Lotus HVM Racing unable to utilise strategy as the Mid-Ohio Indy race runs green from flag to flag
The day in Mid-Ohio started out with the IndyCar warm-up session being delayed because of pouring rain, thunder and lightning, and a few power outages.
When the Indy cars did go out to warm up, Lotus driver Simona De Silvestro took advantage of the wet track and clocked the fourth best time of the session.
Unfortunately for the Lotus HVM Racing team, the weather cleared, and by the time the green flag flew, the Indy cars were running on a dry track. Ambient temperature was 76 degrees with a relative humidity of 83 percent.
The race was somewhat of a repeat of the last race at Edmonton. For the second time in a row, the whole race ran green from flag to flag. Without any cautions, the Lotus HVM Racing team was not able to apply strategy and Simona de Silvestro (#78) finished the race in 23rd position. However, the Lotus car showed great reliability and despite everything, Simona did put in some good lap times.
“It’s really disappointing,” De Silvestro said. “We weren’t able to use the strategy that we wanted because there weren’t any yellows. It doesn’t matter how hard I drive, without a yellow we can’t get anywhere.”
Keith Wiggins, HVM team owner, had this to say: “It’s a bit of the same story as the last race. Unfortunately, it went green the whole way, so that meant that we were pretty well forced into a full-fuel three-stop strategy of the other manufacturers. That didn’t really give us any options to do a strategy, so we ended up with what we had. Her first stint was pretty impressive. The lap times she did were in the 68’s when we were on our own, the same as the leaders. But there’s not much else we can do.”
HVM Technical Director Tom Brown: “Just another tough one with it going green all the way. We tried to pull some strategy but we needed the yellows to pull it off. Strategy is one of the few tools we have in the bag and we can’t use it. But, it is good to see green-flag racing all the way. Hopefully, one of these days, we’ll get what we need.”
Director of Motorsports for Lotus, Claudio Berro commented: “Lotus will continue to develop the engine for Simona. We want to do our very best for her, so that she and the Lotus HVM Racing team can show some progress and achieve better results in the upcoming races.”
Over the wall
One thing we can say about the Lotus HVM Racing team is that their pit stops are always fast and well done. The Lotus HVM crew takes pride in doing great pit stops. They practice every time De Silvestro comes into the pits during on-track sessions. Front end mechanic, Mike Howells, better known as “Miguel” started going over the wall to change tires, a year ago, here in Mid-Ohio.
“After doing this over and over, it becomes habit, he said. We rely on muscle memory for the right moves. Our instinct guides us. Our whole team works well together because we’re a family. We’re Simona’s racing family.”
Aside from changing Simona’s inside rear tire at record speed, Miguel is also the guy who straps Simona into her #78 Lotus machine, when the Swiss Miss gets into the car. “My job is to make sure she is as comfortable as possible and strapped in safely, said Miguel. I figure if she is comfortable, she can focus totally on her driving. We have this quiet ritual, Simona and I, when I’m strapping her down. I do the same thing, the same way, every time. We’ve gained trust in each other over the years.”
The top three finishers for today’s IZOD IndyCar race were Scott Dixon (a fourth win in a row at Mid-Ohio for #9 Target Chip Ganassi), followed by Will Power (#12 – Team Penske), and Simond Pagenaud (#77 – Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports).
The Lotus HVM Racing Team will be racing next at the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma on 26 August at the raceway in Sonoma.
Time of race: 1:39:48
Lead changes: 2
Average Speed: 115.179 mph