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Lotus avoids repeat of Shanghai tyre woe

Despite damage to his car, Kimi Raikkonen avoided a dramatic tyre-related drop down the order in the Chinese Grand Prix.
There was little chance of Kimi Raikkonen suffering the same fate as he endured at the end of last year's Chinese Grand Prix, despite the Lotus team pushing his final stint close to the limit.

The Finn plummeted from a podium position to be out of the points altogether in the closing laps of the 2012 race but, despite taking a chance in order to vault him past Lewis Hamilton, the Enstone squad was confident that there would be no repeat this time around.

“We had an interesting start, with Kimi losing places, but, once we got onto the prime tyres, things went pretty smoothly,” trackside operations director Alan Permane reported on the team website, “However, there was no way we could get past Lewis, even though we had a very similar pace and, perhaps, were even quicker than him.

“We pulled Kimi in very early for his last pit-stop – right on what we felt was on the limit of what we could do comfortably – and that meant we jumped [Hamilton]. From then, it was a case of managing the tyres and Kimi did an excellent job to take a very good second place.

“We are certainly more clued up this year and we learnt a lot last time about the tyre wear with this philosophy of tyre performance. Today, it wasn't a risk. It was about the limit of what we could do – we wouldn't have been able to do more than that – but it certainly wasn't as risky as last year, when we knew we were pushing the boundaries to see what could be achieved.”

Raikkonen's task of managing the tyres was complicated by the damage he received in an earlier collision with McLaren's Sergio Perez, which left him with a visible hole in his nose and parts missing from the front wing.

The Finn claimed after the race that he had wanted to change the wing, but Permane insisted that, especially with the car continuing to run competitively, there were more risks in carrying out the repair than leaving its performance compromised.

“We were still running well without changing it – even being the fastest car on track on occasion – so we could see that the car was still good,” he emphasised, “The damage was a handicap, but not enough to warrant changing the wing, which would add a minimum of six or seven seconds to the stop itself, plus bring the additional risk of a related issue due to the car being stationary in the pit-lane for ten or so seconds.

“We estimate that he lost up to about 0.25secs per lap because of the damage.
He lost quite a bit of carbon from the wing, though some was quite resilient; holding on to the nose and refusing to let go. At each pit-stop, we were winding on front wing to counter the loss of downforce and this did a reasonable job of cancelling out the damage.”

Raikkonen confirmed that the damage only had a minor effect on the E21's handling, and barely compromised the car's pace.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
14.04.2013- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 Team E21 and Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-28
14.04.2013- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F138 race winner, 2nd position Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 Team E21 and 3rd position Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04
14.04.2013- Race, Celebration, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 Team E21 2nd position
14.04.2013- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 Team E21
14.04.2013- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 Team E21 2nd position
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari SF70H

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Alex - Unregistered

April 15, 2013 4:58 PM

Pity the team didn't listen to Kimi and got him to start on a different set up. We could have had a more interesting fight for the top spot yesterday. Kimi has had his share of bad luck in his F1 career, but he never whines or blame the team for not giving him a better car. No mind games or politics. A class act. Hope Lotus can continue to improve as the season progress. Would be great to see him beat Alonso this year.

kgf - Unregistered

April 15, 2013 11:37 AM

In recent years, we have seen a couple of times where a car lost significant parts of its front wing and continued to race, seemingly undisturbed. I am wondering what the sense of all the complicated front wing structure is when it seems that it would be possible to drive with a much simpler structure. I wonder why doesn't FIA ban such constructions? Allow a simple front wing, single component, no endplates, and no additional structures. Surely this would also save some cost, reduce on-track debris, and let the teams concentrate on things that would end up making a difference.

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