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14 October  2012

Lotus F1 Team comments on the Korean Fromula One Grand Prix

Friday, 12 October 2012

Kimi Räikkönen evaluated the team’s new Coandă exhaust system whilst Romain Grosjean ran through the usual programme of general setup work during the first day of running here at the Korea International Circuit. Both drivers made their inaugural appearance on Korean soil, running reliably through the two 90 minute practice sessions.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director - Technical programme notes

We ran the Coandă exhaust system on Kimi’s car for both sessions.
Romain ran with the Singapore generation rear wing for evaluation at the start of FP1, swapping to the Japan spec rear wing for the remainder of the day.
Pirelli’s soft compound tyre was used in the morning, the soft and super soft in the afternoon.

What we learned today :
The Coandă exhaust performed as expected aerodynamically.
Heavy fuel balance and tyre degradation levels were both promising.

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05
Free practice 1 : P11, 1:40.929, 14 laps
Free practice 2 : P10, 1:39.839, 26 laps

Kimi :
“The circuit is okay ; it’s surprisingly bumpy in some parts but it’s quite different from other places we race. It’s difficult for me to say about the exhaust until I’ve sat down with the engineers and gone through the data. We’ll try to improve the car for tomorrow as it wasn’t very easy to drive and get a good lap today. Let’s see if we can get it completely right and maybe we can be in the top five in qualifying.”

Romain Grosjean, E20-03
Free practice 1 : P8, 1:40.422, 22 laps
Free practice 2 : P11, 1:39.957, 28 laps

Romain :
“It’s not been the easiest day. I think we still have some work to do with the car to get the best out of the tyres so tomorrow morning will be important. The track is interesting but it’s not been so hard to learn. The trickiest part is definitely Turns 11 & 12 which are not easy to get exactly right but overall it’s not too bad. On the positive side we’ve had a good amount of time learning the circuit and gathered a lot of data, so hopefully we can analyse things overnight and see an improved performance by the time we get to qualifying.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director :
“We’re happy with how the new exhaust worked from a performance perspective and now need to assess if there are any potential reliability implications due to the hot exhaust gas running in different areas than usual. Early impressions are certainly good and we expect to retain it for the rest of the weekend with Kimi. Both drivers learnt the circuit very quickly. Romain complained of a little too much oversteer and with Kimi there’s still potential with the setup, especially as we learn more about the new exhaust. Both drivers reported that they were very happy with the balance of the car when on high fuel loads and degradation levels look manageable from the tyres so it’s been a productive first day.”

Saturday, 13 October 2012

A closely fought qualifying session at the Korea International Circuit saw Kimi Räikkönen clinch fifth position whilst using the team's new Coand exhaust system, while team-mate Romain Grosjean with start in seventh place on the grid for tomorrow's Korean Grand Prix.

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05. Q : P5, 1:37.625. FP3 : P5, 1:38.666
"Qualifying was okay and I think we did the best we could have done. We tried some different things on the car over the weekend and qualified in a reasonably good position, but of course you always want to go faster. The new exhaust system feels good ; you do lose a little horsepower from it but it's better on the aero side and you can't get something for nothing. The gap to the cars at the front is not too much so we'll try to do what we can

Romain Grosjean, E20-03. Q : P7, 1:37.934. FP3 : P4 1:38.582
"It was a bit of a strange qualifying session for me to be honest ; In Q1 the car felt nowhere, in Q2 it was good, then in Q3 it wasn't fantastic either so we need to spend some time analysing what happened. The track changed a little and the tyres felt slightly different so we need to understand that. For sure there will be a lot of attention on my start tomorrow ; know my objectives and I think we're capable of a good result."

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director :
"It looks like our new package is working as it should."

How do you assess today's qualifying performance ?
"We're reasonably happy with today's performance and it looks like our new package is working as it should. We've clearly taken a step forward and getting both cars solidly into Q3 is satisfying."

How did the new Coand exhaust system work ?
"We have made clear performance gains and there's still further improvement to come from it once we have optimised the set-up. Kimi had great pace in Q1 to go through with a single run on the soft tyre whereas Romain needed a set of the super softs to be sure of getting into Q2, but from then on we were confident of getting both cars into Q3. The advantage from the new Coand exhaust system on Kimi's car confirms that we will run it on both for the next race."

How do the different tyre compounds perform here ?
"After some difficulties with front tyre graining yesterday we now have both the soft and super soft compounds working well. We've seen track improvement and have also found a better set-up to make improvements in this area. Pirelli say one stop is possible, which is something we'll have a good close look at."

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Kimi Räikkönen took fifth while Romain Grosjean finished seventh in a fast-paced and intense Korean Grand Prix today. Kimi maintains third position in the Drivers’ Championship on 167 points ; 42 from Fernando Alonso ahead and with an increased 14 point buffer to Lewis Hamilton behind. The team remains fourth in the Constructors’ Championship on 255 points ; 29 behind McLaren and 119 in front of Mercedes.

•Both drivers started on Pirelli’s super soft compound tyres.
•Kimi pitted for his first set of soft rubber on lap 14, his second on lap 35.
•Romain stopped for his first set of softs on lap 13, his second on lap 31.

Kimi Räikkönen, P5, E20-05
"I think this was about where we should have been today. The yellow flags at the start didn’t help when we were fighting with Felipe [Massa] but even so we didn’t quite have the speed to match the Red Bulls and Ferraris. We also lost quite a bit of time behind Lewis [Hamilton] – mainly because the new exhaust system means you lose a little bit of power so it was hard to get past – but with a few more practice sessions I’m sure we’ll learn a lot more to be able to improve it. I was pretty much on my own at the end but we had to keep pushing to maintain position and it wasn’t so easy. The gap to Sebastian [Vettel] in the Championship is quite big now so it will be very difficult to catch him, but we’ll keep pushing all the way.”

Romain Grosjean, P7, E20-03
“For sure I was a bit nervous starting the race today, but we did a lot of work this week trying to understand a few things and it’s certainly helped. It wasn’t the easiest start ; there was contact behind me at turn three and I took evasive action but after that it was quite straight forward. I struggled on the last set of tyres as I had graining straight away meaning the performance was not great during the final stint. Maybe we could have achieved one place better – I think I now know every detail of Force India’s car after spending so much time battling with Nico [Hulkenberg] – but I’m happy to make it to the chequered flag after a good, clean race.”

Eric Boullier, Team Principal
"We knew we would not be fighting for the win here, and fifth for Kimi was the maximum we could have achieved today. We scored a good tally of points in the Constructors’ Championship and although third position is slowly edging away from us with just four races left now we’re not ready to give up. It was good to see Romain drive very sensibly despite all the pressure that is on his shoulders ; I think he is learning from this experience and it will only make him a stronger driver. Kimi’s racecraft was impressive as usual ; his battle with Lewis [Hamilton] showed real class and he was maybe unlucky not to have been closer to the leading pack after being held up for so long. We will have the Coandă exhausts on both cars in India which should help us in our fight.”

James Allison, Technical Director
“We’ve finished in our starting positions which is solid if ultimately unspectacular. In the first stint Kimi was able to live with the pace of the front runners and had it not been for a costly period spent tucked up behind Lewis [Hamilton] I think he could probably have stayed in touch with the leading group. We were also pleased with Romain’s performance ; he achieved what we had asked of him by keeping his nose clean and bringing the car home to score valuable points for the team. We didn’t exactly set the world on fire today, but we can take some comfort from the fact we were more on the pace here than we have been since Hungary.”

Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader
“A good double points finish today to keep the momentum in the championship. We used the Suzuka engines on both cars this weekend and worked with the chassis team to optimise the Coandă exhaust system on Kimi’s car. We have made solid progress in this area and with two weeks between now and the next event we will be able to further optimise the engine torque maps to be closer to the podium in India.”