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23 July  2012

German Grand Prix 2012 - comments from Lotus F1 Team

Friday 20 July 2012

Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean took to the Hockenheim circuit today for the first practice sessions ahead of Sunday’s German Grand Prix. In mixed wet and dry conditions the team assessed a number of aerodynamic developments as well as conducting the usual Friday programme.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director - Technical programme notes :
Pirelli’s developmental hard tyre and the regular medium compound rubber were used in the morning.
The intermediate and wet tyres were used in the afternoon.
Aside from the more obvious development tested on Kimi’s car, the team also assessed a number of other aerodynamic updates.

What we learned today :
Our aerodynamic upgrades look to be doing what they should.
The prototype aero concept trialled on Kimi’s car worked as expected.


Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05
Free practice 1 : P15, 1:18.831, 14 laps
Free practice 2 : P10, 1:29.327, 22 laps

Kimi : “We didn’t learn a lot today with the weather conditions as they were ; it was like Silverstone when we also didn’t have very good conditions. We tried a few different things which I think some people noticed. It would have been nice to have some more dry track time but you can’t do anything about that. The track does feel quite slippery when it’s wet ; it’s definitely not very grippy in these conditions. Overall, it was a pretty normal Friday when you try different things and get as much running as the weather allows.”


Romain Grosjean, E20-04
Free practice 1 : P10, 1:18.130, 21 laps
Free practice 2 : P5, 1:28.420, 20 laps

Romain : “It was a difficult session with the rain coming down. It looks like we’ll have more wet running tomorrow so it was good to get a feel for the wet and intermediate tyres. We had a few things we were hoping to test in dry conditions but unfortunately this was not the case. If we get to Sunday without any dry laps then people won’t have so much of an idea about tyre degradation and the difference between the compounds, which may help me starting further back on the grid with the penalty. Either way, we now have a good base line setup from today and hopefully this will help bring us a decent result at the end of the weekend.”


Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director :
“We saw a tricky first session with track conditions changing a lot due to intermittent rain, which didn’t aid the learning process regarding our new parts. The afternoon was far more productive as the wet conditions were reasonably consistent. We looked at both the intermediate and wet tyres in the second session to give us some good data if qualifying or the race are run in similar conditions, and also assessed a variety of set-ups and tyre pressures. Both cars ran with aero updates, which were rather more visible on one car than the other. We’ve seen encouraging signs from our latest prototype concept and although we won’t race it here, it’s likely to make another appearance during practice in Budapest.”

Saturday 21 July 2012

After demonstrating a promisingly brisk car in dry conditions, Kimi Räikkönen claimed tenth position during a rain afflicted qualifying session for tomorrow’s German Grand Prix, while Romain Grosjean was fifteenth fastest but will start in twentieth position due to a penalty for a gearbox change.

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05. Q : P10, 1:45.811. FP3 : P4, 1:16.238
“We weren’t fast in the wet today for some reason and we need to look at why that was. I wasn’t able to get any grip from the tyres, even when we tried a fresh set of wets half way through the final qualifying session. In the dry the car is very good and in the races our car usually has strong pace. Let’s hope for some dry weather tomorrow and see what happens.”

Romain Grosjean, E20-04. Q : P15, 1.40.574 FP3 : P11 1:16.962
“The rain seemed to come at the wrong time for me ; it always was at its heaviest when I was trying to go for a quick lap. It was certainly difficult out there to find enough grip and not to get held up by other cars. It’s difficult to understand why I was so far behind Kimi in qualifying when I’ve been very close to him during the rest of the weekend. I’ve got it all to do tomorrow and I’ll be working hard with my engineers to ensure we’ve got the quickest car and the best strategy to go for some points.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director :
“A frustrating session.”

How do you assess today’s qualifying performance ?
“Qualifying was a frustrating session. In the dry we looked to be comfortably one of the quickest cars out there, but as soon as it rained we really struggled with both. We will obviously investigate why we weren’t able to extract any pace at the crucial time today.”

What can be done in the race ?
“The forecast is for a dry race and we are confident in our pace in those conditions, particularly over a race distance. Kimi can still have a good race from P10 on the grid and we’re looking at the strategy options for him. Romain has more work to do from P20, but it’s a relatively easy track in terms of overtaking with DRS so we can still achieve a good result.”

What can be achieved by Romain from the back of the grid ?
“Romain has his work cut out, but in dry conditions he’s likely to have one of the fastest cars on the track. We’ll be doing everything we can to give him the best strategy to move up the order and that’s certainly his objective for the race.”

Sunday 22 July 2012

Lotus F1 Team finished in a fighting fourth with Kimi Räikkönen at the German Grand Prix, whilst Romain Grosjean battled back from first lap wing and tyre damage to finish in eighteenth position at the Hockenheim circuit this afternoon. Despite having yet to join the list of seven race winners thus far this season, Kimi moves up to an impressive fourth place in the Driver’s Championship whilst Romain drops a spot to eighth. The team also moves down one place to fourth in the Constructors’ Championship, just one point off third position.

Both drivers started on new soft compound Pirelli tyres.
Romain stopped on lap 1 to replace his front wing and change to new medium compound tyres.
Romain pitted again on lap 24 for a further set of mediums and a third time on lap 42 for softs.
Kimi stopped on lap 11 for soft compound and lap 38 for new medium compound tyres.

Kimi Räikkönen, P4, E20-05
"We did the best we could today from the position we started. My start was okay, but then I think Lewis [Hamilton] had a problem in front of me and I had to slow down to avoid hitting the back of his car. This let Paul [Di Resta] through in the DRS zone and from there we had a big hill to climb as it was tricky to get back past. Maybe if we had found a bit more pace in the wet yesterday we could have started higher and pushed the leaders, but it is what it is. For sure we were hoping for a bit better here, but the car worked well all through the race and we still brought home some good points for the team so there are some positives to take to the next race.”

Romain Grosjean, P18, E20-04
“We were on the back foot from the outset after the grid penalty and nothing went right today. It’s a shame as I had a good start and took a few places in the first corner. Then on the straight there was contact and that was the race pretty much ruined for me. I’m not sure exactly what happened – we’ll have to look at the on-board footage to get a better idea – but my car was badly damaged with a broken front wing and a puncture. By the time I managed to get back to the pits the race was as good as over. You never want to have these kind of weekends, but it happens. It will make us enjoy the next good race even more.”

Eric Boullier, Team Principal
"We saw a great recovery from Kimi after yesterday’s issues. It was a very strong and experienced drive coupled with a good strategy from the team. Starting in tenth and nineteenth positions we were always going to have our work cut out, so it’s good to see Kimi score big points again and display strong race pace. With Romain it was a difficult first lap and he had to fight with a damaged car from then on. We have all seen him have very good weekends, so we need to ensure that he has solid weekends even when circumstances mean he starts from the back of the grid. As a team we had the same pace as the frontrunners so there is no question about our capacity to score podiums and maybe a win one day.”

Alan Permane, Director of Trackside Operations
“Romain was compromised by his first lap incident which severely damaged his floor, losing him a lot of downforce. With Kimi moving tenth to fourth we saw the strategy work as we wanted it to. We were hoping to be able to get on the podium but the first few laps cost a bit too much time. Ultimately we could run at the pace of the leaders, but we were just too far back to make the top three today. It’s a familiar story we know all too well ; we have to qualify better to get stronger results. The wet weather of Saturday really hurt us in qualifying here, so hopefully we can bounce back in Budapest and do a good job.”

Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader
“Hockenheim is a tough race on engines, with high top speeds around the first part of the lap but a twistier section in the back stadium section. Fuel consumption is also very high which was something we needed to watch throughout the race. It was a great performance from Kimi. He had the same pace as the top three, but starting in tenth he was not going to be able to realistically fight for the lead. Romain had a long race after the first lap incident so we decided to run some safer engine settings to be able to be more aggressive in the race where the engine will be used next.”