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10 September  2012

Lotus F1 Team comments on the Italian Grand Prix 2012


Friday, 7 september 2012

Kimi Räikkönen and Jérôme D’Ambrosio took to the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza in glorious conditions today for the first practice sessions ahead of Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.

Jérôme – who is standing in for the team’s regular driver Romain Grosjean whilst he serves a one race ban – notched up a total of 65 laps as he completed his first Grand Prix sessions since the 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director – Technical programme notes :

Dry conditions enabled us to complete a full programme today.
Pirelli’s hard tyres were used in the morning.
Pirelli’s hard and medium tyres were used in the afternoon with long runs undertaken on both.

What we learned today :
We’re pretty happy with the car on both low and high fuel.
Jérôme acquainted himself admirably on track.

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05
Free practice 1 : P7, 1:26.046, 25 laps
Free practice 2 : P6, 1:25.504, 42 laps

Kimi :
“It was an okay day. We tried a few different things with no issues and I’m happy with the car. Our long run pace was not too bad and we weren’t too far away from the fastest lap set today either. There aren’t many corners here, but running with low downforce means the grip is not as good under braking and cornering through the chicanes. It’s not easy to get the perfect lap here but maybe we can improve tomorrow ; we shall see.”

Jérôme D’Ambrosio, E20-03
Free practice 1 : P15, 1:27.180, 29 laps
Free practice 2 : P12, 1:26.157, 36 laps

Jérôme :
“Today went pretty well overall and it feels good to be back in the car. It’s not an easy task stepping in at the last minute ; there’s a lot to take in and with a low downforce track like Monza it can be quite tricky to find the limit, but we completed a busy schedule and put in a lot of laps which is a good start. It’s difficult to say where we are right now, but we made steady progress between the two sessions and my aim for tomorrow is to take another step forwards and see where we go from there. So far so good.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director :
“It’s nice to have a straight-forward Friday with dry running ; it’s our first for a while ! The lower downforce here means we focused on the various compromises ; getting the car to work in the corners, balancing the need for a soft car to ride the kerbs versus a stiff car to enable high speed change of direction and so on. We feel we’ve made good progress with the running we’ve had. Jérôme has done a great job ; chipping away at the time difference between him and Kimi without any problems while absorbing all the procedures and information we’ve thrown at him.”

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Kimi Räikkönen and Jérôme D’Ambrosio will start the Italian Grand Prix from P7 and P15 respectively at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza tomorrow. Jérôme set the sixteenth fastest time today but gains a position thanks to a penalty for Pastor Maldonado, while Kimi notched the eighth quickest lap but also gains a place courtesy of a penalty for Paul di Resta. Despite not dazzling on paper this afternoon, the team is confident that the E20’s downforce levels and efficient tyre usage will bring a stronger result in the race.

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05. Q : P8, 1:24.855, Grid P7. FP3 : P8, 1:25.255
“We didn’t have the speed today but at least we are in the top ten. We’ve been in more or less the same position all weekend so today’s pace was not a big surprise. It’s a long race and usually we are a bit stronger in race conditions. It is possible to overtake here so let’s see what happens tomorrow. ”

Jérôme D’Ambrosio, E20-03. Q : P16, 1:25.408, Grid P15. FP3 : P17 1:25.973
“I have mixed feelings really to be honest. I progressed through to Q2 but it’s frustrating not to have done a bit better as I’m really close in the second and third sectors but I’ve struggling a bit in the first since yesterday. About 60-70% of the difference to Kimi is lost there, so there’s a lot of time to be found in just two corners ; we need to work on that for tomorrow. There’s a lot to take in for me this weekend so it’s not too bad, but I would have liked a bit more.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director :
“P6 was our target ; we missed it by half a tenth.”

How do you assess today’s qualifying performance ?
“We’re a little disappointed with where we are on the grid for tomorrow’s race, as P6 was our target with Kimi’s car and we missed that by just half a tenth. Kimi had Fernando [Alonso] ahead of his for his last run, which should have given him a nice tow. Unfortunately though, Fernando was not fast on that lap and we were too close to him in the Ascari chicane which cost about a tenth and a half. That’s qualifying sometimes.”

What can be achieved in the race ?
“We’re confident that – with the amount of downforce we have on the car – we can have a strong race. Our tyre degradation is generally less than some of our rivals so that should assist us too. We’re pretty confident we can put in a decent performance and score some good points.”

How was Jérôme’s first qualifying session for the team ?
“It’s been a steep learning curve for him and he’s done a good job. It’s going to be a difficult race for him tomorrow with the low downforce specification on the car, especially pushing through the chicanes in this configuration. We hope that his progressive improvement over the weekend so far will continue through the race, as anything can happen tomorrow.”

How do the different tyre compounds perform here ?
“Both compounds are very close together. The medium slightly had the edge for qualifying today, yet it also showed pretty low degradation when we used it for long runs on Friday.”

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Kimi Räikkönen scored a strong fifth place in the Italian Grand Prix to move him into third position in the Drivers’ Championship after a hot and fast-paced race at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. Kimi is now just one point off second-placed Lewis Hamilton, whilst the team falls to fourth position in the Constructors’ Championship. Jérôme D’Ambrosio made an impressive race debut for the team, finishing in thirteenth place despite having no KERS for most of the race.

Kimi started on used medium compound Pirelli tyres, stopping on lap 17 for new hards.
Jérôme started on new hard compound tyres, stopping on lap 27 for new mediums.
Jérôme’s stop at 2.44 seconds was the team’s fastest-ever race pit stop.

Kimi Räikkönen, P5, E20-05
"It’s good to go into third position in the Drivers’ Championship but we lost some points to Fernando [Alonso] which is not ideal. It was a difficult weekend as we were too slow in a straight line, making it very difficult to hold off anyone and even with the DRS it was difficult to overtake the cars in front. We did the one stop strategy and the tyres were fine. We came into the race looking for sixth or seventh so fifth is the maximum we could have done here this weekend.”

Jérôme D’Ambrosio P13, E20-03
“It was a pretty long and difficult race for me today. After losing my KERS on lap 6 it was always going to be tough as that’s worth about half a second per lap around here. I got a good start and was up fighting with Daniel [Ricciardo] and Nico [Rosberg], but once I lost that extra boost it was impossible to keep up and I dropped back. My last stint on the medium tyres in clean air was pretty good and I didn’t make many mistakes, so maybe with a bit more luck we could have had a slightly better result. My main aim was to finish the race and I’ve achieved that so it’s not so bad overall. It was great to be back in the car and especially with such a fantastic team ; I’ve learnt a lot this weekend.”

Eric Boullier, Team Principal
"From this weekend I don’t think we could have expected better. The key to a good championship position at the end of the season is always scoring points, even when it is a difficult weekend. Kimi delivered exactly as we wanted from him today and moving to third in the standings is a just reward. We are still in contact with those ahead of us in both Championships with seven races to go. Jérôme did an amazing job after being thrown in at the deep end. Without his KERS issue I’m pretty sure he could have achieved a points finish. We are optimistic that from Singapore onwards we will be much more competitive due to the circuit layout and updates we have coming, meaning we will be able to score more points in every race.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director
“We weren’t looking forward to coming to Monza as it doesn’t play to the strengths of our car so we’re very happy to come away with fifth place from Kimi. He drove exceptionally well at a circuit where we knew we weren’t going to be super competitive. It’s fantastic that he has moved up into third place in the Drivers’ Championship, and is now just one point off second. Jérôme had one arm tied behind his back with a KERS failure very early in the race and KERS is worth a significant amount of time here. He did a very credible job despite this, and his pace on the medium compound tyre in the second part of the race was pretty good. We now move to a circuit which we feel should really suit our car so we’re looking forward to the fly-aways.”

Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader
“A very difficult race for us. Kimi did a fantastic job to finish in fifth ; he was flat out for the entire race. Jérôme finished his first race for the team, also performing well, despite having a KERS problem early on. We have to look at both of these issues and improve for Singapore.”