(Lotus F1 Team)
How much does the team look forward to racing in Bahrain?
Bahrain is a venue we do like visiting. The circuit provides a good challenge and it’s a track where we’ve performed well in the past. The paddock has a very social atmosphere and we always receive a very warm welcome from everyone involved with the Grand Prix. The weather is always very warm and since last year we’ve had the added pleasure of an evening race. We’re certainly very happy to visit.
Is it good to have points now?
Attaining points is what we’re here for and it’s something we should have achieved in the first two races of the season; we are very mindful of this. Of course, it was fantastic for everyone for Romain to get our championship campaign underway with his seventh-place finish and it would have been a right pain if we hadn’t scored points in China. Now we’ve got the ball rolling our next target is to get both cars in the points in Bahrain.
What else do you feel is noteworthy from the Chinese Grand Prix?
Aside from a braking issue on Pastor’s car in the race - which we’re addressing - the
E23 ran very reliably in Shanghai. When you consider that this was only the third race into our relationship with a new power unit supplier, it’s a fantastic reflection of all the hard work going on behind the scenes at Enstone and Brixworth. This is an area we’re playing particular attention to as we did have a number of frustrating niggles at the first couple of races, both on our side and also our power unit supplier’s. It is natural in motor sport for the road not to be smooth, especially when embarking on an exciting new relationship, but what is also natural is for us both to strive to get everything working perfectly. And that is – I’m happy to say – exactly what we’re trying to do.
What are the commercial developments for the team?
There’s quite a lot going on behind the scenes and we have a number of very exciting and interesting conversations going on. Certainly, regular strong performances help with this and that’s something we all know very well. We have some important races coming up and we hope to be demanding more than our fair share of attention at these races for positive reasons.
Romain delivered the points everyone wanted in China – how is he working with the team these days?
Romain is a driver who is very much at the top of his game. He’s been in a relationship with the team for quite some time now so we know each other well; there are no arguments about which side of the bed to sleep on! We know that Romain can jump in the car and deliver. We know he won’t be happy when he has to give up his car for a session, which is natural for a driver, but we also know he can deliver no matter what the circumstances.
What is your take on Pastor’s eventful Grand Prix in Shanghai?
Pastor’s had a bit of an eventful start to his season and his car seems to have a target painted on it for other drivers! Certainly in Shanghai he was having a superb battle with Jenson Button which unfortunately resulted in contact. Pastor had started his race fantastically and was very quick on race pace. Sadly he had a braking issue coming into the pits and this put him on the back foot subsequently. We could all see how hard he was pushing for the entire race and we’re sure the points will come soon.
Jolyon’s in the car again in Bahrain, will this be a regular occurrence in 2015?
Jolyon is a great young talent and his programme is very much about him getting a significant amount of track time over the course of the season so he’ll be a regular sight in FP1 sessions. He did a great job in Shanghai, even if he gave us a bit of a scare with a spin early in the session on a cold and green track!
© Ben Johnston 2015