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25 November  2012

Lotus F1 Team comments on the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix

Friday 23 November 2012

Romain Grosjean went seventh fastest whilst Kimi Räikkönen set the twelfth fastest time during a hot opening day of the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend at Interlagos, São Paulo.

Both cars ran with the latest specification exhaust system as raced for the first time in Austin, as well as new front drums. An issue with an ignition coil shortened Kimi’s running in the morning session.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director - Technical programme notes :

Kimi’s car suffered an ignition coil issue in FP1 which was resolved during the session
Both drivers trialled the 2013 Pirelli development tyres during FP1
In FP2 we ran the 2012 spec hard and medium compounds
We trialled new front drums on both cars and the latest front wing upgrade on Romain’s car

What we learned today :
Our long run pace in hot temperatures looks to be good
The car looks to be strong in both high and low downforce trim

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05
Free practice 1 : P16, 1:15.701, 16 laps
Free practice 2 : P12, 1:15.371, 39 laps

Kimi :
“We had a problem in the morning but it’s just one of those things ; you don’t want it to happen, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s unfortunate it took a while to fix as we missed time on track. Other than that, it was a very normal Friday for us. It was quite difficult to find a good set-up so we tried quite a few things. Tricky is usually the way for our Friday’s and we’ve always been able to find a better set-up for Saturday so that’s exactly what we’ll try to do for tomorrow.”

Romain Grosjean, E20-03
Free practice 1 : P7, 1:14.719 33 laps
Free practice 2 : P9, 1:14.994, 37 laps

Romain :
“It was a very hot and sunny day which wasn’t so easy for the tyres as it was difficult to get them to work properly so we struggled a little bit. Speed was not especially easy to find today, but we ran through our normal programme with a little bit of focus on a wet set-up as we know there’s rain forecast for Sunday. We only ran a little with the 2013 tyres in the morning ; my initial impression is that they feel a bit better and you can notice they have a different construction. Our long run pace was good so let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director :
“We’ve had an encouraging start to the weekend. Although Kimi’s track time in FP1 was restricted, Romain completed some interesting back-to-back comparison runs with Pirelli’s 2013 development tyre which looks to be a few tenths quicker than the current configuration even on this year’s car. Kimi had some catching up to do in the afternoon and struggled initially on the prime tyres, but with a few balance tweaks to accommodate the soaring track temperatures and his engine now running as it should he settled down to put in some decent runs. The track temperature was around ten degrees higher than in the morning – one of the hottest Friday’s we’ve seen all year in fact – and therefore yielded less grip. Despite this however, our long run pace with Romain looked very competitive. We also ran differing setups in anticipation of a potentially dry qualifying, wet race scenario, so there’s a lot of data to look at overnight but overall we’re pretty pleased.”

Saturday 24 November 2012

Kimi Räikkönen bounced back to P9 on the grid for tomorrow’s Brazilian Grand Prix after missing most of this morning’s running due to an engine failure early in the session. Despite a minimum of set-up time and a wet start to qualifying, Kimi progressed through to the top ten with relative ease.

Romain Grosjean demonstrated fine pace in the morning, but contact with the HRT of Pedro de la Rosa in the Q1 session meant he was unable to set a representative time and will start the race from P18 on the grid.

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05. Q : P9, 1:13.298. FP3 : P24, No Time Set
Of course we expect to do better but it’s been a tricky weekend. If I could have just done a few laps this morning it would have made things much easier, but after the engine problem I couldn’t complete any running and with the different temperatures from yesterday it was hard to know what would be the best setup. So I guess it was good to get into Q3 after all the issues ; it means we got something out of today when it could have been even worse.

Romain Grosjean, E20-03. Q : P18, 1:16.967. FP3 : P5, 1:13.420
Unfortunately there’s not much to say. I stayed behind Pedro [de la Rosa] during his flying lap to not disturb his time, but then when we got to the straight I tried to get past and he just didn’t see me. I braked as much as I could but it was too late ; he moved across, there was contact which broke my front wing and that was my afternoon ruined. To be honest I’m pretty upset about it ; of course, every driver is out there fighting for position but pulling that kind of move when the car behind is clearly faster is just pointless. The car felt very good this morning and we should have been fighting for the top five not struggling to get into Q2. There’s a lot of work to do now to get close to where we should be, but we know the pace is there so hopefully we can still bring home some good points.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director :
“We’re confident in the pace of the car in both wet and dry trim.”

How do you rate Kimi’s qualifying performance ?
Kimi has suffered a terrible weekend of unreliability with an ignition coil fault in FP1 followed by a blown engine in FP3. His only full session came in FP2 on Friday where we saw significantly higher temperatures, so to put the car inside the top ten was a great effort. What’s more, he only completed a single run in Q3 at a time when the track was not at its quickest, so we believe there will be even more to come from him in the race.

Romain obviously starts out of position ; what can he do from there ?
There’s potential for a strong result from Romain tomorrow. Although he starts down in P18 after an unfortunate incident with Pedro [de la Rosa], the car underneath him is certainly much quicker than those around him whatever the conditions may be and he plenty of fresh tyres to help him through the pack. There’s no reason to believe he won’t be challenging for a solid points haul tomorrow and that is undoubtedly our aim.

What are your thoughts on the inclement conditions predicted for tomorrow ?
There was a light shower before qualifying today and our forecasts suggest that any rainfall tomorrow will be of a similar intensity rather than that of the heavy downpour which seems to be imminent this evening. We’re confident in the pace of the car both in wet and dry trim and have opted for a setup which keeps the potential weather variations in mind. It’s looking like being an intermediate start, but you never know what can happen here and there have been some spectacular storms in the past. Either way, we’re prepared for whatever the skies may throw at us.

Sunday 25 November 2012

Lotus F1 Team secured fourth position in the 2012 FIA Formula 1 Constructors’ World Championship with over twice the points tally of nearest rival Mercedes, with Kimi Räikkönen taking third in the Drivers’ Championship after an eventful end to the twenty-race season in Brazil.

Kimi finished in tenth place after an incident-filled mixed weather event, whilst Romain Grosjean exited the race in a 9.5g impact accident after leaving the track on lap 6.

Kimi started on scrubbed medium compound tyres, pitting on lap 5 for intermediates, lap 19 for fresh mediums and finally lap 53 for a second set of intermediates
Romain started on hard compound tyres
Kimi has scored points in all but one race this season, and is the only driver to finish every Grand Prix.

Kimi Räikkönen, P10, E20-05
"It was a busy race and we didn’t have the pace we wanted all the time. There was certainly a lot going on. I went off at the last corner on lap fifty-two as I couldn’t see well with my visor being dirty and fogged up. Where I went off you can get back on the track by going through the support race pit lane, but you have to go through a gate. I know this as I did the same thing in 2001 and the gate was open that year. Somebody closed it this time. Next year I’ll make sure it’s open again."

Romain Grosjean, DNF, E20-03
"I’m a little bit shaken but otherwise not too bad. Everything was nicely under control at the start of the race then it all ended very suddenly at turn eleven. It was a strange one ; I could see it was raining a bit more so I was taking it even easier than on the lap before, then suddenly the car just went from underneath me and that was it. I’ve not had much luck this weekend and that’s definitely not the way I wanted to end the season, but overall it’s been a good year and hopefully there will be many better days to come."

Eric Boullier, Team Principal
"That was obviously a very dramatic race to end the season ; not the one we would have expected and not really the one we would have wanted on track. The conclusion of the championship is good ; fourth was our target and we’ve achieved that by a considerable margin. On top of that we’ve been fighting with the leading teams right to the end of the year. For Kimi to take third in the Drivers’ Championship is a really great achievement after being away for two years and a testament not only to the car we gave him, but to the team for their support. We scored our first win with the Lotus name and achieved a good number of podiums over the year, so overall it’s been a very good season. I can only thank everyone at Enstone and everyone at Renault ; I’m very proud to be a part of this effort. Our progress is very promising for next year. With the continuity and stability we have I’m sure we’ll be fighting for podiums again in 2013.

In terms of the bigger picture, we must of course send our congratulations to Sebastian Vettel who joins the sport’s greats as a triple World Champion. A mention also for the fine efforts of another former Enstone champion – Fernando Alonso – who drove superbly all season. Finally, we say a very fond farewell to another of the finest drivers around in Michael Schumacher. It’s always a big thing when a multiple champion leaves the sport, and Michael has achieved great things over many years, including two Drivers’ Championships for Enstone. We wish him all the very best for the future"

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director
"It was an incident-packed race which ended early for Romain who spun off very early in the damp conditions. Kimi had a very tricky race including a couple of spins and problems with his visor, so not the ideal day and a tough weekend overall. Looking at the season, we’re happy with P3 in the Drivers’ Championship for Kimi and P4 in the Constructors’ Championship for the team. Our target was fourth and we’ve easily achieved that, but perhaps even more encouraging is that at one stage it looked as if we could challenge for third or maybe even higher. I’m sure Kimi would have rather won the championship but it was certainly a very respectable comeback."

Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader
"What a hard race today, in every sense of the word. Kimi’s points give him third in the championship, plus make him the only driver to finish every race this season. It also shows the ongoing durability and performance of the Viry-Enstone partnership. It’s a very positive way to end what has been a very successful season, with one win and 303 points to our credit."