Lotus: We leave Abu Dhabi feeling good
14 November, 2011
Nov.14 (Team Lotus) Team and drivers review the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, round 18 of the 2011 Formula 1 world championship, at Yas Marina Circuit.
Heikki Kovalainen, Car 20 – Chassis T128-04: “Another pretty good start and from there the whole race was straightforward. I didn’t have any issues for the whole race, the pitstops were good and the strategy worked out exactly was we’d planned, so across the whole weekend this has been another strong event for us. What seems to be happening is that in the first couple of stints, as the race sort of settles down, we are able to keep up with the cars ahead, and that’s obviously a sign of how we have progressed, and that’s again what happened here. When we went onto the primes for the last stint the pace obviously dropped a bit but we had another strong push to the end, with Senna losing time on his final set of tyres, and that points to us being able to fight much more closely next year. For now we have one race left, so we’ll shift the focus now to Brazil and make sure we finish the season as strongly as we have been doing since Singapore.”
Jarno Trulli, Car 21 – Chassis T128-03: “I lost a few places at the start with clutch slip, but within a few laps I had got passed the cars we needed to fight and then focused on making sure I got the car to the end of the race. The second stint was pretty strong, but then on the last stint on the hard tyres I was struggling to get them up to temperature so I couldn’t really push any more. This has been a bit of a tough weekend. I came here with a bit of a fever and then losing time in FP3 obviously set me back as well, but now I want to make sure I have as good a race as possible in Brazil and help the team secure tenth place.”
Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader: “I think we managed to get as much as we could hope for today. We have been focusing on giving the drivers the right mix of top-end speed, rear-end stability and good responsiveness in the low to mid-speed corners, and I think Heikki’s early pace showed that we keep going in the right direction.”
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: “A solid race for us and good to see both cars across the finish line with no problems all afternoon. We opted for the same strategy on both cars, running the first two stints on the soft tyres and switching to the mediums at the end and it worked out how we had planned it would. Jarno lost some time at the start but he pulled some of that back with a strong middle stint but was then hit by the number of blue flags that he had to slow down for. At the end of the race Heikki was once again chasing down the Renault but just was not able to get past him with the laps he had left. Now we move on to the last race of the season in Brazil where we will be focusing on the season’s number on goal – securing tenth place and giving ourselves the platform we need to keep building for the future.”
Riad Asmat, Group CEO: “We leave Abu Dhabi feeling pretty good about the way the weekend went for the whole team, particularly seeing Heikki having another storming race and mixing it in the midfield for a good part of the afternoon. We keep edging closer to tenth place, and while that is not a step forward for us in championship terms, compared to last year, it is vital for our long-term growth, and when we can carry over the step-up we have made this year in the pitstops, in the factory and in our race pace, we are putting ourselves in the right place for next season and beyond. One more race to go and we will make sure we keep up this level or performance in Brazil before the race team takes a well-earned break.”