After the frustration of seeing both cars retire within a lap of each other at Istanbul Park, Lotus Racing team boss Tony Fernandes has stressed the importance of reaching the chequered flag in next weekend's Canadian Grand Prix.
Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen were again the class of the newcomer group, with only Virgin veteran Timo Glock able to get within a second of the Italian in Turkey, but saw 'class victory' slip from their grasp as the dreaded hydraulic problems intervened shortly after lap 30. Ironically, that allowed the previously frail Virgins to claim a 1-2, as Glock and team-mate Lucas di Grassi begin to enjoy greater reliability from the VR-01, but Fernandes has stressed that can be no repeat in Montreal.
“It's been a busy week or so since Turkey, and the team has been working very hard in the factory, particularly focusing on our reliability," the Malaysian revealed, "We have to aim to get two cars home whenever we can, and consistent reliability is the key to doing that. We have developed well in a number of important areas but, so far, reliability is one where we need to work harder.
"I hope Canada's where we can turn that around, especially as North America's an important area for us, particularly bearing in mind CNN is one of our partners and the heritage Lotus has on the continent. I hope we put on a good show in Montreal. The steps we've taken so far this season should help us do that, and we've also just announced how we've strengthened the senior technical team, so the building blocks for the future are in place for us to keep moving forward.”
The team's technical chief, Mike Gascoyne, is a veteran when it comes to Canadian grands prix and is well aware that reaching the end of the race could mean more than just recovering newcomer bragging rights.
“Canada's a race we all look forward to," he noted, "Montreal is a temporary circuit where you often see quite a few people hit the wall, bringing out the safety car more than it's usually seen. It's one of those races where it's possible to pick up points, and we've got to put ourselves in a position to do that.
"We've got two very experienced drivers in the car, which will help us be there at the finish and that's the primary goal. It's going to be hard on brakes, but we've had no problems in that area, and we're also bringing a few more new parts, including a low downforce package specifically for Canada. We want to build on the performances we've been putting in, aim for bullet-proof reliability, and have two cars see the flag.”
Veteran Trulli is also hoping that he can go the distance next weekend - if only to break a personal hoodoo at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
“Canada's a funny one for me," he admits, "Even though I love Canada - the track, the people and the city - the race itself has never loved me! It's a great challenge, and I've always performed pretty well there, but I've never had much luck, so maybe that will change this year.
“As it's a temporary circuit, it's a major challenge the whole way round. There's the constant threat of the walls and it's critical not to make any mistakes. You have to have confidence in the car and a good set-up gives you the chance to push, but you've got to be perfect the whole time, otherwise it will bite you. It's also very quick, and hard on brakes, so the cooling and the stability under braking are both important. I think we're pretty good in both areas, so we should be okay.
"Our car has been performing better and better over the last few races, so we'll see what happens when we get out there, but I think we'll continue to move away from the other new guys, and towards those ahead.”