Sunday, 15 March 2015

Plenty of promise but no reward for the Lotus F1 Team Down Under

(Lotus F1 Team)

The Lotus F1 Team’s Australian Grand Prix weekend got off to an extremely promising start with Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado starting the event from eighth and ninth place respectively.

Sadly for the Enstone outfit however neither Grosjean nor Maldonado finished the race as the pair suffered issues. 

Maldonado was put into a spin after being tagged from behind as a result the Venezuelan hit the tyre barriers at the exit of T1 and was forced to retire from the race. Speaking following the race, Maldonado stated:

Racing is like this. It was quite busy start, going into a narrow corner. I just felt a big hit on the back and didn’t see what happened. It’s disappointing because it was a great chance for us to have a great race. The pace of the car was looking much better than in qualifying, so looking forward we can learn from this race. It was a good weekend until today, it’s looking quite promising. In two weeks we will be again fighting for points and again doing our best to be even more competitive.

While Maldonado suffered an accident team mate Romain Grosjean suffered a loss of power on the opening lap and speaking following the race the Frenchman stated:

We had a loss of power on the formation lap; there was a technical issue which we are investigating. It’s not how you want to end your race, but we know the car is good and we’re miles ahead of where we were last season. We have a good baseline with the E23 and a good engine. We also have new pieces that we are bringing over for the next races, so more performance coming. The first race is always a bit of a tricky one, you never know what might happen and, unfortunately it was bad luck for us today but it doesn’t matter: I’m still very hopeful for the year.

The Lotus F1 Team like the Sauber F1 Team can be satisfied with the progress that they made over the winter and speaking following the race their Technical Director Nick Chester stated:

A very short race for us to end a weekend full of promise. Pastor was an innocent victim whilst Romain suffered from a loss of power which we are investigating. We ran very reliably in pre-season testing, but sometimes certain issues don’t manifest themselves until the season starts. Everyone back in Enstone will get to the root of the issue and we’ll come back fighting in Malaysia. Fortunately today was one race in twenty and we’ve demonstrated over the course of the weekend that the E23 Hybrid has tremendous potential. We can’t wait to exploit this potential once we get to Sepang.

The E23 Hybrid has shown great pace with its new Mercedes power unit and although the team failed to score points in Australia their performance in qualifying was fantastic due to the fact that the sport has become so close in terms of behind Mercedes. Speaking following the race Lotus F1 Team deputy Team Principal Frederic Gastaldi stated:

What a frustrating day! Pastor’s race ended through no fault of his own and Romain’s race was over at the end of the first lap too. This is not the way any team wants to start the season and there were a few choice words in the garage when we realised our race was over so soon. It was particularly frustrating as we had great potential to deliver very strong results today. The team is not downcast, however, and we have a lot of enthusiasm for the races ahead as we’ve seen what is possible from the season ahead. The whole vibe of the team is tremendously positive.

© Ben Johnston 2015

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