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Chatsworth, 8th-10th July 2022

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  1. Romain Grosjean finished P9 and Pastor Maldonado P11 after spirited runs up the order in the Brazilian Grand Prix Romain Grosjean finished P9 and Pastor Maldonado P11 after spirited runs up the order in the Brazilian Grand Prix. After a disappointing qualifying yesterday, today’s 71 lap race saw both drivers making moves on their rivals whilst employing different tyre strategies. Pastor looked like scoring with P10 until late in the race and did receive a five second penalty, served at his final pit stop, for contact with another driver. Romain started from P14 on the grid on new Pirelli soft compound tyres. He changed to new medium tyres on laps 10 and 35, then scrubbed softs on lap 54. Pastor started from P15 on new medium tyres, changing to new soft tyres on lap 25 and new mediums on lap 44. Romain Grosjean, P9, E23-04 “It was a fun race, and I enjoyed going through the field with some nice overtaking manoeuvres with our aggressive race strategy. It was quite hard to follow the cars but we had good power to overtake into turn 1. It has been an emotional weekend so it is good to be back in the points. The next race will be my last one with the team and taking the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi will be very special but I will give my best to bring a good result.” Pastor Maldonado, P11, E23-03 “It was a very active race with lots going on. We used a different strategy to most by running with the slower but more durable tyre for the first stint, when it was difficult to make progress against those on the softs. That meant when we changed to the softs we could push harder in the middle stint and make some good places. Then at the end we were defending with harder tyres from those with softer and fresher ones so it was difficult to keep P10, but from where we started it was a good race.” Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal "A great job from Romain, and also from all of the race team here, to work so well at what is nearly the end of a very long season. Thanks too to everyone at Enstone for all their efforts which we were hoping would be rewarded by both cars in the points. It’s a big shame that Pastor received a penalty as otherwise he would have finished at least P10, and this is very frustrating for all of us.” Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director "That was a strong race where we got back to where we should have been fighting after yesterday’s disappointing qualifying. Romain drove superbly today and Pastor should have scored too were it not for his penalty."
  2. Pastor Maldonado finished eighth in a highly eventful United States Grand Prix whilst Romain Grosjean retired from the race because of damage sustained to his car at the first corner. Pastor Maldonado finished eighth in a highly eventful United States Grand Prix whilst Romain Grosjean retired from the race because of damage sustained to his car at the first corner. The Grand Prix started wet with a dry line emerging through the race. There were a number of safety car periods of both virtual and real iterations. Romain started from P10 on the grid on new intermediate tyres. He pitted at the end of lap one for new intermediate tyres, then lap 9 for new soft tyres. He retired at the end of lap 10 as a consequence of the lap one damage. Pastor started from P12 on new intermediate tyres, changing to new intermediates on lap 18 then new softs on laps 27 and 43. Romain Grosjean, DNF, E23-04 “I had a good start, but in the middle of the first corner I felt a hit from behind. This gave me a puncture and the damage meant that the floor and braking cooling ducts were damaged. We tried continuing but the brake temperatures were just too high and we had to retire for safety reasons. It’s a shame because it would have been a good race as far as we know with the experience we have and the set-up we were on… Everything should have been quite nice but now we’ll never know!” Pastor Maldonado, P8, E23-03 “We are in the points once again which is the main positive thing for the team. It was quite a busy race with a lot of fighting around me, and even some fighting with the car as it didn’t quite perform as expected. It was a little bit strange because we are normally quite strong in the races; better than in qualifying in fact. My crew were great all day with qualifying and the race. We hope to continue scoring strong points in the remaining races.” Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal “Firstly congratulations to Lewis Hamilton, a deserving world champion who took his title in the best way possible. He and the entire Mercedes AMG F1 team have done a fantastic job this year. It was an unfortunate day for Romain as his race was ended so early through no fault of his own. Pastor secured a good top ten finish which adds to our points tally. After a tough build-up to the race Formula 1 put on a great spectacle at the Circuit of the Americas so we thank everyone in Austin for all their efforts. I’m sure we’re all hoping for better weather next year!” Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director "It was an eventful race but we weren’t able to capitalise on all the opportunities. Unfortunately we had to retire Romain very early as his rear floor and brake cooling was damaged in the contact at the first corner. We tried to keep racing but it wasn’t safe to continue. Pastor scored useful points but we weren’t able to fight higher unfortunately."
  3. Lotus F1 Team completed a strong Japanese Grand Prix with both cars finishing in the top eight for the first time since the Indian Grand Prix in 2013 Lotus F1 Team completed a strong Japanese Grand Prix with both cars finishing in the top eight for the first time since the Indian Grand Prix in 2013. Romain took seventh, with Pastor finishing just 1.3 seconds behind him in eighth. Romain started from P8 on the grid on his qualifying medium compound tyres. He changed to scrubbed mediums on lap 11 and new hards on lap 33. Pastor started from P11 on new medium tyres, changing to new mediums on lap 12, and new hards on lap 36. Romain Grosjean, P7, E23-04 “We finished with both cars in the points so I’m definitely happy with that! When it came to my own race we were a little bit slow against the Force India. We tried to fight Nico Hulkenberg but couldn’t. I really struggled with the tyres at the end – it seems the new Pirelli limits hurt us more than our rivals so we’ll work around that for the next race. Overall though, we’ve had a good result as a team.” Pastor Maldonado, P8, E23-03 “It was a good race for us and we really deserved a happy result today after pushing hard all weekend. It’s a shame we weren’t able to keep Hulkenberg behind us so we’ll review the strategy and performance to see if there was more we could have done. The team has been united all weekend, we scored some nice points and we’re looking forward to the rest of the season.” Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal "It’s a great result for all of the team after a reasonably challenging weekend. It just goes to show that you can never discount an Enstone team no matter what the circumstances. We have to say thank you to all the crew at the track for working through a slightly unusual situation as well as thank you to Bernie for his help behind the scenes. We’re looking forward to continuing to fight back in Sochi.” Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director "It’s great to get both cars solidly in the points and score more than our immediate championship rivals Force India and Toro Rosso. Force India looked stronger than us in the race and we didn’t have the pace to match Hulkenberg today. It was nevertheless a good performance from both drivers and the entire team."
  4. Romain Grosjean drove a strong and measured Bahrain Grand Prix to finish seventh whilst Pastor Maldonado endured an eventful race to finish an eventual fifteenth in the first night race of the season. Romain ran as high as third during the race, but later traffic and an induced 360° spin meant a P11 finish. Pastor suffered from a first lap puncture then had to retire nine laps from the chequered flag due to a braking issue Romain started from P10 on the grid on his qualifying soft compound tyres, changing to scrubbed soft tyres on laps 12 and new medium tyres on lap 31. Pastor started from P16 on the grid on new medium compound tyres, changing to new soft tyres on laps 10, 24 and 41. Pastor served a five second penalty in the first stop and had an engine restart on his final stop. Romain Grosjean, P7, E23-02 "It had been a tough weekend until now for me, so it was really great to get another strong seventh position. Today’s race was great, especially as there was lots of overtaking. I was really hoping to catch Daniel Ricciardo but he was too quick for us today. It was quite difficult to manage tyres, especially with the rears so I think we did a good job to make the two-stop strategy work. We only had new medium compound tyres for the race, the rest were scrubbed, so it really was a great job by the team. It was a good recovery from Friday and Saturday’s session and I’ll happily take seventh place as my birthday gift for myself and the team." Pastor Maldonado, P15, E23-03 "That was a frustrating race for me. I pushed as hard as possible at the start on the medium tyres whilst everyone around me was on the grippier soft compound rubber. Once I moved to the soft tyres I was able to set the race’s then fastest lap so things looked good with our strategy. Unfortunately the engine anti-kill triggered when I came in to make my final pit stop which cost me a lot of time. It’s frustrating as we should have finished strongly. My focus is now Barcelona where I’ve delivered very strongly in the past." Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal "Congratulations to Romain once more for a strong race and thank you to the race team for some great pit work as well as engineering over the weekend to get the car to Romain’s liking so he could deliver today. It’s thanks to the hard work of everyone at Enstone that we can score points like we did here in Bahrain. Pastor had a difficult race and we need to investigate exactly what went wrong so we can improve for our next time out." Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director "That was an excellent, straight-forward copybook race from Romain. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the pace to challenge the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo today but we were ahead of the rest of our near rivals. We were able to complete some very quick pit stops, which helped both drivers during the course of the race. For Pastor we ran with a different strategy to most of the field, with a three-stop strategy, starting on the harder medium compound Pirellis. This looked to be working very well and Pastor should have finished around the same position as Romain however a five-second pit stop penalty and the engine-kill activating when he entered the pits extinguished any opportunity of a strong result"
  5. Lotus F1 Team scored their first points of the season after Romain Grosjean came home in a strong seventh position in the Chinese Grand Prix. It wasn’t so plain sailing for Pastor Maldonado who, despite a very strong start, suffered from braking issues and late race contact from Jenson Button, eventually retiring from the race with seven laps to go. Romain started from P8 on the grid on his qualifying soft tyres, changing to new medium tyres on laps 12 and 32. Pastor started from P11 on the grid on his new soft compound tyres, changing to new medium tyres on laps 11 and 33. He retired from the race on lap 49. Romain Grosjean, P7, E23-02 “It’s the best we could do today and it’s satisfying to have achieved the team’s first points of the season. I’m proud of everyone at Enstone and at the track. It wasn’t an easy circuit for us, with a lot of front limited corners that we don’t particularly like, but we had a strong start, and most of the stints were good too. We’ve made a good job improving the car race after race and it’s great to finally score points. The next race could be promising too!" Pastor Maldonado, DNF, E23-03 “I made a great start and we were running strongly early on however later I had a braking issue which made it harder to battle. We also have to understand why the brakes locked-up so easily coming into the pits. We lost a lot of time here and it compromised the rest of my race. It was a fantastic battle with Jenson and we were passing each other very cleanly; a good, fun, exciting battle. Unfortunately, it looks like he got his braking point wrong and went into the back of me. This can easily happen when you’re fighting for position, braking off-line and using DRS, so it’s just one of those things. Certainly our race pace is good, if we qualify a little higher we should be set for a very good time in Bahrain." Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal "It feels great to gets points on the board and get that particular monkey off our back. Romain performed strongly all weekend and his seventh position is just reward. It wasn’t such a good race for Pastor. He made a fantastic start, but suffered later in the race with braking and also racing contact from Jenson. The team is buoyed by Romain’s result and we’re looking forward to increasing our tally in Bahrain.” Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director "That was a solid race from us which illustrates where we expected to be fighting from the start of the year. Both cars were looking in very good shape for a seventh and eighth finish, and it was a great result from Romain meaning our first points on the board. We achieved our target of overtaking the Red Bull and both of the Saubers with Romain, who delivered everything required. Pastor had a much more difficult race despite a strong start and clearly had potential to finish comfortably in the top ten too.”
  6. Pastor Maldonado finished twelfth whilst Romain Grosjean was classified seventeenth in a pit stop-plentiful Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos. Romain’s race started with promise, running in the top ten, but ended eight laps shy of the chequered flag after a Power Unit issue. Pastor made a poor getaway at the start, but fought back from eighteenth to twelfth at the chequered flag. Romain started from P14 on new medium compound tyres. He changed to fresh medium compound tyres on lap 24 then scrubbed medium compound tyres on lap 40, changing to a final set of new soft compound tyres on lap 59. Pastor started from P16 on new soft compound tyres. He changed to new medium compound tyres on laps 4 and 27 then scrubbed mediums on lap 45.Romain Grosjean, P17, E22-03 “The start of the race was good and we were able to run high up in the field quite quickly. We had to switch from a two-stop to a three-stop strategy half way through the race however and that came with some challenges. A lot of work was done to improve the car’s performance this weekend so it’s hard not to be able to finish. We’ll be looking into what happened and make sure we’re ready to make the most of the double points on offer for the next race.”Pastor Maldonado, P12, E22-02 “It was a tough race. We had to switch from a two-stop to a three-stop strategy due to high tyre wear which meant our race was compromised. My start wasn’t great but we managed to be a lot more competitive towards the end of the race and were aiming for points. I tried my best and was hoping to overtake Valtteri Bottas but it wasn’t possible in the end. We’ll be pushing hard in Abu Dhabi, that’s for sure.”Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal "Today we expected a better result on track, especially after some of the evidence to suggest we could have a reasonably decent race. Neither driver experienced a perfect day. Pastor struggled at the start, but then fought back to make up a lot of places. Romain was able to run high up the order early-on but we had to change strategy which penalised him, but not as much as his engine failure. Now our focus is Abu Dhabi and the double points available there.”Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director "Today’s race didn’t go the way we wanted it. Pastor didn’t get a good start off the line and Romain’s car was unable to make it to the chequered flag. We were hoping to capitalise on better tyre life than our rivals, and although we were able stretch more durable performance from the medium compound than some, it was insufficient to secure fewer pit stops for us which meant no advantage. We have one race remaining in 2014 where we will push to gain some final points from this season, then our focus is 100% on 2015.”
  7. Pastor Maldonado finished twelfth with Romain Grosjean directly behind him in thirteenth after a full and eventful Singapore Grand Prix on the Marina Bay Street Circuit. The race – which featured a safety car period – ended due to the time limit being reached rather than completing the allotted number of laps. Romain started from P16 on new super soft compound tyres, changing to scrubbed super softs on laps 10 and 22, then new softs on lap 30. Pastor started from P18 on new super soft compound tyres, pitting on lap 11 for a set of new super soft tyres, then on laps 23 and 30 for sets of scrubbed super soft tyres. He made a final stop for a set of new soft tyres on lap 31. Romain Grosjean, P13, E22-03 “It was hot out there; things were looking pretty alright until the safety car, we were fighting for points. Unfortunately, I tried to attack too hard on the restart. I wanted to give it everything and with cold soft tyres after a slow safety car period, it was just too much once at the corner. From then on, I couldn’t pass back up through the field to get points.” Pastor Maldonado, P12, E22-02 “We got the maximum out of our performance today and we had a strong consistent race. I’m pretty happy about this after the issues we had earlier in the weekend. I pitted once more than the others during the safety car period but it didn’t affect my position. It was a tough race, especially the last ten laps where the tyres needed a lot of managing, but I think we were able to do a great race today.” Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal "We were very close to scoring points with Pastor and Romain today. Unfortunately we couldn’t convert the potential into reality in the end but the team did a great job to get both cars to finish the race after the difficulties that we had through the course of the weekend. So I’m happy. Not rock and roll, but happy.” Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director "Unfortunately we didn’t have the pace to challenge for points today but we were very close, closer than we have been for a long time. The safety car period obviously influenced our race strategy so it’s hard to say what the maximum could have been were it not for that. We’re pleased with the improvement of the E22 which we hope to be able to harness in the next races.” Simon Rebreyend, Renault Sport F1 track support leader “After the disappointment of yesterday, the Power Unit performed well today, with no issues at all, which is the minimum requirement for every weekend. The drivers were therefore able to show a much more representative pace in the race and could race the Saubers, Force Indias and Toro Rossos. This is much more where we should be and gives confidence for the next race in Suzuka.”
  8. Pastor Maldonado finished fourteenth and Romain Grosjean sixteenth after a fast-paced Italian Grand Prix under blue skies at Monza Pastor made a great start and drove an impeccable race whilst Romain suffered from a broken sidepod element affecting downforce and a downshift issue on his way to the chequered flag. Romain started from P17 on new hard compound tyres, pitting on lap 20 for a set of new medium compound tyres and for a piece of bodywork to be removed. Pastor started from P16 on new medium compound tyres, pitting on lap 21 for a set of new hard tyres. Romain Grosjean, P16, E22-03 “I had a dreadful start and was last by the first corner. I was on the hard tyres for the first stint and this made it difficult to fight back. I’m not sure what happened with Esteban [Gutierrez]. He was overtaking me, but then under braking he moved over on to me. My front wing was where he was trying to be so we touched. Not too much damage for me, but he had a puncture as a result. Certainly, I don’t think the tracks we will visit next will be as challenging for us as this one has been.” Pastor Maldonado, P14, E22-04 “I made a good start and a strong first lap which gave me a better position than on the grid as I was able to get past the Saubers. From there I tried to attack the Toro Rosso ahead of me, but their configuration for the straights was too much to overcome. This meant we were running at a consistent pace without any fear from the cars behind, but equally without pace in the right place to attack the cars ahead. It was quite uneventful today but good to get to the finish line.” Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal "We saw a very strong race today from Pastor who didn’t put a foot wrong and extracted the maximum from our current package. Romain’s race was a little more difficult but he drove around the small issues he experienced to bring his car home too. Monza has certainly been a difficult venue for us this year; let’s hope for better results in Singapore.” Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director "Fourteenth isn’t where we want to finish but today’s race did give us some signs of encouragement. Pastor’s pace was much closer to that of the cars in front of us, and he drove an exemplary race. Both cars were reliable although Romain lost a part of his sidepod and also experienced some downshift issues later in the race which hurt him in the very important braking zones here. We’ve taken another small step in understanding the car this weekend which helps us for the next races.”
  9. Pastor Maldonado ended the first day of this week’s Bahrain test with 31 laps completed after an exhaust issue shortened the day’s running for Lotus F1 Team. Pastor set a lap time of 1min 40.599secs as the team conducted evaluations of new parts, including an updated exhaust. The team will revert to the earlier specification of exhaust for tomorrow’s running. Fast Facts: Track: Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 5.4km Chassis: E22-01 Weather: Sunny and cloudy ambient 23-30°C, track 25-39°C Programme: Evaluation of new parts. Laps Completed: 31 Classification: P10, 1:40.599 Interruptions: Software updates and exhaust failure. What’s Next? Pastor Maldonado will drive tomorrow for his final day of pre-season testing at Bahrain International Circuit. Pastor Maldonado: “For sure it wasn’t what we wanted today, but we are all working very hard to make progress and I’m sure we’ll have solutions quite soon as a team, and it’s clear we have good potential and the car is not bad. We have had some problems but we are fixing them and we are making improvements with electronics and software every day we run.” Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “Today started well and we evaluated new aero parts in the morning. Unfortunately, our new specification exhaust system failed, causing a small amount of damage to the surrounding area of the car. This stopped us running early due to the rectification work required. For tomorrow, we will run with our previous specification of exhaust and we do not expect to see any similar problems to those we saw today.”
  10. A disappointing end to the 2013 Formula 1 season for Lotus F1 Team yielded the Enstone squad’s first point-less weekend of the year at the final round in Brazil; Heikki Kovalainen dropping three positions from his eleventh placed grid slot whilst team-mate Romain Grosjean retired with an early engine failure having started sixth. In stark contrast to the first two days of track action at Interlagos, dry conditions remained for the majority of the race; interrupted only by light showers during the closing stages. A tricky start for both drivers saw Romain drop two positions and Heikki four on the opening lap; completing the first tour in eighth and fifteenth respectively. Three laps later and Romain’s impressive run of results during the final third of the season came to a premature end; the Frenchman’s RS27-2013 engine failing in spectacular fashion on what would be the final appearance for the V8 configuration power plant. Movement amongst the midfield throughout a two stop strategy race was not enough to aid Heikki in recovering from a slow getaway; the Finn eventually crossing the line to take fourteenth place. Kimi Räikkönen’s absence from the last two races of the season sees him fall to fifth place in the final Drivers’ Championship standings on 183 points; 6 behind Lewis Hamilton in fourth. Romain takes seventh position with 132 points; trailing Nico Rosberg by 39. For the second consecutive season the team finishes fourth in the Constructors’ Championship; a total of 315 points the final tally from Ferrari’s 354. Heikki started from eleventh on the grid with a fresh set of medium tyres; pitting for the same compound on lap fifteen and again for new hards on lap thirty-four. Romain started from sixth on a fresh set of medium tyres; retiring on lap four. Heikki Kovalainen, P14, E21-05 “It has been a great opportunity to drive for Lotus F1 Team and I’m upset that I was not able to score any points for them today. I think the car is great, but I was not able to unlock the pace and make the most of it. I made some mistakes – probably through lack of routine – but I was anticipating it would be easier to come back and race competitively. My starts both here and in Austin were really poor, with procedural issues both times meaning I wasn’t able to keep pace with everyone off the line. That was disappointing as it’s such a big part of the race and it’s very difficult to recover positions. I’d like to thank everyone at Lotus F1 Team for all their support during these two races.” Romain Grosjean, DNF, E21-04 “At this point in the season I think everyone needs a holiday, but apparently my engine decided to go on vacation early! Of course, that’s not the way we wanted to end the year but it’s been a fantastic season for the team and I think we can be really proud of what we’ve achieved together. We’ve proven this year that we are a top team, and I’m certainly proud of all the guys in the garage and back at Enstone. Today was obviously disappointing for everyone as they deserved more from this final race after all their hard work, but now it’s time to get a little bit of rest and then focus on making sure we head into 2014 and the new regulations as one of the top teams once again.” Eric Boullier, Team Principal “Clearly this is a disappointing way to end what has been a strong season for the team in often difficult circumstances. Our goal at the start of the year was to improve on last season’s fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship, and although we may have just fallen short of that target, it has certainly not been through a lack of effort. Fourteen podium finishes and 315 points is a commendable improvement on our 2012 performance, and I am extremely proud of everyone who has worked so hard to keep us right at the front of a very competitive pack until the very last weekend of the season. In Kimi and Romain we have had one of the strongest line-ups on the grid, and I would like to congratulate them both on some fantastic performances throughout the year. From Kimi’s memorable win at the opening race to Romain’s recent run of podium finishes, they have both been superb. It’s going to be a busy winter preparing for the challenges of 2014, but for now we wish everyone a good few days of well-earned rest.” Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director “After the season we’ve had with the E21, it’s hugely frustrating that we were unable to give what has been a fantastic car the send-off it deserved. For Romain in particular – who has barely put a foot wrong over the past couple of months – we feel particularly aggrieved after his early retirement. We’ll be looking into what happened with his engine to see exactly what caused such a significant failure, as generally speaking our reliability has been pretty strong all year. After a poor start it was always going to be difficult for Heikki to climb back into the points, but we’re nonetheless disappointed to come away from this weekend with nothing on the board. We now look ahead to the challenge of 2014 aiming to maintain the momentum of the past two seasons.” Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader “Today was the last race for the V8s and unfortunately Romain’s gave up before the end. We saw a massive drop in oil pressure in the data but we won’t be sure of the exact reason until we get the car back; it could be cause or consequence. In any case it caused the engine to seize and explode in a spectacular way, so we’ll investigate thoroughly to analyse exactly what lead to the failure.”
  11. Romain Grosjean ended the day sixth with Heikki Kovalainen eleventh during a rain affected qualifying session for tomorrow’s Brazilian Grand Prix. The classically unpredictable São Paulo weather saw conditions range from drying, to light showers, then heavy downpours; making for a challenging but entertaining afternoon at the Interlagos circuit. An absence of rain at the start of Q1 left a drying track as the drivers emerged for their opening runs on intermediate tyres; both making an early jump to take advantage of the conditions before the forecasted showers began. Romain’s time in that single stint was good enough to see him through in eighth place, whilst Heikki opted for a second run to eventually progress in fifth. With the rain intensity starting to increase, Q2 once again saw both drivers head out for early stints on the intermediate rubber; pitting for fresh sets of the same compound with minutes to spare after initial banker runs. A fantastic lap from Romain saw the Frenchman progress in top spot, whilst Heikki narrowly missed the cut for the top ten shootout in eleventh. Torrential downpours in the build-up to Q3 saw the session delayed by fourty minutes due to excessive levels of standing water on the track. Once underway, the sole remaining E21 set off for an exploratory lap on wets, before pitting immediately for a switch to intermediates. As the puddles began to clear so the times started to tumble; Romain putting in a respectable lap in the final moments to take sixth on tomorrow’s grid. Heikki Kovalainen, E21-05 Q: P11, 1:27.456 FP3: P3, 1:28.595 “It’s disappointing not to make the top ten, but I just didn’t have enough pace in the second session; it’s as simple as that. The conditions weren’t ideal, but it’s the same for everybody and there was nothing wrong with the car so I can’t have any complaints. It’s not the ideal starting position, but the car is performing well and anything can happen in motor racing – especially here at Interlagos – so we’ll look at where we can improve for tomorrow and try to do a better job in the race.” Romain Grosjean, E21-04 Q: P6, 1:27.737 FP3: P2, 1:28.195 “That was quite a difficult afternoon. It was tricky to decide which tyre we should use for the final qualifying session and we wanted to try for pole which is why we used the intermediates, but in the end there was probably just a little bit too much water which certainly made things interesting. Ultimately my lap wasn’t good enough, but the car has been strong all weekend so we’re confident for the race no matter what the weather is. Certainly, my Q2 lap in the wet today was very good and we know we have a strong baseline setup in the dry, so let’s see what happens.” Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “Not a great qualifying performance from the team.” How was qualifying? Honestly? Rather disappointing. The car has been performing well all weekend in the wet conditions, so we were hoping for a strong performance. Heikki was unlucky to narrowly miss out on going through to the top ten by a very small margin, and conceded a couple of small errors on his lap. In the final session we let Romain down with a poorly timed pit stop after making the call to put him out on intermediates. These were the right tyres, but we should have waited a little before he started his run on them. What’s possible in the race? We still have a good chance for a strong result tomorrow. Both drivers have been very comfortable with the car in the wet conditions today and we know it performs well in the dry. If it’s dry then everyone will be heading into the race without any tyre data, which could be an advantage for us as our tyre management in the race is generally amongst the best on the grid.
  12. Heikki Kovalainen ended a wet first day of practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix with the fourth fastest time at Interlagos. Romain Grosjean was tenth fastest on a day which started wet and became wetter with rainfall over the Brazilian track in São Paulo. Technical programme notes Pirelli’s Intermediate (green) and Wet (blue) tyres were used in the morning and afternoon sessions. The morning session was damp, the afternoon was considerably wetter with ongoing rain and increased standing water. What we learned today: Wet set-up was validated through a significant number of laps in anticipation of similar conditions for qualifying tomorrow. Heikki Kovalainen, E21-05 Free practice 1: P9, 1:26.133, 31 laps Free practice 2: P4, 1:28.129, 13 laps Heikki: “Obviously, it was challenging conditions but it was good for me to get the experience in the wet weather. There were no big surprises and the car was behaving quite well. It was a little bit trickier than driving in the dry, but we expected this. That said, I think the team have made good progress in this area as it wasn’t too difficult to drive. There are still a couple of areas where we can improve on, and whether we have valid information for tomorrow’s weather we don’t know yet.” Romain Grosjean, E21-04 Free practice 1: P13, 1:26.570, 28 laps Free practice 2: P10, 1:28.891, 12 laps Romain: “It wasn’t perfect weather and we still have some progress to make on the wet set-up for conditions like we had today. In the morning it was a struggle for grip with too much understeer, but we made progress in this area for the afternoon and have a few ideas about how we can improve further for tomorrow. It’s certainly a challenge with the spray and standing water, but despite this it’s still awesome to be driving around Interlagos.” Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “We’ve gained strong data using both of Pirelli’s wet tyres. Romain wasn’t happy with his set-up in the morning, but he was much happier in the afternoon. Heikki continues to get comfortable with the car and in the team and showed great pace in the wet in the afternoon with the fourth quickest time. We’re happy with today’s work.”
  13. Romain Grosjean produced a superbly controlled drive to take second place in the United States Grand Prix from third on the grid, whilst a difficult afternoon for Heikki Kovalainen saw the Finn drop to fifteenth from his eighth place grid slot. A lightning start from Romain saw the Frenchman leapfrog Mark Webber for second place at the first corner, with Heikki dropping to twelfth as the safety car emerged for an incident involving Adrian Sutil. Both drivers maintained position at the restart; remaining as such until the first round of pit stops. Managing his pace and tyre degradation perfectly, Romain held off a strong charge from Mark Webber immediately following a single pit stop each, and again in the latter stages of the race. Heikki rose as high as tenth after the opening batch of stops, only to suffer a loss of front downforce which forced the Finn to pit for a new nose having dropped two positions in quick succession. Romain crossed the line to clinch a fourth podium finish from the last five races – his sixth overall in 2013 – to see the Frenchman ranked the second highest points scorer since the Singapore Grand Prix behind World Champion Sebastian Vettel. Heikki came home fifteenth at the flag. Kimi Räikkönen’s absence from the race sees him fall to fourth place in the Drivers’ Championship on an unchanged 183 points; four behind Lewis Hamilton in third. Romain remains in seventh position with 132 points; trailing Nico Rosberg by 29. The team remains fourth in the Constructors’ Championship on 315 points from Ferrari’s 333, with third spot remaining a firm target heading into the final round in Brazil. Heikki started from eighth on the grid with a scrubbed set of medium tyres; pitting for new hards on lap 17 and fresh mediums on lap 31. The Finn’s second stop included a nose change after the Finn reported a loss of front downforce. Romain started from third on a scrubbed set of medium tyres; making a single stop for a new set of hards on lap 29. Heikki Kovalainen, P15, E21-05 “My start wasn’t great but then it was going okay until the first pit stop as I was racing with the pack with the car feeling quite good. After the pit stop I started to have a few problems, but it was difficult to know exactly what was going on. We had issues with downforce so we changed the front wing and after that it was much better, although still not as good as it’s felt previously this weekend. There was a KERS issue too, though not enough to account for my lack of race pace. We’ll have a good look at the data and hopefully be on top of things far better for the race in Brazil.” Romain Grosjean, P2, E21-04 “That was a really tough race. I had to have probably one of my best ever drives to keep Mark [Webber] behind and it’s a great feeling to have tamed at least one of the Bulls in Texas as they clearly had the fastest package today. We knew a good start would be the key, so making up one place in the first corner was really important and the car was just fantastic from there onwards. The whole team here and back at Enstone are doing an amazing job. Every day I see them working hard together to keep us at the front and when you look at the gap to the next nearest challenger, it’s clear that we’re the second best team after Red Bull right now. I think this place must bring me luck; this time last year I found out my wife was pregnant and now I’ve equalled my best finish in Formula 1, so I can’t wait to come back again and see what happens next year!” Eric Boullier, Team Principal “It’s been another positive weekend for the team. We scored more points than our championship rivals through a perfect drive from Romain. It really was his best Grand Prix ever and another excellent performance to add to his recent run of great form. The only way we could fight the Red Bulls was if Romain made a great start and that’s exactly what he delivered. It’s disappointing that Heikki couldn’t convert his eighth place on the grid to a points finish, but we had issues with his front wing and KERS which we will investigate before Brazil.” Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director “We congratulate Romain on an absolutely faultless race of 100% perfection lap after lap. He was under enormous pressure from Mark Webber in what was clearly a faster car and he did exactly what was asked of him at every turn of the race. It was a shame for Heikki as he didn’t have a great start, then he had an issue with front wing and then KERS. On the plus side, he ran to the end of the race so has gained valuable experience in the E21 ahead of Brazil.” Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader “A great result for Romain and awesome to see our package beating one of the Red Bulls on sheer pace. At this stage in the season – and in the fight for the Constructors’ Championship – these points will be very important. Heikki did a good job all weekend but unfortunately could not challenge for the points after a change for a new front wing and then a KERS issue when he rejoined. It seems to be a mechanical issue and we’ll check after tonight to see how to prevent a reoccurrence in Brazil.”
  14. Romain Grosjean ended the day third with Heikki Kovalainen eighth during qualifying for tomorrow’s United States Grand Prix. Cool, dry, misty conditions prevailed during the morning’s final practice session, with rising temperatures and sporadic gusts of wind the feature of qualifying at the Circuit of the Americas. An unpredictable Q1 session saw varying grip levels and wind speed make a significant impact on the latter stages of proceedings. Romain Grosjean benefitted to progress in tenth position without the need for a run on the medium compound tyre, having topped the times with his initial effort on hards. A comfortable start for Heikki Kovalainen meanwhile saw him move through to the next phase in seventh place after a solid medium-shod run. Q2 by contrast was a tightly fought affair. A single run on medium rubber for Romain clinched fifth spot on the time sheets; the Frenchman setting a competitive first lap before aborting his second attempt after a big lock-up. A solid opening effort from Heikki was followed by a last-gasp second stint, in which the Finn soaked up the pressure to reach the pole position shootout by the narrowest of margins in tenth. A single, medium tyre run apiece in the final showdown brought a strong finale to Saturday in Austin for the boys in black and gold; Romain making his third top-three qualifying appearance from the last six races, with Heikki impressing in eighth. Heikki Kovalainen, E21-05 Q: P8, 1:37.715 FP3: P13, 1:37.879 “I knew yesterday that we had a good car, but I didn’t really set myself a target for qualifying. I felt that I got pretty much everything I could from it today, as I struggled a bit compared to yesterday with the cooler temperatures this afternoon. Overall, everything’s been positive so far and we got into the top ten. I’m not making any predictions, but we’ve seen that Kimi could do pretty well working forwards from similar grid positions so hopefully tomorrow we can have another good day.” Romain Grosjean, E21-04 Q: P3, 1:37.155 FP3: P5, 1:37.345 “It’s not been the easiest weekend in terms of finding the right balance with the car, so to be third on the grid is a good result. We managed to go through Q1 on the hard tyre which was not the plan initially, but it was a nice surprise and gave us options for the two following sessions. It’s great for the team to have Heikki [Kovalainen] in the top ten too – especially with Mercedes and Ferrari struggling a little bit – as we’re still fighting them hard in the Constructors’ Championship, so hopefully we can score good points with both cars tomorrow. Sebastian [Vettel] and Mark [Webber] were very quick today, but of course we’ll do our best to round up the bulls in the race; we are in Texas after all!” Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “We’re very happy with today’s performance from both drivers” How was qualifying for the team? We’re very happy with today’s performance from both drivers. Romain is once more leading the charge against the Red Bulls after a reasonably straight-forward progression through the qualifying sessions. Heikki has come in and demonstrated that he’s certainly got the ability to deliver at the front of the pack; progressing through to the top ten with no real dramas despite his limited experience with our car. How impressive has Heikki been so far this weekend? He’s jumped into the car and delivered exactly what we’ve wanted from him. He qualified solidly in the top ten and has a realistic opportunity to score good points tomorrow. As we’ve seen this year, our car is often stronger in the race than it is in qualifying so he has great potential tomorrow; especially as he’s learning the car more with every lap. Considerations for the race? Our long run pace looks good and there are overtaking opportunities here. The track has evolved well since last year, so there isn’t such a hunt for grip and that should help tyre performance. We’re feeling quite confident.
  15. Romain Grosjean produced a strong drive to take fourth place in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from sixth on the grid, whilst Kimi Räikkönen’s race ended in retirement following contact at the first corner. A flying start from Romain saw him jump two places to fourth position through the opening series of corners; settling in behind the third-placed Red Bull of Mark Webber until the first round of pit stops. Kimi meanwhile saw his evening curtailed after just a few hundred metres; a clash of wheels with Caterham’s Giedo van der Garde resulting in a broken track rod on the Finn’s E21. Having emerged right behind Esteban Guttierez after his first pit stop, Romain wasted little time in passing the Mexican, only to be held up behind Adrian Sutil until the second phase of stops. Once in clear air, the Frenchman pushed hard to build a sufficient gap which would allow him to re-join in front of both Ferraris following his second stop; achieving that task by the narrowest of margins. Despite consistently closing the gap to Nico Rosberg in the closing stages, Romain missed out on a fourth consecutive podium finish by a margin of just a single second at the flag. Kimi retains third place in the Drivers’ Championship on 183 points; 34 behind Fernando Alonso in second. Romain remains in seventh position with 114 points; trailing Nico Rosberg by 45. The team remains fourth in the Constructors’ Championship on 297 points from Ferrari’s 323, with third spot remaining a firm target heading into the final two races of the season. Kimi started from twenty-second on the grid with a new set of medium tyres, having been excluded from his P5 qualifying slot due to a technical infringement on his E21. He retired on the first lap after contact with Giedo van der Garde at Turn 1 which broke his right-front track rod. Romain started from sixth on a scrubbed set of soft tyres, having been promoted one position on the grid as a result of his team-mate’s penalty. The Frenchman pitted on lap eight for new mediums, and again on lap thirty-seven for a scrubbed set of the same compound. In his pursuit of the final podium position, Romain set the third fastest lap of the race on his penultimate lap; underlining the pace of the E21 here at the Yas Marina Circuit. Kimi Räikkönen, DNF, E21-05 “There was some contact in front of me through the first corner so I stuck to the inside, but unfortunately one of the Caterhams touched my front wheel and it broke the track rod. It wasn’t a heavy impact, but the angle made it worse. It’s never easy starting so far back on the grid, but after the penalty it was a better choice to help our chances in the race rather than starting from the pit lane. After a difficult start to the weekend we did well yesterday so it was a shame we couldn’t start where we qualified, but these things happen sometimes; it’s just back luck.” Romain Grosjean, P4, E21-04 “That was a pretty long race. I got a good start and made up two places in the first few corners, but after that I lost a lot of time behind the Force India. I could overtake him with the DRS, but he had much better top speed and could just drive straight back past at the next straight. That middle stint cost us the chance of a podium in the end, and on pace we could maybe even have pushed Mark [Webber] for second place, but that’s how it goes sometimes. It’s a shame we couldn’t make it four podiums in a row, but to come away with fourth place after a difficult couple of days is a decent result.” Eric Boullier, Team Principal “It’s been a difficult weekend for the team, but we can be pleased with the fact our car has once again shown strong pace at another different circuit. After the misfortune of his qualifying penalty it was always going to be a tough race for Kimi. Starting at the back with a faster car always puts you in a tricky position, and in the end it was bad luck once again that saw his race end on the first lap; for the first time since 2006 I believe. Romain drove a very mature race to narrowly miss out on his fourth consecutive podium, which on another day and without his issues in qualifying would certainly have been within reach. We have some work to do if we are to achieve our target of third place in the Constructors’ Championship, so our focus must now be on returning to the podium in Austin.” Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director “We came into this weekend anticipating another podium challenge, but unfortunately circumstances have ultimately conspired against that happening. Having already been stripped of his best qualifying performance since Germany, Kimi’s race was cut short on the first lap after a tangle with one of the Caterhams, bringing a disappointing end to a weekend where his pace had been much improved. It was a trouble free race for Romain by contrast, who drove well to take fourth place. His progress was quite heavily hindered by traffic midway through the race and we didn’t quite have the pace to challenge [Nico] Rosberg in the closing stages, so realistically he achieved the best possible result on the day. What’s especially pleasing is that he’s gone from being labelled a ‘first lap nutcase’ to consistently gaining positions away from the line and through the opening sequence of corners at each race. We now head to Austin where we’ll be working hard to make a return to the podium.” Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader “Romain did a great job today to finish just outside the podium places. Again he managed the engine and fuel consumption well so we could turn up the engine modes when we needed to push and he came away with some valuable points for the championship battle. Unfortunately Kimi stopped early, but it’s always a risk when starting from that position. We’ll keep it focused for the final two races though and try to get as many points as we can to finish the V8 era on a high.”
  16. Kimi Räikkönen ended the day fifth with team-mate Romain Grosjean seventh in a tightly contested qualifying session for tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Hot, dry, still conditions prevailed during the final practice session, with cooling temperatures the feature of qualifying as the sun set over the Yas Marina Circuit. A straightforward Q1 session saw both drivers set a banker lap on medium tyres, before emerging for a single stint on soft rubber to sail through in third [Kimi] and seventh [Romain]. Q2 by contrast was a closely fought affair; the Finn and Frenchman progressing in ninth and eighth respectively, separated by less than three hundredths of a second after two runs apiece on softs. The top ten shootout of Q3 again saw both black and gold cars make two appearances on soft tyres, with their opening runs good enough for a pair of top six placings. As the chequered flag dropped under the Yas Marina floodlights, Kimi found himself fifth with Romain seventh. Kimi Räikkönen, E21-05 Q: P5, 1:40.542 FP3: P9, 1:42.387 “Today wasn’t too bad overall. In the early sessions both yesterday and today I struggled a bit to get the car working how I wanted, but in the evening when the temperature is cooler it’s been much more to my liking. This is good as the race will be in the evening so we’d prefer it that way around for sure. The short wheelbase car seems to suit my style a bit better too, so hopefully we can continue this way for tomorrow. Of course, you always want to be as far up the grid as you can and we clearly weren’t the fastest today, but you never know what might happen on Sunday so we’ll see what we can do.” Romain Grosjean, E21-04 Q: P7, 1:40.997 FP3: P5, 1:41.832 “That was one of the trickier qualifying sessions we’ve had recently, and seventh on the grid is not where we expected to be after the pace we’ve shown so far this weekend. The car felt quite different this evening – particularly in terms of front end – so we’ll need to investigate where it’s not quite working. It’s a long race tomorrow in tough conditions and everyone around us will be starting on the same tyres, so we need to try and find some performance from the data tonight to achieve our target of the podium.” Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “We expect strong race pace tomorrow” How was qualifying for the team? That was a great qualifying performance from Kimi who was unlucky not to be in front of both Mercedes after the final sector of his qualifying lap narrowly cost him a potential third position. By contrast, Romain had a bit of a struggle today and wasn’t as comfortable with his car as he has been so far this weekend. Having both cars inside the top ten is a decent result however, as we expect to see strong race pace from the E21. What is possible tomorrow? Our target on pace alone is to race and beat Mercedes; ending the weekend with another good points haul over them in the Constructors’ Championship in the process. Of course, we’ll be ready to capitalise on any opportunities that Red Bull may present us, but they are looking very fast once more here. What are the tyre strategy considerations for the race? There don’t appear to be too many permutations here, so it could be quite a straight-forward race. Certainly, the different options that presented themselves in New Delhi don’t look to be available here so we’ll watch how the race evolves and react accordingly.
  17. Kimi Räikkönen ended the first day of practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with the fourth fastest time of the day at the Yas Marina Circuit; racking up the joint-highest number of laps completed in the process [65 across the two sessions]. Romain Grosjean was fastest in the first session, but had a brake and then a vibration issue in the second session to end the day twelfth fastest. Technical Programme Notes: Kimi ran with the team’s original, shorter wheelbase specification whilst Romain ran with the later, longer wheelbase specification. Kimi ran trouble-free throughout both sessions enabling a variety of set-up permutations to be evaluated, whilst Romain missed track time in the second session due to an issue first with his brakes, then with vibration. Pirelli’s medium [white] tyre was used in the first session, the medium and soft [yellow] compound in the second session [both held in the afternoon]. What We Learned Today: The E21 demonstrated strong potential using both tyre compounds in both long and short configuration. Kimi Räikkönen, E21-05 Free Practice 1: P6, 1:44.929, 23 laps Free Practice 2: P4, 1:41.726, 42 laps Kimi: “The car feels okay and we had a pretty normal Friday. The shorter chassis feels okay here, but I didn’t drive it back to back with the longer one so it’s difficult to say which is better. We’re still trying to get rid of some understeer, but on this circuit it feels better so far. As always, there are some improvements we can make to the car so let’s see what happens tomorrow.” Romain Grosjean, E21-04 Free Practice 1: P1, 1:44.241, 21 laps Free Practice 2: P12, 1:42.607, 18 laps Romain: “It’s been a pretty good day even if we missed time in the later session whilst the brakes were worked on. We also had a little vibration that needed looking at, but it wasn’t the end of the world. The car feels pretty good as we saw with the fastest time in the first session, so I’m sure we’ll get on top of everything we need to for tomorrow.” Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “As always in Abu Dhabi, we saw two very different sessions on Friday; the first taking place in daylight with very high track temperatures, the second in much more representative evening temperatures which is what we’ll see for qualifying and the race. We completed limited setup work in FP1 – focusing on setting ride heights rather than car balance – then used FP2 to complete our normal evaluations of the two tyre compounds. Unfortunately Romain had a brake disc failure which lost him some track time, and there was a small vibration when he returned to the track so we cut his day short in order to fully investigate this issue. Kimi meanwhile had a good day and looks competitive on both tyres. He wanted to try the short wheelbase car again as he felt its characteristics would suit this circuit. So far it all looks good and this configuration will be kept on his car for the remainder of the weekend. His long-run pace looks very encouraging on both tyres.”
  18. Romain Grosjean drove a perfect race from seventeenth on the Indian Grand Prix grid to third at the chequered flag – despite enduring problems with his engine’s pneumatic system – whilst Kimi Räikkönen found the limits of his tyre’s performance as the team attempted a one-stop strategy. Romain managed his car well to take the final podium slot while the team and engine partners Renault devised a strategy to limit the air consumption of his engine’s pneumatic system. Kimi ran out of tyre performance near the end of his race, resulting in a late pit stop and the consolation of the race’s fastest lap. Kimi retains third place in the Drivers’ Championship on 183 points; 14 points ahead of Lewis Hamilton and with a reduced gab to Fernando Alonso on 207 ahead. Romain rises to seventh position on an equal points tally – 102 – to Felipe Massa in eighth. The team remains fourth in the Constructors’ Championship on 285 points from Ferrari’s 309. Over the previous four races – Singapore, Korea, Japan and India – Lotus F1 Team has scored the second highest points tally of any outfit on the grid with a haul of 94, behind only Red Bull Racing on 118. In that same period, only Sebastian Vettel has outscored Kimi and Romain; 100 points for the German compared to the Finn’s 49 and Frenchman’s 45. Kimi started from P6 with a scrubbed set of soft tyres, changing to new mediums on lap 7 and making a late stop for a further set of mediums on lap 58. Romain started from P17 on a new set soft tyres, changing to a new set of mediums on lap 13. Kimi Räikkönen, P7, E21-05 “We ran maybe the first twenty laps with no brakes as they had overheated massively, so every time I got close to somebody I lost braking. At the end of the race I ran out of tyre performance too so it’s been a pretty disappointing day. I knew the tyres would drop off quite quickly, but there wasn’t much to lose between trying to get to the end and making an extra pit stop in terms of time lost. In the end it didn’t work.” Romain Grosjean, P3, E21-04 “If you had told me yesterday that I’d be on the podium here I would have said you were crazy! Straight from the beginning of the race I felt very comfortable on the option tyres and we looked in pretty good shape, then we fitted the mediums and the car was really quick. I lost quite a lot of time behind [Esteban] Gutierrez which maybe cost us the fight for second, but we managed to come back from that well. When I saw that I was fourth in front of [Felipe] Massa with 27 laps to go I knew it was going to be close with him as we had to take care of the tyres, plus we had an engine issue at the end of the race which made things quite tricky. In the final laps Kimi was really struggling with his tyres so I managed to pass him and luckily had enough pace to keep Felipe behind. Before the race our best prediction was fourth if we had a strong start and a perfect race, so it was an amazing result and a great performance from the team.” Eric Boullier, Team Principal “It’s been an eventful weekend. In the end it was a brilliant job from the team and a great performance from Romain, who had a very strong drive and managed to conserve his tyre performance right to the end. He was fast today despite having to nurse his engine, and being on the podium is a good reward for the whole team. Obviously it’s disappointing that the tyres couldn’t last long enough for Kimi as being third and fourth would have been an amazing result for the team and very useful in the Constructors’ Championship, but we’ll keep fighting hard until the end of the season and we’ll give some headaches to the other teams. We give our congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull for their Championship victory today, and also our promise that we’re working hard to give them a tougher battle in 2014.” Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director “It was a fantastic race from both drivers, even though the strategy didn’t quite work out for Kimi. We started with a plan of two stops for him but made the call to go for one after losing time stuck behind Nico [Hulkenberg]. Unfortunately the tyres didn’t quite last as long as he needed and he was forced into making a late stop for fresh rubber. It was a fantastic drive from Romain again and a great call from our strategy team to move him from seventeenth to third; that was just brilliant. Romain’s engine pneumatic system’s air consumption was a big worry and we had to use every trick in the book to avoid him retiring as per Singapore. Overall, a great team performance today.” Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader “A hard race today right until the end, and a relief to get the eventual result! Romain did a fantastic job to finish on the podium; especially with having to manage a problem with the pneumatic system. Unfortunately we had an occurrence similar to the issue from Singapore – despite having put a solution in place – so we’ll look at this before Abu Dhabi. Also a big congratulations to all at Red Bull; it’s great to see another Renault powered title!”
  19. Kimi Räikkönen qualified sixth with team-mate Romain Grosjean seventeenth ahead of tomorrow’s Indian Grand Prix. Warm, dry conditions remained throughout the day at the Buddh International circuit, with the poor visibility that had hampered FP3 earlier in the day clearing sufficiently to allow un-interrupted running for qualifying. A tightly contested Q1 session saw Kimi make two runs – one on each tyre compound – to eventually progress in P6 using the soft rubber. Romain by contrast ran a single stint on medium tyres; a gamble which narrowly failed to pay off as the Frenchman found himself eliminated at the first hurdle, despite posting a time just a second away from the fastest car. Q2 was more straightforward for the remaining E21; Kimi progressing comfortably to the top ten in fourth with a strong pair of single lap runs on the medium tyres. The final session saw the Finn take sixth spot at the flag with a single run on soft rubber. Kimi Räikkönen, E21-05 Q: P6, 1:25.248 FP3: P11, 1:26.635 “It wasn’t an ideal qualifying session and I’m still having some problems with understeer, but the car did feel better overall than yesterday. The tyres have to be managed over a full lap for qualifying so we are where we are on the grid. We’ll see what happens tomorrow and I’ll try to do as well as I can. Overall, the car feels slightly better than in the last few races; still not where we want it to be, but slightly better.” Romain Grosjean, E21-04 Q: P17, 1:26.577 FP3: P5, 1:26.350 “We took a gamble once again to try just one run on the prime tyres in Q1, and although it’s been a successful tactic for us recently it didn’t pay off this time. The times were much tighter than expected and ultimately we made a miscalculation with the cut-off time. It’s easy to look back and think what might have been, but we made the decision together and unfortunately in the end it was the wrong one. It’s tough to overtake here so it’s going to be a long race from seventeenth on the grid. We’ll have to pull off something quite special with the strategy to take anything from there, but of course we’ll analyse the options overnight to see what’s possible. For sure we won’t be leading after the first corner this time, but we’ll do our best.” Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “In hindsight we made the wrong call” How was qualifying for the team? In hindsight we made the wrong call with Romain. We expected him to progress quite comfortably through Q1 on the medium tyre and unfortunately this wasn’t the case. Clearly, he’s starting a long way out of position and will need a strong charge through the field to make it into the top ten, but we’re extremely confident that he’ll be able to do so. How far into the points he can progress will depend on the start and our management of the tyres. It was a reasonably straightforward session for Kimi with no real dramas. He’ll be the first to admit that qualifying hasn’t been going to plan for him recently, and he’s about where we expected him to be after free practice this morning. As always we’re confident that his race pace will be exemplary, so we’re anticipating a very strong race from him starting from sixth on the grid. Where do we stand in terms of setup to help the drivers progress through the field tomorrow? We’ve taken this into account after seeing how tough overtaking can be here during last season’s race. Kimi’s car is certainly more biased towards race pace than single lap performance, and we’ll be looking at ways to help Romain carve his way up the order overnight too. Our race pace on the medium tyre looked strong during practice, so we’re hopeful of making progress. What are the tyre strategy considerations for the race? Today very much followed the pattern of the weekend so far, with the option tyre suffering from blistering and graining while the prime looks to be a very strong choice for the race. We’ve seen so far that there’s about a second per lap difference in long run pace between the two. One of the keys to the race is certainly making the front left tyre – and to a lesser extent the front right – last when using the soft compound; particularly on high fuel at the start of the race.
  20. Romain Grosjean ended the first day of practice for the Indian Grand Prix with the third fastest lap of the day, whilst Kimi Räikkönen was eighth at the Buddh International Circuit. Both drivers completed their Friday programmes, with extra focus given to long runs on Pirelli’s soft and medium tyre allocation. Technical programme notes Both cars ran trouble-free through both sessions enabling a variety of set-up permutations to be evaluated. Pirelli’s medium (white) tyre was used in the morning and the medium and soft (yellow) compound slick tyres were used in the afternoon session. What we learned today: The E21 demonstrated strong potential using both tyre compounds. Kimi Räikkönen, E21-05 Free practice 1: P17, 1:28.730, 18 laps Free practice 2: P8, 1:26.632, 32 laps Kimi: “The car feels pretty okay now, but we can still make it better. We made quite a few changes in the morning as it didn’t feel so good then, but it’s much better now and we should be able to make more progress for tomorrow. The track is quite slippery, but that improves with time and the car gets better too.” Romain Grosjean, E21-04 Free practice 1: P4, 1:26.990, 20 laps Free practice 2: P3, 1:26.220, 36 laps Romain: “That was a good start to the weekend. The car feels good and we made progress through the day to make it better. It’s still a struggle to find grip here which can make things interesting as you find the limits, but the pace of our car relative to our rivals looks quite good. I’m hopeful of another solid day tomorrow which should give us another strong qualifying position if the evidence of today is anything to go by. We’ll do everything we can to take the fight to Red Bull.” Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “It was a difficult morning for Kimi who wasn’t happy with the balance of his car so his engineers made a reasonable amount of changes to the set-up over lunch, meaning the car was much more to his liking in the afternoon. Romain was generally happy with his car and just made minor changes to the set-up to get it 100% to his liking. We completed a good number of laps on low and high fuel with both tyres and we’re looking in strong shape. The Red Bulls are unfortunately looking incredibly quick, but we’re leading the charge behind them.”
  21. Another strong performance for Lotus F1 Team saw Romain Grosjean take a fighting third, whilst team-mate Kimi Räikkönen battled his way to fifth in a tense Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. A superb start from Romain saw him lead in the early stages, before fighting hard with both Red Bulls in the latter stages. Kimi endured a tough start – dropping back to P11 – before battling back in typical fashion to climb back up the order. Kimi retains third place in the Drivers’ Championship on 177 points; sixteen clear of Lewis Hamilton and thirty behind Fernando Alonso. Romain Grosjean remains eighth in the standings on 87 points, just three behind Felipe Massa. The team maintains fourth in the Constructors’ Championship on 264 points; now just 23 behind Mercedes and comfortably ahead of McLaren. Kimi started from P9 with a scrubbed set of medium compound tyres, changing to scrubbed hard tyres on lap 11 and new hard tyres on lap 31. Romain started from P4 on a scrubbed set of medium compound tyres, changing to scrubbed hard tyres on lap 12 and new hard tyres on lap 29. Kimi Räikkönen, P5, E21-05 “I had a very poor start. I left the line with wheelspin and lost a few places which wasn’t ideal, but I managed to gain places back later on in the race. After the final pit stop the car was working much better. It ran well in the last half of the race and I was very happy with it. It was a pretty normal race I would say. It’s difficult to overtake here so it’s good that we got some points. We did what we could.” Romain Grosjean, P3, E21-04 “Today was just a very, very good race. What a start! It was superb to go past both the Red Bulls like that and it’ll be one of my best memories of the year. The car was fantastic on the first set of tyres and we managed to pull away, but then the Red Bulls were able to reel us in later on. Ultimately, we were the only car to almost catch the bull. It’s been a great home race for my engineer; it’s always good to come to Japan and it’s really good to be back on the podium again.” Eric Boullier, Team Principal “It’s great to see such a good fight in the race and both our cars show so strongly. Once again, both drivers, our strategists and the pit crew performed brilliantly and we did the very best we could on track. We don’t have the pace to beat Red Bull, but today we showed them that we are nevertheless quite formidable whilst also underlining to Mercedes and Ferrari that we are a strong contender for the final four races of the season. We must say a big thanks to everyone at Enstone for the fantastic car we have in the E21. To see Romain leading the race was very satisfying and we hope to see that again very soon.” Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director “It was a great race for us and superb to see Romain leading for so much of it. We were the only team to take the fight to Red Bull; ultimately they were too quick for us but we took a strong and well deserved third place with Romain and a fighting fifth with Kimi. Romain made a fantastic start and we had enough in hand in the first stint to be able to pit a lap later than Mark, but they started to catch us on the medium tyres and Sebastian was able to catch and pass reasonably easily with their superior pace. It’s a great feeling to show so strongly at Suzuka.” Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader “Suzuka plays to the strengths of our chassis-engine package, with the straights taking advantage of the good top end power whilst our driveability and good tyre wear favour the slower, more flowing sections. A great race for Romain today; he had a fantastic start and was in contention for the win throughout the entire race. Kimi also had a strong race and was very close to giving Renault a perfect 1-2-3-4 result!”
  22. Romain Grosjean qualified P4 with team-mate Kimi Räikkönen P9 ahead of tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix. Warm, dry conditions remained throughout the day at the Suzuka circuit, with changing wind direction a factor throughout proceedings. Romain put in an impressive lap on the hard compound tyre to go fastest in the red flag interrupted Q1 session with Kimi taking P8. The Frenchman then edged a tight intra-team Q2 battle to take P3 from his Finnish counterpart’s P5, with both posting laps within three tenths of one another in the final Q3 session to end the day in P4 / P9. Kimi Räikkönen, E21-05 Q: P9, 1:31.684 FP3: P8, 1:32.946 “The car has felt much better here than it has in recent races; even if we don’t have a better position on the grid for tomorrow. A small mistake on my quick lap cost me a little bit of time and it’s very close here, so a small amount lost can mean quite a few positions dropped. We’ll have to see what happens in the race, but the car has certainly been more to my liking this weekend so the position on the grid is not a drama.” Romain Grosjean, E21-04 Q: P4, 1:31.365 FP3: P4, 1:32.707 “The Red Bulls have looked very strong and we knew it would be tight with Lewis [Hamilton] for P3, so I think we did a good job to take P4. The car feels much better than it did yesterday; especially on the hard tyres which we had been struggling with previously but were then fastest with in Q1 today. The team worked hard to address this overnight and we’ve shown great progress through the weekend once again. It’s a tight, technical circuit, the wind is still making things tricky and it should stay pretty hot, so it’ll be interesting to see what we can do in the race. I’m feeling pretty good.” Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “We’re now very happy on both tyre compounds” How was qualifying for the team? Today went reasonably to plan with both drivers in the top ten for tomorrow’s race. Romain continued his good qualifying form and P4 on the grid is a good result, but agonisingly close to P3 once again. It was a very close qualifying session so to have Kimi start P9 is no big drama; especially as we know how well he can work through the field in race conditions. How much progress has been made since yesterday? After missing some long runs on Friday, we spent more time on race preparation during morning practice and managed to unlock some extra pace in the car – especially on the primes – so we’re now very happy on both compounds. Yes, we did struggle with the hard tyres yesterday, but we’ve made a significant setup change which has certainly been beneficial in this area. Both drivers are much happier with their cars. What are the strategic permutations tomorrow? The weather forecast looks fine, while the wind – which is often a factor here – looks to be coming from a similar direction to today although maybe not as strong. With that in mind – added to our pace on both tyre compounds – we’re confident we can come up with a good strategy for a strong result.
  23. Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Maria de Villota earlier today. On behalf of the team here in Japan and back at Enstone, I would like to express our condolences to the friends, family and colleagues of Maria. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.” Kimi Räikkönen set the fourth fastest and Romain Grosjean the fifth fastest time on the first day of practice for the Japanese Grand Prix. Hot conditions, clear blue skies and off-track excursions from a number of drivers characterised the day, amongst them Kimi; who ended the second session early – stranded in gravel at Turn 7 – following a spin. Technical programme notes: Kimi missed the final 30 minutes of running in FP2 following a spin. Pirelli’s hard compound [orange] tyre was used in the morning, the hard and medium [white] in the afternoon session. What we learned today: The E21 demonstrated strong potential on both tyre compounds. Kimi Räikkönen, E21-05 Free Practice 1: P8, 1:35.364, 17 laps Free practice 2: P4, 1:34.202, 17 laps Kimi: “The car felt pretty good today. Of course, there are some areas we can improve but I’m quite happy with the progress we made. I spun in FP2 so we did miss some of the long run laps we would have got this afternoon. I was on a fast run and the wind changed, which can affect the car sometimes. At least we didn’t do any damage so the crew won’t have any extra work. It’s not a big drama as we know the track pretty well. We have a few changes for tomorrow so let’s see what happens.” Romain Grosjean, E21-04 Free Practice 1: P7, 1:35.179, 15 laps Free Practice 2: P5, 1:34.411, 30 laps Romain: “Finding the right balance to get the car working well around here is quite tricky and the tyres are not making that any easier, so we’ve got some work to do overnight to make it a little easier to handle. There’s definitely some more performance to be found, and it’s always better to be near the top of the times even if you’ve not got things quite right, so we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.” Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “We have struggled a bit for consistency today, with both drivers having off-track excursions. Romain in particular experienced brake locking, which is something we can counter with some mapping work. We lost a reasonable amount of long run data collection as a result of Kimi’s spin, meaning Romain’s programme was modified slightly and we might look at doing some race simulation work during tomorrow’s practice. On the softer tyre we look competitive and I think we can expect to qualify well. Our long run pace also looks good so it’s an encouraging start to the weekend.”
  24. 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 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 “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 “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 “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.”
  25. 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 “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 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 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.
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