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24 September  2012

Lotus F1 Team comments on the Singapore Grand Prix 2012

Friday, 21 September 2012

Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean took to the streets of Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first practice sessions of the Singapore Grand Prix. The first session, held between 18:00 and 19:30 local time, started wet with the track drying over the duration. The second session, from 21:30 to 23:00, was dry throughout. Kimi ended the day with the twelfth fastest time ; Romain with the tenth.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director - Technical programme notes
A wet start to the first session meant we only ran with our updated rear wing at the end of proceedings on Kimi’s car.
Pirelli’s wet, intermediate and soft compound tyres were used by both cars in FP1.
Pirelli’s soft and super soft tyres were used in the drier second session.

What we learned today :
We didn’t gain sufficient data in the first session to run with the new rear wing for the rest of the day.
There is quite a bit of difference in single lap pace between the two tyre compounds.

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05
Free practice 1 : P12, 1:52.716, 16 laps
Free practice 2 : P12, 1:50.345, 24 laps

Kimi :
“It wasn’t the easiest of days for us today. We don’t have enough grip for some reason, and we seem to be lacking downforce. It’s the same on both tyres ; a little bit better when the tyres are new, but still not quite the pace we want. I think we can improve for tomorrow but we have to find two seconds to get to the front. I don’t think we’ll find that much time ; but I think we should improve from Friday as we usually do.”

Romain Grosjean, E20-03
Free practice 1 : P15, 1:53.028, 20 laps
Free practice 2 : P10, 1:50.161, 24 laps

Romain :
“It feels good to be back on track. Our position on the time sheets in the morning was not what we’d have liked and even after FP2 we know there is more performance to be found. The car is basically the same as what we ran in Monaco and Budapest where we were very competitive but we’ve struggled a bit for grip today. The good thing is we understand what we need to do, the team has been working hard to make improvements and I’m sure we’ll be stronger tomorrow.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director :
“We didn’t learn too much in the first session, but we did get some quick laps on the intermediate tyres. In the second session we evaluated the two tyre compounds, completing long runs on both. There’s quite a bit of single lap pace difference between the two of them. It’s fairly clear which tyre will be the preferred one for qualifying but not so clear at the moment which tyre is the better prospect for the race. We’ll be looking closely at lap times and degradation levels overnight.”

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Romain Grosjean will start the Singapore Grand Prix from P8 on the grid, whilst Kimi Räikkönen will be in twelfth position after a hot and sticky qualifying session at the Marina Bay Street Circuit. The grid results mask significant improvements found in the E20 overnight, illustrated by Romain setting the fastest time in Q1 and the fourth fastest time in Q2.

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05. Q : P12, 1:48.261. FP3 : P5, 1:48.865
“The car was much better overall today than it was yesterday. We were quick with the used tyres but for some reason struggled for grip with the new ones in the second session and we were actually slightly slower. For sure P12 is not the position we wanted ; we don’t seem to have the speed to challenge the leaders here but the car is definitely quicker than that. We’ll see what we can do in the race.”

Romain Grosjean, E20-03. Q : P8, 1:47.788. FP3 : P15 1:50.840
“The result is not as good as we wanted, but this is a very hard track to get right and we’ve been struggling for ultimate grip throughout this weekend so far, so overall it was good to be in Q3. After Q1 and Q2 we felt positive but it didn’t quite come together in the final session. I pushed a little bit too hard on my last lap ; it felt good in the car, but it wasn’t good for my lap time and there was one moment where I lost most quite a lot of time. It was pretty close but I don’t think I touched the wall ; I’ll have to check to see if the Pirelli tyre markings are still there !”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director :
“We’d found a lot of improvements in the car so we’re disappointed with qualifying.”

How do you assess today’s qualifying performance ?
“We’re disappointed with qualifying as we were hoping for a lot better than we achieved. We improved the car dramatically overnight and through today’s practice session. Romain was two tenths slower in Q3 than he had been in Q2, but we could all see where most of that time was lost on his lap. Kimi was slower on a fresh set of tyres than he was on a scrubbed set, but it’s not immediately apparent why this was the case. He looked in excellent shape with his scrubbed run.”

The car seemed to be better than yesterday – why was this ?
“We found a much better setup in our analysis overnight and we continued in that direction through FP3, steadily improving the car with a further step made going into qualifying. Both drivers were pretty happy with the car at the end of practice today.”

How do the different tyre compounds perform here ?
“The super soft compound is a lot faster than the soft tyre and it will need a big difference in degradation for the soft to be the preferred option in the race.”

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Kimi Räikkönen fought back from twelfth on the grid to maintain his third position in the Drivers’ Championship with a battling sixth place in the Singapore Grand Prix. Romain Grosjean finished close behind in seventh after a gruelling race with two safety car periods and a number of retirements. The team remains fourth in the Constructors’ Championship, 95 points ahead of Mercedes in fifth and 14 behind Ferrari in third.

Both drivers started on Pirelli’s super soft compound.
Kimi pitted for his first set of soft compound tyres on lap 13, and his second set of softs just as the first safety car came out on lap 32.
Romain ptted for soft compound tyres on lap 14, and for his second set of softs under safety car conditions on lap 33.

Kimi Räikkönen, P6, E20-05
After the result in qualifying today’s race was not too bad, but I think we had a chance to do a bit better. We weren’t quick enough to be fighting for the podium but the first safety car didn’t help us and maybe we could have gained an extra place without that. We were definitely faster than Michael [Schumacher] and Nico [Rosberg] but we ended up stuck behind them for most of the race which was frustrating. It’s so hard to overtake here that you have to rely on passing people in the pit stops or on someone making a mistake. I’m still third in the Drivers’ Championship but we’ve got some improvements to make for the next races to be fighting with the cars in front. Hopefully we can make a step forward in Japan and take it from there.

Romain Grosjean P7, E20-03
It was a tough race but not a bad result in the end. I made a good start, managed to hold position when things got quite close through the first few corners and the car felt pretty good throughout. Our performance was much better than what we would have expected at the start of the weekend. Of course, I dropped a position to Kimi as well ; he was quicker than me towards the end of the race and there was no sense in holding him up. It’s never easy as a driver to let someone past – even if it is your team-mate – but we need to be intelligent in these circumstances. My target is to be as close to Kimi as I can in terms of pace and we achieved that today, so after a difficult start to the weekend I think we can be pleased with this result.

Eric Boullier, Team Principal
We had a difficult start to the weekend but the team did a good job to recover. Qualifying was frustrating after both cars showed strong pace in Q1 and the first part of Q2 but ultimately fell short of what we were hoping for in the end. The race pace from both cars was good and although we were unlucky with the first safety car our strategy worked well. After a difficult weekend for us Kimi is still third in the Drivers’ Championship and we have not lost too much ground to McLaren and Red Bull in the Constructors’ standings so that is a big positive. The fact that we feel our lack of performance here was quite unexpected shows our ambition and our priority for the rest of the season will be to make sure we’re in the sort of positions we know we can achieve right from the start of each weekend.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director
It hasn’t been a great weekend for us, so to salvage sixth and seventh is something of a result in the circumstances. We took a gamble with Kimi’s second stop, but he was caught by the safety car coming out as he left the pit lane. We certainly didn’t have the pace to challenge the front runners today and after a difficult qualifying session it was difficult to get through the field. It’s clear we need to do a better job in qualifying to enable us to achieve better race results.

Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader
A dramatic race that was quite difficult to manage on the engine side due to the two safety car periods. We had to play with the engine mixes a lot throughout the race to correct the fuel level and avoid finishing with too much. Both drivers did a good job to avoid the incidents on track and get a double points finish, which based on our grid position and overall performance this weekend is a very positive result. We are looking forward to Suzuka now, which should suit our car better.