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9 July  2012

Lotus F1 Team comments on the British Grand Prix 2012

  • Friday 6 June 2012

Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean took to the Silverstone track briefly today for the first practice sessions ahead of Sunday’s British Grand Prix. The day’s running programme was beset by persistent and continual rain which meant only Pirelli’s wet weather tyres were used.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director - Technical programme notes :

We ran evaluations of our wet weather setup, completing a limited number of laps with both cars because of the inclement conditions.
Both cars ran Pirelli’s full wet tyre, with Kimi completing limited running on the intermediate tyre at the end of the second practice session.

What we learned today :
Our base wet weather setup appears to work well at Silverstone.

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05
Free practice 1 : P16, 2:00.253, 6 laps
Free practice 2 : P8, 1:58.897, 8 laps

Kimi :
“It was wet. It’s a shame we don’t have more wet tyres to be able to get more track time, but if it’s going to rain for the whole weekend then everybody tries to save their allocation. We were able to test certain things so it wasn’t a total waste of time. It was interesting to see the new section of the track ; it’s only a few corners so it doesn’t make too much difference to a lap. Hopefully tomorrow the weather will be a bit better. Even if it is wet again, everyone will go out in practice and in qualifying so we should see a drier line emerge. When there are only a couple of cars running this doesn’t happen and there’s much more chance of aquaplaning, but with everyone out there it should be much better.”

Romain Grosjean, E20-04
Free practice 1 : P1, 1:56.552, 13 laps
Free practice 2 : P21, No time set, 0 laps

Romain :
“It wasn’t the busiest day ever due to the weather conditions but still FP1 went well. The car looks to be good and consistent. We tested a few new aero parts which have worked pretty well. I also learnt that the old part of the circuit has a bit more grip than the new part. At the end of FP1 this morning it was incredibly wet and the same conditions at the start of FP2 so we had to wait and be patient. I would have liked to have more track time but due to the regulations on tyres we didn’t want to use up all our wet tyre allocation as more rain is expected on Saturday and Sunday. We looked at putting inters on but it wasn’t dry enough so we couldn’t really do many laps this afternoon. The conditions were a shame for the fans out there who came to watch us today, but we always appreciate their support.”

James Allison, Technical Director :
“It’s never too much fun in conditions like we saw today as it is always a big dilemma about whether to risk the car to learn about what it is like to run in the conditions. We haven’t done a lot of wet weather running this year so it was useful for us to establish that the car behaves well in these conditions, especially as it may well be wet in the race. We were able to validate that all the wings are doing what they are supposed to do, even when the car is wet, and we did that with both drivers. Our pace in the morning showed that we don’t have any problems in these conditions. We were also able to conduct some pit stop practices which went well. Tomorrow and qualifying should be interesting.”

  • Saturday 7 June 2012

Kimi Räikkönen qualified in sixth position whilst Romain Grosjean qualified tenth after a rain-interrupted qualifying at Silverstone for tomorrow’s British Grand Prix. Romain will line up in ninth position on the grid thanks to a penalty for a car ahead.

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05. Q : P6, 1:53.290. FP3 : P5, 1:32.454
“We made a slightly wrong decision by using the full wet and I only had one lap in the restarted final qualifying session with the intermediates, otherwise I think it was possible to have gone faster. We also had a problem with the KERS which we tried to fix during the red flag break. We’re in sixth place, which is certainly not a disaster ; but it could have been better. The weather makes it a bit tricky for everybody. It’s not easy, especially with the spray and this is even more difficult in race conditions when everyone is fighting for the same piece of track. On the plus side for the fans, it’s good fun to watch, even if it’s not the nicest weather if you’re in a grandstand.”

Romain Grosjean, E20-04. Q : P10, No time set in Q3. FP3 : P3, 1:32.358
“It’s frustrating and I’m very sorry for the team as it looks like we had a strong car, but sometimes mistakes happen. My lap was not much different from the previous lap but it was different enough for me to go off and the car went backwards into the gravel and then it was stranded. It was very slippery. We deserved better, but we will do our best tomorrow to gain positions to get some good points. It will be a long race and starting position doesn’t mean as much if there are variable conditions. There’s also a benefit from not making it into Q3 as I have a fresh set of intermediate tyres. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.”

Alan Permane, Director of Trackside Operations :
“We’re certainly ready for any race conditions.”

How do you assess today’s qualifying performance ?
“We’re disappointed with qualifying in sixth and tenth today. Romain made a mistake after going fifth fastest in Q2 so was unable to demonstrate any of his pace in the top ten qualifying group. With Kimi it looks like we should have used intermediates sooner in the restarted session, but that is something which is easy to say with hindsight but difficult to judge at the time.”

How much did Kimi’s KERS issue in qualifying hamper him ?
“In the wet conditions we experienced, the lack of KERS would have cost him a couple of tenths. With the KERS functioning it could have been possible to be a position further forwards on the grid. That said, being on the correct tyres and crossing the line to be the last driver on a flying lap would have yielded far more time. We took advantage of the rain delay to change everything we could to rectify the KERS issue, but were unable to do so in the time available. We don’t expect it to be an issue in tomorrow’s race.”

How confident are we in the different weather conditions we’ve seen so far ?
“It looks like there will be showers again so we need to be prepared to run any of the four different tyres available from Pirelli. From what we’ve seen so far this weekend, we’d prefer it to be dry, as we looked competitive in this morning’s dry practice session with Romain on the hard tyre. If it is dry, the hard compound looks to be the favoured race tyre, but if it’s wet we’re certainly ready for any race conditions.”

  • Sunday 8 July 2012

A ding-dong battle between the two Lotus F1 Team drivers over who would claim the fastest lap of the British Grand Prix was just the back story to an eventful race, which saw both E20s place well inside the top ten to claim a good haul of points for the team on the home soil of Silverstone

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05

Grid: P6
Race: P5
Fastest Lap: 1:34.661 [Lap 50]

Romain Grosjean, E20-04

Grid: P9
Race: P6
Fastest Lap: 1:34.884 [Lap 50]

(More comments to follow soon, as these become available)