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20 July 2010

Lotus Racing German Grand Prix Preview


Over 120,000 fans are expected on race day at Hockenheim, and, for many of them, seeing the green and yellow Lotus Racing livery back on track will be an emotional moment. The team itself is excited about the next round of the 2010 FIA Formula One™ World Championship, and is looking to build on the strong two car finish they enjoyed last weekend at Silverstone. The layout of the track should suit the T127 better than the flat-out dash around the Northamptonshire countryside, and with the experience they have on both sides of the garage, Lotus Racing is again looking forward to taking the fight to the teams ahead.

Dieter Gass, Lotus Racing Sporting Director “We’re all looking forward to Hockenheim. Obviously the circuit is quite different now from how it used to be in the past - then, it was an extremely difficult circuit on which to find a decent set up – long straights that took you into the forest and then slow corners in the Motodrom stadium section meant it was hard to find a suitable compromise between downforce and grip – you don’t have to make such a big compromise anymore because the straights simply aren’t as long now. But, you still don’t run maximum downforce here – you take a bit of wing off to take account of the straight, and give the driver the chance to overtake at the end of that, in turn six.

“I think our car will suit the circuit well. You have a different speed profile than Silverstone, which didn’t really suit our car, but in Hockenheim I think we’ll be better off. We had a big update package in Silverstone which we couldn’t exploit fully as we were lacking running and setup time, so we’ll be looking to get the best out of that in the Friday and Saturday practice sessions. We’ll be able to play with the ballast a bit more here as well, which will help us find a better balance, and the team have spent some time in the factory this week practicing pitstops, so we should see the times come down in Germany. All in all it should be a good weekend.”

Heikki Kovalainen (Chassis T127-01) “Germany’s always a good race – Hockenheim’s usually hot and the fans make sure there’s a great atmosphere around the whole circuit. The stadium section in particular is amazing – with all the horns blowing, the flags flying and the odd flare being set off, it feels like you are in a football stadium or something. That makes it a great place to watch from if you’re a spectator, and for the drivers it’s cool - we can see all the fans packed into the stands and it looks pretty hardcore.

“The circuit itself is pretty good. You can overtake at the end of the long straight at the hairpin but there aren’t many other places where you can get past. It’s relatively hard on tyres and in the past the heat has made the tyres blister, but we shouldn’t get any of those problems with this year’s tyres. Bridgestone are bringing a super soft and a hard, so there should be a clear performance difference between the two – we’ll see how that shapes up over the weekend.”

Jarno Trulli (Chassis T127-04) “Hockenheim has some real history and in its old guise it demanded a lot from the drivers, in terms of setup, driving and in getting all the little details right. However, now it’s a more conventional circuit, and while I like it, I preferred the old layout. I was on the podium there a while back, and I won the German F3 Championship there many years ago, so it does hold a lot of good memories for me. It’s always hot when we go there, and the fans are very passionate, so I hope we can put on a good show for them, and show what Lotus Racing is all about.”

Riad Asmat, Lotus Racing CEO “Firstly it was great to see Fairuz in the car in Silverstone on Friday; testing is obviously extremely limited so it was good for him to get some experience and practice in the car. He certainly deserved his time in the cockpit but mechanical problems unfortunately meant he didn’t get as much track time car as he could have – we are running him in FP1 in Hockenheim instead of Hungary, so he’s getting another chance to show what he can do a week early and it’ll be good to see him back on track again in Germany.

“I was in the car with Tony on the way to Silverstone on Saturday when he reminded me that it was at the British Grand Prix in 2009 that he first met Mike and the Lotus Racing dream began. He was quite nostalgic and was telling me that a year ago he couldn’t drive in certain places around the track without the sticker on his car, whereas now he is a Team Principal he can go everywhere! Well, almost… He has built so much out of the dreams he has pursued, with success of course, and he believes that Lotus Racing is another opportunity that will be a success. Last weekend was a year to the day that this adventure began, and now we’re already looking five years down the road and how far we can go.”