Lotus reveals 17G impact in Maldonado Spa DNF

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Lotus technical director Nick Chester reveals that Pastor Maldonado retired from the Belgian Grand Prix following a 17G impact with the kerbs at Eau Rouge.

The Venezuelan started from seventh at Spa-Francorchamps but his race only lasted for a couple of laps before reporting a loss of power on his Mercedes-engined E23 and slowing down on the Kemmel Straight.

The former GP2 Series champion still managed to limp back to the pits but eventually had to withdraw from the grand prix. Trackside operations director Alan Permane immediately explained that Maldonado’s retirement was “self-inflicted”; Chester now discloses further details on the 30-year-old’s seventh DNF in 11 events this year.

“We are still checking all the parts but he had a big excursion at Eau Rouge and hit some kerbs very hard which gave the chassis a 17G impact,” he said.

“That looks to have effectively knocked the power off the car and although he managed to get the power back on, it looks like we might have damaged the clutch control valve.

“Even though we may have been able to reset it when Pastor came back to the pits, we looked at the extent of the damage and decided to retire the car.”

Maldonado’s Belgian weekend had already got off to an inauspicious start when he had damaged his car in a FP1 crash. Despite having a contract for 2016 and bringing substantial sponsorship money to Enstone through his PDVSA backing, Lotus’ imminent deal with Renault could lead to the mistake-prone Venezuelan’s exit at the end of the current campaign.

Click here for a lighter look at the Belgian Grand Prix, courtesy of F1i special contributor Eric Silbermann.

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