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8 October  2012

Lotus F1 Team comments on the Japanese Fromula One Grand Prix

Friday, 5 October 2012

Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean conducted setup evaluation runs and upgrade evaluations during the first day of running at the fabulous Suzuka circuit today. Under glorious skies both cars ran reliably in the morning, however Kimi suffered a coolant-leak induced KERS issue in the afternoon meaning he missed most of the session.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director - Technical programme notes :

We ran updated front wings on both cars today.
In the morning we ran the DDRS Device on Kimi’s car and an updated rear wing on Romain’s. In the afternoon, both cars used non DDRS rear wings.
The Singapore-spec floor was evaluated on both cars.
Pirelli’s hard compound tyre was used in the morning, the hard and soft in the afternoon.

What we learned today :
We were not able to get ‘The Device’ functioning at a sufficient level for it to be used over the rest of the weekend.
We made good progress dialling in the new floor as well as both the front and rear wings, which will all remain on the car for the rest of the weekend.

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05
Free practice 1 : P13, 1:35.691, 22 laps
Free practice 2 : P14, 1:34.291, 12 laps

Kimi :
“We didn’t get much running because of the issue with the KERS, but at least it happened today and we got it fixed. It wasn’t ideal for helping us find the best setup but there’s nothing you can do about these things. Suzuka is not the easiest place to get the car set up, but we still have tomorrow’s practice before qualifying. I think we have the potential to be nearer the front than we have done in the last couple of races.”

Romain Grosjean, E20-03
Free practice 1 : P14, 1:35.724, 21 laps
Free practice 2 : P6, 1:33.107, 35 laps

Romain :
“Not a bad day overall. The car felt much better in the afternoon than it did this morning ; we’re still not quite where we want to be but the team has been working hard and hopefully we’ll make a similar step forward tomorrow. Suzuka is not an easy track on the car ; the demands on the tyres are really high but the car felt consistent with both compounds which is a big positive. It’s hard to say if P6 is the kind of position we’ll be in qualifying ; there are definitely still a few tenths we can find so let’s see what happens tomorrow.”

James Allison, Technical Director :
“We suffered a disrupted day with Kimi’s car but despite that we’ve achieved a reasonable amount. We evaluated ‘The Device’ in the morning but were unable to make it switch effectively so we won’t be using it for the rest of the weekend. Romain suffered from understeer in the morning and by the time we had put this right he had already used up the best performance from his tyres. In the afternoon, with a better set up, he showed that there’s still a reasonable turn of speed in the E20. We look in OK shape on both the hard and soft rubber as well as on high fuel, and we feel there is more to come from the car tomorrow ahead of Qualifying.”

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Romain Grosjean will start the Japanese Grand Prix from P5 on the grid with Kimi Räikkönen in P8 after Saturday’s qualifying session at Suzuka. Both cars progressed easily through to the top 10 Q3 session, however Kimi span on his fast lap.

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05. Q : P8, 1:32.208. FP3 : P12, 1:33.224
“I spun. I was on a good lap and I was pushing - maybe a little too hard – and lost the rear. It’s a shame as the car feels the best it has all weekend. If the car’s good tomorrow we should be able to move forwards. Let’s see what happens.”

Romain Grosjean, E20-03. Q : P5, 1:31.898. FP3 : P7 1:33.008
“Yesterday we had two tricky sessions, so to have both cars in Q3 is a good recovery. We knew it would be very tight in qualifying and I think we could maybe have been one place higher with a cleaner run through the first sector, but the leaders were too quick today. We’re lacking a little bit of downforce at the moment, but with a few minor adjustments overnight and the right strategy I think we can take home a good haul of points tomorrow.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director :
“Not bad but we could have done better.”

How do you assess today’s qualifying performance ?
“We had the pace to get both cars further up the grid. Kimi spun off on a new set of tyres which hampered his progress and Romain didn’t have a great first sector on his qualifying lap so he could have maybe been a place higher, but overall, it’s been a reasonable weekend so far.”

How are we looking for the race ?
“We’re comfortable with the E20’s performance on a full fuel load and over long runs so we’re looking forward to the race and hopeful that we can gain positions from where we start. Suzuka is pretty demanding on the tyres and we have shown well in this area previously, so there’s certainly potential.”

How do the different tyre compounds perform here ?
“We know these tyres pretty well. For qualifying there was a reasonable difference in pace, but for the race it’s likely to be more even.”

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Kimi Räikkönen came home a solid sixth, maintaining his third position in the Drivers’ Championship, whilst Romain Grosjean finished a classified 19th after retiring from 15th position on track after an eventful Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. The team remains fourth in the Constructors’ Championship with increased gaps of 103 points to Mercedes behind and 24 to Ferrari ahead.

Both drivers started on Pirelli’s soft compound tyres.
Kimi pitted for his first set of hard compound tyres on lap 13, then his second on lap 30.
Romain pitted for hard compound tyres and a new front wing on lap 1, served a ten second stop and go penalty on lap 7, then took another set of hards on lap 22.

Kimi Räikkönen, P6, E20-05
"Sixth wasn’t the result we were hoping for but unfortunately we didn’t have the speed to do better today. The start was very tight ; I was alongside Fernando [Alonso] straight away and he kept moving further across until there was nowhere left go. We lost some time there and our second pit stop wasn’t the best, so overall it was quite a difficult race. The good thing is we still managed to score points to stay in touch in the championship."

Romain Grosjean, DNF / Classified 19th, E20-03
"Ever since I came back in Singapore my priority has been to be very cautious at the start, and I was watching Sergio [Perez] on my left to make sure there was no contact with him. There was quite a big speed difference between me and Mark [Webber] as I came into the first corner which caught me by surprise and we collided. It was a stupid mistake. Mark [Webber] came to see me after the race and was obviously not happy, but I apologised and we have to move on. We’ll sit down and look at things again before the next race to see what we can do to improve these situations. In the last few laps of the race the tyres were at the end of their life and we were out of the points, so it made sense to retire. Not a good day, but we have to look ahead to Korea and a chance to make amends."

Eric Boullier, Team Principal
"Obviously, it hasn’t gone as well as we expected. We could see in Singapore, when Romain was back on track, that the other drivers were putting some pressure on him at the start. Here it was a little bit easier, but he made a small mistake misjudging his pace compared with Mark, which was a bit higher. I think he has made some progress, but it’s unfortunate that this has happened again in these circumstances. With Kimi, the car’s pace was not as good as we were expecting. Starting seventh we had higher hopes, but if you don’t have the pace completely it doesn’t work well. We couldn’t put everything together in order to make his race more successful and gain more places."

James Allison, Technical Director
"The best thing that can be said about this event is that we scored some more points, but it’s certainly not been the weekend we hoped for on Friday, nor the one we expected after Saturday. We’re disappointed that Kimi had to race whilst looking in his mirrors rather than attacking those ahead and we need to face the fact that we need more performance from the E20 if we are to move up in the Constructors’ Championship rather than resting on our very secure fourth position. It would have been much better for us to have scored points with both cars but sadly a first lap incident for Romain put paid to that."

Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader
"The combination of corners and wide open throttle time at Suzuka makes the circuit a challenge for the engines so we introduced new units on both cars to maximise power and torque available. We had a trouble-free event on this front and will re-use the same engines in Korea. Kimi has not had the best of weekends so getting eight more points today is very positive and keeps him third in the championship. We look forward to Korea in just a week’s time."