(Lotus F1 Team)
The Lotus F1 Team heads to next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix at the Barcelona Circuit De Catalunya following a strong result for Romain Grosjean as the Frenchman finished the Bahrain Grand Prix last time out in seventh place.
It was a disappointing race for Pastor Maldonado however, as the Venezuelan came home in 15th place. The Enstone outfit are currently in 6th place in the championship on 12 points. Ahead of the next weekend’s race, Lotus F1 Deputy Team Principal took part in a Q&A –
How much does the team look forward to racing in Spain?
We all love Barcelona and the surrounding countryside. Spain and the Spanish people
are wonderful and I have a lot of friends as well as family there. In terms of a racing
challenge, it’s a fascinating event as it’s where every team should be operating at
their maximum potential at this time of the season as the circuit is so well known to us
all. There are no excuses if you can’t get your car set-up or working well at the Circuit
What has been keeping the team busy since Bahrain?
We’ve been working hard on improving the E23 and how we use it, whether through the
progress made in our technical debriefs, or the parts being fabricated here in Enstone.
Elsewhere we also took the car to Brands Hatch for our filming day, which we opened
to the public. This is something we’ve done historically behind closed doors where we
have contractual obligations with partners for moving images and the like so it’s a full
day. We looked at things a little differently this year and asked ‘why don’t we open
the doors to fans who want to attend’. Thankfully we have a fantastic relationship
with Jonathan Palmer and MotorSport Vision and they shared our vision. It was fantastic
to have so many fans take a day off work to come visit us and it’s definitely something
we’ll do again.
Anything exiting planned for the first European race?
There’s potential for some things which could open some eyes in Barcelona and then
at the next race in Monaco too. It’s fair to say it’s busy times at Enstone.
What are your thoughts on Romain’s championship charge?
Romain delivered another textbook driving display in Bahrain and he continues to
impress us and other seasoned F1 observers with his on track prowess. He is very focused
this year and this means he’s making the most of every moment in the car. We know
as soon as we can unlock a little more pace from the E23, there will be even stronger
results to come.
Pastor has had more a of difficult start to his year, what are the team doing to ensure
he can get the maximum from the E23?
We’re still waiting for those first 2015 points with Pastor and no-one wants them more than the man himself. Pastor is driving really well and has been the victim of other
drivers’ mistakes rather too much this year. We know he likes the E23 and can get it to
deliver very good pace. Pastor enjoyed great success in Barcelona a few years ago so
hopefully that is a good omen for him.
Jolyon is being kept busy in and out of the
It’s always a notable step for a driver to go from focusing on contesting the GP2 Series
championship to having a very different role at a Formula 1 race team. We’re keeping
him very busy with his in-car duties and he has impressed us with his pace, application
and feedback from his FP1 sessions so far. Out of the car there has been a lot of interest in
him and he’s kept busy with media duties. Of course, like any driver, he’d like to be racing, but he’s definitely not sitting about being bored!
It’s Carmen’s home race – how is she gelling with the team?
Carmen has gone down really well with the team and it is a pleasure working with her.
It’s been a surprise just how much attention she’s received. She has been hard at work
in the simulator this week at Enstone and I think some aspects of the F1 set-up have
been eye-opening for her. Certainly the step from GP3 – where she raced for the past
three seasons – to Formula 1 is a large one but she’s applied herself well.
© Ben Johnston 2015