Lotus Racing has high hopes that Hockenheim – scene of this weekend's German Grand Prix, the eleventh round of 19 on the F1 2010 World Championship schedule – will prove to be a happier hunting-ground for its T127 than Silverstone a week-and-a-half ago.
Whilst Jarno Trulli
and Heikki Kovalainen
brought their cars safely home in the British Grand Prix
– and as best of the newcomers to-boot – Virgin rival Timo Glock
was never far behind, and in fact briefly split the two green-and-yellow machines during the pit-stop phase.
Some of that could be attributed to the high-speed Northants circuit not greatly suiting the Cosworth-powered challenger, some down to a shortage of running time during practice due to reliability woes – but either way, sporting director Dieter Gass has cause for greater optimism heading to Germany this weekend.
“We're all looking forward to Hockenheim,” he affirmed. “Obviously the circuit is quite different now from how it used to be in the past; then, it was an extremely difficult circuit on which to find a decent set-up – long straights that took you into the forest and then slow corners in the Motodrom stadium section meant it was hard to find a suitable compromise between downforce and grip.
“You don't have to make such a big compromise anymore because the straights simply aren't as long now, but you still don't run maximum downforce here – you take a bit of wing off to take account of the straight, and give the driver the chance to overtake at the end of that, in Turn Six.
“I think our car will suit the circuit well. You have a different speed profile than Silverstone, which didn't really suit our car, but at Hockenheim I think we'll be better off. We had a big update package at Silverstone which we couldn't exploit fully as we were lacking running and set-up time, so we'll be looking to get the best out of that in the Friday and Saturday practice sessions.
“We'll be able to play with the ballast a bit more here as well, which will help us find a better balance, and the team have spent some time in the factory this week practising pit-stops, so we should see the times come down in Germany. All-in-all, it should be a good weekend.”
Both Trulli and Kovalainen similarly speak effusively of the task that lies ahead, the Italian having registered his first points at Hockenheim in only his ninth-ever F1 start with Prost Grand Prix back in 1997 and going on to finish third there with Renault
six years later, and the Finn pointing to the 'hardcore' support the drivers receive from the spectators in the grandstands.
“Hockenheim has some real history,” acknowledged Trulli, “and in its old guise it demanded a lot from the drivers, in terms of set-up, driving and in getting all the little details right. However, now it's a more conventional circuit, and while I like it, I preferred the old layout.