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'Lacklustre' Renault misses Monaco pole shoot-out

With the race unlikely to be another 'overtakeathon', Lotus Renault GP knows that it will be in for a tough time after qualifying below par in Monaco.

After a string of point-scoring finishes, and a front row start in the Principality twelve months ago, much was expected of Lotus Renault GP in qualifying for the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix, but it wasn't to be.

On a confusing day for the team, neither driver was able to unlock the potential of the R31, with Vitaly Petrov just missing out on the pole position shoot-out in eleventh place and Nick Heidfeld only 16th for the fifth round of the championship. It was the first time that neither driver had made it through to the final phase of knock-out qualifying, and technical director James Allison wasn't alone in scratching his head when it came to analysing the reasons why.

“We thought we would do particularly well here in Monaco but, so far, our performance has been decidedly lacklustre," he sighed, "At the last GP, we had qualified as close to the leaders as we have all year, so to come here and be this far off the pace is as unexpected as it is disappointing.

“We have struggled to get the most out of the supersoft [tyres] all weekend, so I did have my suspicions that we would struggle for pace in qualifying. On the prime tyre, we performed more respectably, but even this was below the standard we would have expected."

With so many cars ahead of them on the grid, and with passing and pit-stops expected to be rarer than in recent races, Allison remains far from confident of a good result on Sunday afternoon.

“Without a good start it will be tremendously hard – this is not going to be a KERS, DRS, tyre, F1 2011 style 'overtakeathon'," he conceded, "Tomorrow will be a traditional Monaco race, where attrition and the barriers will make overtaking more likely than anything else.

“It is much harder for strategy to have a real impact at Monaco. Of course, it remains crucial to do the right thing in terms of when and how often to stop, but it is difficult to get past other cars unless mistakes are made. However, it is the case that our race pace is respectable, so we will be looking to salvage what we can from a disappointing weekend so far. We will need to make a flying start tomorrow and then hope for things to unfold favourably in front of us.”

Petrov, who has been the team's most consistent qualifier this year, admitted that the R31 was some way off the pace he had expected from it.

“We should be comfortably in the top ten, so naturally starting eleventh on the grid is not particularly satisfying," the Russian confirmed, "We have found the supersoft tyres challenging this weekend and I only managed to take off a few tenths when I used them, so we need to look at why this has happened. We should really be a second quicker than we are, so we will look at the data this evening and see what needs to be improved to ensure we are performing better tomorrow – we are going to have to be very much on our game strategically come race time."




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
James Allison. Technical director. [Pic credit: Lotus Renault GP]
28.05.2011- Saturday Practice, Nick Heidfeld (GER) Lotus Renault GP R31
26.05.2011- First Practice Session, Nick Heidfeld (GER) Lotus Renault GP R31
26.05.2011- Second Practice Session, Vitaly Petrov (RUS), Lotus Renault GP, R31
28.05.2011- Saturday Practice, Vitaly Petrov (RUS), Lotus Renault GP, R31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 and Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Haas F1 Team VF-16
27.11.2016 - Race, Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 and Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
27.11.2016 - Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 and Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Manor Racing MRT05
27.11.2016 - Race, Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 leads Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
27.11.2016 - Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
27.11.2016 - Jerome Stoll (FRA) Renault Sport F1 President
27.11.2016 - Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
27.11.2016 - Renault Sport F1 Team group photo, Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 and Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
27.11.2016 - Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
27.11.2016 - Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
26.11.2016 - Qualifying, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H

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Firestorm - Unregistered

May 29, 2011 12:44 PM

They started last year championship with a less competitive car but they were very agressive in development pace and mantained the rythym of the leader teams.This year they started with a car able to challenge the Ferraris and faster than Mercedes but they are becoming slower and slower every GP.Maybe if FIA bans the blown rear diffusers,Lotus-Renault will have an advantage considering that they uses the exhausts to the sides and no to the rear of the car as does Red Bull,McLaren,Ferrari and Mercedes.



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