14 September 2013
Singapore Grand Prix: Eric Boullier, Lotus - Q&A
Lotus boss Eric Boullier looks at what Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean should be hoping for from the Singapore Grand Prix
Kimi has been announced as driving elsewhere next season; how does this affect the team?
Obviously, it was no secret we wanted to keep him, so it's a disappointment that he won't be driving with us in 2014. Despite this, we know Kimi will be pushing hard for the remainder of this season to secure the very best results he can for himself and the team, and his fighting drive in Monza shows just how well he can push. In the same breath, Enstone has once again proven its pedigree; providing Kimi with two great cars and making his return to Formula 1 a success. It's been a win-win situation right from the beginning. Naturally, we have made preparations in case he decided not to continue driving with the team that brought him back to Formula 1, and I'm confident that we will have a very strong driver line-up next year. We've had Schumacher, Alonso, Raikkonen; new champions will join the list here soon I'm sure.
Monza wasn't our best weekend in terms of results; how does this change the approach to Singapore?
If you want to be competitive in both Championships, you need to be able to fight at the front every weekend; on Saturday as well as on Sunday. The positive from Monza is that we showed fantastic race pace and both drivers drove exceptionally well. The negative was that we couldn't qualify where we needed to be. The results at the end of the last two races weren't a just reward for the team's efforts, but there are plenty of positives to take from Monza; most notably the superb race pace from Kimi as he fought his way back through the field. We head to the final flyaway races with plenty of fight left in us.
Will the team be able to return to the podium in Singapore?
There's no reason to think that a podium will be out of reach. We've been quite competitive on twisty circuits this year and Singapore shares a lot of Monaco's characteristics. Romain loves that type of circuit, while Kimi has always been quick in Singapore. It will be an interesting weekend.
What opportunities does a street course offer the team?
It's probably best we don't mention the wall, but it's true that we probably have a better car on high downforce circuits like Singapore than medium downforce tracks like Spa where we struggled a bit. We have a good reliability record, a durable car, and the Singapore Grand Prix is likely to be one of the longest of the year in terms of running time.
The team has not scored well in the Championships over the last two races; how does this affect preparations?
Obviously we want to get back to scoring as many points as we can, and it is only three races ago in Budapest that we scored the most points of any team. We are comfortably ahead of McLaren in the Constructors' Championship; in fact we have almost three times the amount of points they do with 191 points to their 66. This team has bounced back before and we are focused on achieving the very best results we can over the remaining seven races of this season.
There was a new deal sealed with Emaar Properties over the weekend of the Italian Grand Prix; what does this mean for the team?
We are always looking to expand our portfolio of partners with brands of the right calibre for the team, so we are delighted about this new relationship with the developer of such iconic projects as Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall as it positions us very strongly moving forwards.
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