The Indy 500 requires balls, luck and grunt. There’s no shortage of courage at Lotus, and we’re hopeful our fortunes will turn for the better.
We all knew going into Sunday’s race that we were struggling with performance. Lotus-powered drivers Simona de Silvestro (#78 – Lotus HVM Racing) and rookie Jean Alesi (#64 – Lotus Fan Force United) did all that they could to stay with the pack, but after nine laps of the 2.5 mile Brickyard the race director called them into the pits to retire.
Both cars had made the cut in qualifying, but by lapping outside 105 percent of the leader’s pace in the race – 10-12mph shy – they were black-flagged. Simona’s top speed was 205.938mph, Jean’s 203.839.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which hosted 400,000 fans sweltering in 91 degree heat, was the first oval race on the 2012 IZOD IndyCar calendar, a layout which highlighted the power gap between the three manufacturers. Despite performance improvements at each of the four previous rounds, it was galling for everyone involved not to have a stab at the full 500 miles today.
Jean Alesi: “Frustration is a part of my job, but it’s a shame we couldn’t be out there. This regulation is fair. Everything was new for me in this race. From the first day that I arrived, saw the car, and met my team, I understood that we had to work hard, and we did. There is a part of the job that can be fixed on the track, but we had an engine that was not competitive straightaway, and we had to deal with it. We tried many things to avoid a lack of performance, but it could not be overcome. So it is difficult to be out of the race. However, I’ve learned a lot about this new racing discipline, and I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve had fantastic people around me, and I’ve really loved being a part of this great event, meeting lots of friendly and passionate fans, and spending time here in Indiana. I leave with a lot of respect for the Indy 500, an event I’ve followed from afar for many years, and I hope to return next year. I will start to prepare now.”
Simona de Silvestro: “I’m pretty disappointed to get black-flagged after only a few laps. We were trying to keep up pace, but unfortunately right now we don’t have the pace, so now we have to work hard to get to the pace that we need. It’s a disappointment because the team worked so hard all month and when you can’t fight for anything it’s really, really tough. So, we just have to be patient.”