(Alastair Staley /LAT for Lotus F1 Team)
The Lotus F1 Team have confirmed that following his heavy shunt early on in Friday's Free Practice 2 session ahead of Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix that Pastor Maldonado will have a new chassis for qualifying which takes place later today and for the race. The Venezuelan suffered a big crash during the session which caused catastrophic damage to his chassis.
Maldonado finished both of Friday's session's in 14th place and speaking afterwards he said:
'For one lap on the softer tyres the car feels quite good. We’ve made a bit of a step forward here in terms of our relative pace and we’re much closer to the times in the top ten. We hope to be slightly more competitive for the race. The balance was quite snappy when the tyres were a bit older and I lost it in the middle of the corner, then the exit is quite narrow there which meant nowhere to go so that was the end of my session.'
Romain Grosjean had a difficult morning session finishing in 18th place on the time sheets however he faired better in the afternoon finishing the session in 12th place. The Frenchman completed 59 laps over the course of the day. Speaking following the session he commented:
'The car performed well today, better than previous races which is something we expected to happen, but nevertheless is good when it goes the way that has been predicted. With more downforce on the wings the car works better. We also had a few new parts to try on the car – some worked really well and some provided us with a good idea of the direction to go for next year’s car.”
The Lotus F1 Team's Tackside Operations Director Alan Permane was happier with the Enstone outfit's performances so far on Friday saying:
'We’re much happier with the E22 here as we look more competitive than of late, particularly when on the lower fuel levels where we haven’t excelled recently. We had a reliable car through both sessions but Pastor’s mistake was unfortunate as we lost track time, however we completed a good number of laps with Romain.
There’s a lot to monitor here with power unit temperatures, cooling levels and the brakes in particular needing close attention. We’re also evaluating tyre performance between the two compounds. We have a solid basis looking to the rest of the weekend.”
The team will be hoping that they will be in a position for a strong point's scoring finish on Sunday following what has been an extremely difficult season for the team as they are currently in 8th place in the Constructors championship on 8 points.
© Ben Johnston 2014