The cruel hand of fate dealt a bitter blow for Lotus F1 Team
at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix with both cars out
of the race by the end of the first lap. Pastor Maldonado was
pitched into a spin from behind, resulting in his car hitting
the barriers, whilst Romain Grosjean suffered from a loss of
power, and retired at the end of the first lap.
Romain started from P8 on the grid on his qualifying soft tyres,
but suffered from an immediate loss of power, retiring at the
end of the first lap.
Pastor from P9 on the grid on his qualifying soft tyres, before
being pitched into a spin and ending his race in the tyre
barriers after the exit of turn 1.
Romain Grosjean, DNF, E23-02
ďWe had a loss of power on the formation lap; there was a
technical issue which we are investigating. Itís not how you
want to end your race, but we know the car is good and weíre
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 doesnít matter: Iím still very
hopeful for the year."
Pastor Maldonado, DNF, E23-03
ďRacing is like this. It was quite busy start, going into a
narrow corner. I just felt a big hit on the back and didnít see
what happened. Itís 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, itís looking
quite promising. In two weeks we will be again fighting for
points and again doing our best to be even more competitive."
Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal
"What a frustrating day! Pastorís race ended through no fault of
his own and Romainís 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 weíve seen what is possible from the season
ahead. The whole vibe of the team is tremendously positive.Ē
Nick Chester, Technical Director
"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 donít manifest
themselves until the season starts. Everyone back in Enstone
will get to the root of the issue and weíll come back fighting
in Malaysia. Fortunately today was one race in twenty and weíve
demonstrated over the course of the weekend that the E23 Hybrid
has tremendous potential. We canít wait to exploit this
potential once we get to Sepang."