17 July 2012
Q&A: Eric Boullier, Lotus
Eric Boullier: With the E20, the team has demonstrated that it can bounce back after difficult times
Lotus team boss Eric Boullier looks back on Silverstone and ahead to this weekend's German Grand Prix...
Eric, what's your assessment of the British Grand Prix?
Our cars set the two best laps of the race, both our drivers scored points and we kept third position in the Constructors' Championship… but we were expecting more. Apart from the difficult weather conditions, which were the same for everybody, part of the problem was once again our starting positions. We've got the pace to win a race, but the wrong slot on the grid!
How have the Enstone staff members reacted to the team's performance at mid-season?
Being third when reaching the halfway point of the season shows that we're not there by chance. With the E20, the team has demonstrated that it can bounce back after difficult times. I remember looking at the model in the wind tunnel with James Allison last winter. James and I were talking about the aerodynamic gains and mechanical choices made, about the strange look of the nose, about the encouraging figures recorded at that time. We were cautiously optimistic then, but our worst nightmare was always the same; that we would arrive in Jerez for the first winter test session, and everybody would have thought about something we forgot. Fortunately, it did not happen.
Although the team has made a big step recently, it is not a world title contender yet…
This situation is healthy. It shows that we are in control of our progress rate. Consistency seems very often to be the key in F1. Once you've allocated yourself midterm and long-term targets, you should focus on them and not let anything change your strategy. When Genii Capital arrived in Enstone, they immediately understood that fighting for the title within two years would be an impossible goal. They have taken it step by step. A lot of departments were re-structured, some processes were re-assessed, investments were made in key-areas and a new organisation was set-up. It took time, but it had to be done. We can now build on solid ground.
What would be a reasonable target for Hockenheim?
That's a difficult one. Winning could be seen as a reasonable target considering our recent level of performance. This said, a podium could also be a fair goal to envisage. I think we should concentrate on the operational side of things and make sure that our preparations are perfect. Our car has not been the most reliable since Montreal, with KERS, differential, alternator and gearbox issues. We're doing our best to fix this situation. At Silverstone we dramatically improved our pitstops thanks to new procedures and new parts. In Hockenheim, some interesting development parts will appear on Friday. We're pushing, you see. We leave no stone unturned and want to have a much better second half of the championship.
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