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11 June 2012

Lotus F1 Team comments on the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix

Friday, 8 June

Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean took to the track for the first practice sessions at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montréal ahead of Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix. A dry morning session was filled with running in anticipation of a wet afternoon. The afternoon yielded a dry session too; the rain not coming until immediately afterwards.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director - Technical programme notes

In FP1 we attempted to condense the programmes of both FP1 and FP2 into a single session. The red flag period interrupted this somewhat.
Some of the expected rain came before the FP2 session, but not sufficiently to disrupt running so we were able to complete a good number of laps, despite another red flag period.
We evaluated our new Montréal specification rear wing and ran race simulations.

What we learned today:
Our base setup appears to work solidly, with the Montréal specification rear wing delivering the expected performance.
We are still working on refining the setup to ensure both drivers are happy.
Our position in the times does not reflect our pace due to the different programme we ran today.

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-03
Free practice 1: P15, 1:17.014, 42 laps
Free practice 2: P15, 1:16.652, 33 laps

Kimi: “It was an okay day for us. We expected rain in the afternoon so we used the super soft tyres in the morning to make sure we could do some long runs, and we completed everything we needed to do today as the rain didn’t come until later. I’m not 100% happy with my setup and I think we’re missing a trick somewhere. It’s not a major issue, but I know we can go faster. Let’s see how it goes tomorrow, anything can happen and hopefully it’s a little warmer as that usually seems to help.”

Romain Grosjean, E20-04
Free practice 1: P14, 1:16.890, 36 laps
Free practice 2: P14, 1:16.360, 29 laps

Romain: “Today was my first time at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and I really enjoyed it. It’s not an easy track, and the weather wasn’t what we’re expecting for the rest of the weekend so it’s a shame not to get some running in warmer conditions. We’ve spent a lot of time learning how the car behaves here and trying a few different things with the setup. We have a good amount of data, but obviously we’ll need to work just as hard tomorrow if the temperatures are higher. The car felt good and we did a few laps on the super soft tyres as well, so overall it was quite a useful day.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
“We ran the option tyres in first practice with some high fuel loads. The rain held off so we ended up running just one set of tyres for second practice which is why our times looked a little bit slower than others’. Neither driver was 100% happy with their car, so we spent some time working with setup changes. Romain felt his car was a little too biased to the front, but he was much happier with the changes made. Kimi paid attention to improving his car over the kerbs as it was a little bit too harsh to start with; steadily improving through the day. I’m confident our finishing positions in FP2 will not reflect where we’ll be in qualifying tomorrow.”

Saturday, 9 June

Romain Grosjean set the seventh fastest time whilst Kimi Räikkönen suffered a hydraulic issue which prevented him from climbing higher than twelfth during qualifying for tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-03. Q: P12, 1:14.734. FP3: P9, 1:14.997
“Obviously it’s disappointing to go out in Q2 but we had some issues with the differential which meant the car wasn’t handling as it should. When the grid is so tight it makes a big difference not having the car exactly as you like it. Still, we had no issues on the long runs yesterday, we have options to choose from with the tyres, and the warmer weather is definitely suiting us better so hopefully we can put everything right before tomorrow and go from there. The race is where it counts, so let’s see what we can do.”

Romain Grosjean, E20-04. Q: P7, 1:14.645. FP3: P8 1:14.873
“For sure we wanted a bit more from qualifying but this is a tricky circuit to get right, and the big variation between conditions yesterday and today didn’t help. The warmer temperatures definitely suited us more but not quite as well as we thought. The car felt pretty strong but my last run could have been better, which is a shame. Still, making it through to Q3 is never a bad thing and it’s a long race tomorrow. Our car has been quite easy on tyres so far this season and hopefully that could make the difference. Last time I started in P7 we ended up on the podium, so let’s hope it can happen again tomorrow!”

Alan Permane, Director of Trackside Operations:
“Good, but not great...”

How do you assess today’s qualifying performance?
“We had a problem with the hydraulics on Kimi’s car in the session which meant the differential was not working properly, so he did a good job to qualify where he did. Romain went through to the final qualifying session comfortably and then did a really good first timed lap in that session on scrubbed tyres. The new tyres didn’t give him the grip and confidence he expected and his lap on these wasn’t any faster. It’s unusual that we would have a warm-up issue here in these conditions, but we’ll be looking at everything to understand what happened.”

How difficult has it been to read the track here?
“The track was very dirty after yesterday’s rain so we saw a lot of evolution today, though it wasn’t particularly tricky to predict. Having said that we’ve had a little bit more trouble than usual setting the cars up; just finding the right balance with the heavy breaking here, making it comfortable enough into the corner and not having too much understeer mid-corner. Certainly with Romain it’s fair to say that he’s not as comfortable as he normally is with his car”

Could Kimi’s hydraulic problem in qualifying carry over into the race?
“I have no doubt that we’ll resolve Kimi’s issue for tomorrow. We can see the symptoms clearly on the data and we recognised it very early on. We informed Kimi that there was a problem during qualifying. It wasn’t something we could easily remedy during the session but I’m very confident that we’ll find the problem overnight and fix it.”

What are the strategy considerations for tomorrow?
“In terms of strategy we’ll be assessing different options. Tyre degradation is very low here, so we could see a few teams attempt a one stop race. Overtaking is very much possible here with the long straights and the DRS; it won’t be easy by any means but certainly simpler than in Monaco.”

Sunday, 11 June

Lotus F1 Team returned to the podium with a superb performance from Romain Grosjean, the Frenchman clinching his best Formula 1 result to date by climbing from seventh on the grid to second place in a searing Canadian Grand Prix. Kimi Räikkönen rose from twelfth on the grid to eighth at the chequered flag, helping the team move eleven points ahead of Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship. Lotus F1 Team have now scored more points from the seven races thus far in 2012 than during the entirety of the 2011 season.

Romain started on used super softs and changed to new softs on lap 21.
Kimi started on new softs and changed to new super softs on lap 40.
The team is now the second highest scoring team over the last four races and have the second highest number of podiums this season.

Kimi Räikkönen, P8, E20-03
“The car was a bit better in the race than it was in qualifying. I seemed to get stuck behind people a few times. The DRS zone is not very long, and it’s still a difficult battle if the car ahead of you is also using the DRS. We had a chance to do a bit better, but it didn’t quite all come together today. We scored points again so that’s always a good thing, especially this season. Qualifying yesterday wasn’t perfect so obviously that left us with more work to do. If you start further forward it’s easier to finish higher up the order. We’ll try to achieve that in the next race.”

Romain Grosjean, P2, E20-04
“It’s been a great day for the team. It was an incredible race and the one stop strategy worked perfectly for us. It wasn’t an easy race, but we wanted to be aggressive to achieve a good result. Yesterday was a bit disappointing, but we learnt a lot from Friday to Saturday and the fruits of all these lessons were seen today. It wasn’t easy to manage the second set of tyres for so long, but it worked so I’ll happily do that again for another result like today. It’s fantastic to finish in second position on my first visit to Montreal, hopefully I will finish in first on my second time! I would like to thank the entire team for the amazing job we’ve done this weekend”

Eric Boullier, Team Principal
"Today’s result is due to very good team work and keeping focused on the task at hand. The E20 was very well setup for the race, our strategies worked for both cars to finish much higher than they started and both drivers drove superbly. Romain drove an excellent race and P2 is superb for the whole team, especially everyone at Enstone who keeps pushing to develop every area of the car. We know that if we can get more in qualifying we will be able to achieve even better things in the races, so that is our task ahead.”

Alan Permane, Director of Trackside Operations
“Today all went very much to plan. Coming into the race we were fairly confident that we could do a one stop strategy; it would be a bit tight on the tyres, but it was clear from Friday that the tyres had the pace and the durability to do one stop. Today was a lot hotter, and we had a fall back of a two stop strategy, which we didn’t need. Romain did everything he needed today and it’s a well deserved result. For Kimi we used the opposite tyre strategy from Romain by starting him on the soft tyre and it worked for him to finish four places higher than he started in what was a very competitive race. It’s two very solid drives we’ve had today so we’re very happy to bounce back from Monaco in emphatic fashion. ”

Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader
“A fantastic double points finish for the team with a career-best result for Romain. It was not an easy race as fuel consumption was difficult to gauge on Friday, but we took a risk to go very aggressive and it was the right choice: Romain’s pace in the last few laps was impressive. Congratulations to all as the result moves us ahead of Ferrari in the championship now.”