Saturday, 20 September 2014

Tough day for Lotus in Singapore but signs of improvement

Singapore Grand Prix
(Steven Tee for The Lotus F1 Team)

The Lotus F1 Team had another difficult day during qualifying for tomorrow's Singapore Grand Prix however despite their struggles the team have certainly seen signs of improvement in their performance. Romain Grisjean appeared to struggle with the car initially however he will start the race from 16th place. 

The Enstone outfit will be hoping to draw from what happened last season when Kimi Raikkonen came through the field from 13th on grid to finish on the podium for the team. Speaking following the session, Grosjean who voiced his frustration over the radio stated:

'We could have gotten up to P13 in qualifying today, the car was looking good and the team has been working very hard all weekend. I’m happy as I can be with the E22 so it’s frustrating to have had an issue on the power side, which cost me a lot of time. Everything can happen in the race so we will have to go for it.'

Pastor Maldonado had front right brake problem during this morning's practice session which was disappointing for the Venezuelan who had to change his chassis over night following his heavy crash in Free Practice 2 yesterday. 

Maldonado will start tomorrow's race from 18th place on the grid just ahead of the Marussia F1 Team's Jules Bianchi. Speaking following the session he said:

'Unfortunately we had some problems which meant we weren’t able to finish our qualifying lap with full power, and that penalised us a bit too much in the last sector. We are normally more competitive with race pace and we expect that here. We also have a lot of new tyres which we can play on strategy-wise. It’s a long race, the delta between all the cars is closer and that gives a good possibility to do well.'

Q&A with the Lotus F1 Team's Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane:

'The potential for a much improved qualifying performance was clear to see.'

How was qualifying for the team?  

Very frustrating. The E22 has been working much better in high down-force here in Singapore and both drivers had the potential to qualify higher than we have seen for most of this season. Unfortunately, both experienced a similar issue related to the turbo wastegate which meant they lacked full power when they needed it most during qualifying.
What are the tyre considerations for the race?

Both compounds have been showing quite a bit of degradation so we imagine most teams will be looking at two or even three stops. If we can extract a decent performance life from the tyres we could have a bit of an advantage relative to the cars around us. 

What could be possible tomorrow?

So far this season we’ve demonstrated superior race pace relative to our displays in qualifying. This means we are hopeful of still being able to produce a decent result tomorrow, albeit it compounds the frustration of losing out on the potential of better grid positions.

© Ben Johnston 2014

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