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7 October 2013

Lotus F1 Team: fantastic team result in Yeongam - 2013 Korean Grand Prix

2013 Korean Grand Prix

A superb race for the boys in black and gold saw Kimi and Romain take a double podium, with top class performances from both drivers and the team. Here’s how it happened...

Friday 4th October 2013

Romain Grosjean ended the first day of practice for the Korean Grand Prix with the sixth fastest time whilst team-mate Kimi Räikkönen placed eighth in Yeongam, South Korea.

Both drivers completed their Friday programmes as scheduled, with Kimi’s crew having a busy lunchtime repairing his E21 after an excursion into the barriers at the end of the first practice session.

While Kimi was unhurt in the incident, the damage incurred by the car necessitated the replacement of the front and rear wings, as well as suspension components on both left-hand corners of the car.

Technical programme notes:
Kimi’s car spent additional time in the garage at the start of FP2 as his crew completed the repairs necessary after contact with the barriers at the end of FP1.
Pirelli’s medium [white] tyre was used in the morning, with the medium and super soft [red] compound used in the afternoon session.

What we learned today:
The E21 demonstrated strong potential on both varieties of tyre, with a smaller difference in performance between each compound compared to that seen in Singapore.

Kimi Räikkönen, E21-05
Free Practice 1: P8, 1:40.677, 15 laps
Free Practice 2: P8, 1:39.757, 33 laps

"The car feels quite strong, especially on the long runs"

“Obviously it didn’t help that I destroyed part of the car this morning; maybe I ran out of talent there! It didn’t cause too much damage and the car was fine for the second practice, even if the guys had quite a hurry to fix it. They did a good job and we managed to complete everything we wanted today. The car feels quite strong – especially on the long runs – so that’s good news for the race. On the short runs it wasn’t exactly as I wanted, but we still have some time to make improvements there.”

Romain Grosjean, E21-04
Free Practice 1: P7, 1:40.396, 19 laps
Free Practice 2: P6, 1:39.226, 34 laps

"I think top five is a realistic target in qualifying"

“My first two runs this morning weren’t perfect, so we decided to change a few things during the break but that didn’t exactly go to plan either. Finding the right balance for a full lap here is quite tricky as the different sectors are quite unique from each other, but eventually we returned to a more conventional setup for a run on the option tyres and the car felt much better. This circuit is a bit more front limited which doesn’t particularly help us, but hopefully the track evolution will bring it towards us a bit more tomorrow. Half a second to the leaders is a bit of a gap and they look pretty quick, so I think top five is a realistic target in qualifying, but of course we’ll do our best to catch them.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:

"A fairly routine Friday"

“It was a fairly routine Friday aside from Kimi’s small off this morning which looked a lot worse than it was, resulting primarily in some front trackrod and rear corner damage for us to repair. We lost some time at the start of the second session whilst the rectification work was completed, but this didn’t impact on our programme today. We completed long runs with both cars in the afternoon to give us plenty of data for analysis ahead of Sunday. As illustrated a few times, the track was quite slippery to start the weekend, which is something we expect to see improve throughout tomorrow and Sunday. The tyres are behaving as expected, with a smaller performance difference between the two compounds than what we saw in Singapore, which is in line with our predictions.”


Saturday 5th October 2013

Romain Grosjean took fourth position whilst Kimi Räikkönen set the tenth fastest time in qualifying for tomorrow’s Korean Grand Prix. Both drivers gain a grid position thanks to a penalty for Mark Webber, meaning Romain starts from third and Kimi ninth.

Romain progressed through the first qualifying session using only the medium compound tyre, enabling him to have two runs on new super soft tyres in Q3. Kimi was fastest in Q1, but suffered excessive understeer on his solitary flying lap of the final session to leave him tenth.

Kimi Räikkönen, E21-05 Q: P10 (Starts P9), 1:38.822 FP3: P6, 1:38.701

"If you look at the long run pace yesterday we should have a stronger race"

“I made a mistake on my only set of new tyres in the final qualifying session so my lap wasn’t fast enough for a better position, which eventually meant I ended up tenth and will start from ninth position tomorrow. We’ve had a bit of understeer in the car so I’ve struggled a little all weekend. If you look at the long run pace yesterday we should have a stronger race, but obviously we have to see how the weather turns out. We hope to do better tomorrow.”

Romain Grosjean, E21-04 Q: P4 (Starts P3), 1:37.531 FP3: P8, 1:38.857

"Our race pace looked strong yesterday so we’re aiming for a good result"

“Our aim was to be up there fighting with the Mercedes today and that’s exactly where we were. The Red Bulls were always going to be quick, so to be reasonably close to them in terms of the times is not too bad. Gaining a place on the grid just because another driver has been penalised is not how you want to move forwards, but I’ve had to cope with it before myself and it’s part of the sport. Of course, it will be an advantage for us as it means we’ll start on the clean side of the track. Tomorrow will be interesting in terms of what effect the tyre degradation has, but our race pace looked strong yesterday so we’re aiming for a good result.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director

"We’ve got good expectations for tomorrow"

How was qualifying for the team?
We’re very happy with Romain’s qualifying position after a textbook performance through all three sessions with everything going absolutely to plan. He soaked up the extra pressure to get through the first session using only the medium compound tyre and the benefit of doing that was having two sets of the super soft in the final session. Kimi didn’t have the luxury of two runs in the final session, and unfortunately his crucial lap didn’t quite come off as planned. As ever, he will be a formidable force in the race so we’ve got good expectations for tomorrow.

What are the strategy considerations?
It’s a circuit where you can overtake with DRS; not the easiest, but certainly not the hardest. That said, tomorrow’s race will be about tyres – in particular the front right which has a very hard time – so managing the wear and performance will be an important consideration.

What do we think looking to the skies?
The threat of storms has certainly abated somewhat since the beginning of the week, however I think we can still expect to catch the outskirts of the bad weather meaning we could see some rain overnight and early tomorrow morning if not for the race itself. Of course, this is something we’re monitoring closely.

 

Sunday 6th October 2013

Lotus F1 Team scored its third double podium of the season as Kimi Räikkönen took second and Romain Grosjean third in an emphatic team performance at the Korean Grand Prix. Both drivers benefited from strong race pace and drove superbly – including dicing with each other – during a race which saw two safety car periods.

Kimi returns to third place in the Drivers’ Championship on 167 points – displacing Lewis Hamilton – and now lies 28 points behind Fernando Alonso in second. Romain Grosjean remains eighth in the standings on 72 points, 17 away from Felipe Massa in seventh. The team maintains fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship on 239 points from Mercedes’ 283.

Kimi started from P9 with a scrubbed set of super soft tyres, changing to new mediums on laps 11 and 25.
Romain started from P3 on a scrubbed set of super soft tyres, changing to new mediums on laps 10 and 31.

Kimi Räikkönen, P2, E21-05

"Second place is ok and a good result for the team, but we’re here to win"

“Second place is ok and a good result for the team, but we’re here to win and having to fight your way to the front from a bad starting position is not ideal. Qualifying was pretty awful for me, but it’s difficult to say whether a better grid position would have made the difference. Sebastian was faster than us at the end; not massively, but a little bit for sure and his tyres were fresher too so I think it would have been tough to catch him in any case. We were closer to the Red Bull today than we have been in some races, but not close enough. People might say it was good luck with the safety car, but sometimes these things go with you and others they go against you. We made up some places even before that happened, and if we hadn’t had the speed then we wouldn’t have been in a position to take advantage. You could see at the end that we had more than enough pace to keep the others behind, so I think it’s deserved.”

Romain Grosjean, P3, E21-04

"Our pace was great, but the two safety car periods hurt our attempts to battle for the win"

“It’s a fantastic result for the team. Of course, one step higher on the podium would have been better for me and two steps better would have been superb, but it didn’t quite work out that way. Our battle with Lewis [Hamilton] was good and our pace was great, but the two safety car periods hurt our attempts to battle for the win. After the restart I should have been in front of Kimi on the road, but it was my mistake which let him past. I went a bit wide in Turn 15 and got on the Astroturf – which is very slippery – and that let him get a run on me. Then there were yellow flags into Turn 3 so I couldn’t take the place back straight away. Of course, I was asking the team to let me past Kimi as I was on fresher tyres, but they left us to race which is our philosophy of fair play. You lose so much downforce in sectors two and three and obviously our cars are pretty close on performance so it’s pretty hard to pass, but we have to be very happy with a double podium.”

Eric Boullier, Team Principal

"We have a lot of promise for the remaining races and podiums are certainly on our agenda"

“Another double podium for the team is a fantastic result and it tastes like a race win this late in the season. Credit to everyone back at Enstone for delivering us extra performance from the long wheelbase car, as any gain towards the end of the year is especially beneficial as we fight for position in both Championships. The race team delivered a great strategy and pit stops, whilst both drivers drove exceptionally well. We have a lot of promise for the remaining races and podiums are certainly on our agenda.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director

"It was close between the two, but we let both drivers race to the end which was the right thing to do"
“A great result for the team. We thought we would be competitive coming into this weekend, and in the end we qualified well and raced extremely well. Romain drove an incredibly strong race, and without the safety car would have taken a very comfortable second place. There was an element of luck for Kimi with the safety car and he certainly made the most of that, before once more demonstrating that he never stops pushing by capitalising on the one mistake made by his team-mate all weekend. It was close between the two, but we let both drivers race to the end which was the right thing to do. All signs look positive for Japan.”

Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader

“A fantastic race from both drivers. Romain was very strong in the first part of the race, controlling the pace and managing the fuel and tyres very well. We reused his engine from Singapore and everything worked perfectly. We were on the limit with Kimi’s engine with some of the richer fuel mixes to help him get through the field and maximize performance. A great result all round.”