Tagliani (Bryan Herta Autosport) made engine changes. An additional back-up unit was delivered to the track early on Sunday morning.
Teams are only permitted to run one driver at the Indy test, none of which are allowed to be rookies.
Chevrolet is expected to be represented by Helio Castroneves (Penske), Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport), Tony Kanaan (KV Racing), Ed Carpenter (Ed Carpenter Racing) and JR Hildebrand (Panther Racing). Honda will be covered by Scott Dixon (Ganassi), Justin Wilson (Dale Coyne Racing), Mike Conway (AJ Foyt Racing) and Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing).