18 May 2014
Lotus not re-setting 2014 F1 targets
Lotus F1 will continue to focus on maintaining an upward trend in both performance and reliability despite Romain Grosjean's points in Barcelona.
Lotus F1 deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi insists that the team will not be tempted to change its immediate focus, despite finally putting points on the board in 2014.
Romain Grosjean's eighth place in the recent Spanish Grand Prix ended a four-race drought for the Enstone team, which had run so strongly in 2013, but Gastaldi is realistic enough to know that adding to the tally could be as tough as opening the account in the first place, particularly with the unpredictable Monaco Grand Prix next on the agenda.
“We are the last team in the paddock that will ever get carried away,” he claimed, “Barcelona is over now and we only look forward. Our only targets are to continue the upward curve in performance and reliability and to ensure we are in the best position possible to score points.
“We want to get back to where we were in 2012 and 2013, which is challenging consistently at the front of the field. We are very pleased that we held fifth place on merit for many laps at Barcelona - that is where we should have been at the end of the race, but it wasn't to be. It was satisfying, but nevertheless it was a little frustrating too, as we knew that there was the potential for more. For everyone it the team, whether at the track or at Enstone, it was a reward for all the effort put in after such a difficult start to the year, and what it does is feeds us with more desire and motivation to get back amongst the top teams.”
Lotus' optimism was boosted by a strong end to the Barcelona test last week, but Gastaldi is content to wait and see how that performance translates in Monaco.
“[The test] was promising as we had reliable running and were able to set good times over the course of many laps,” he noted, “It was good for Charles Pic to get some time in the car and he performed very well, and it was a highly beneficial day for Pastor [Maldonado] too, as he completed over 100 laps with the E22 performing as it should.
“We won't get carried away as it was just two days testing and we know we have lots of work still to do, but it was extremely motivating for everyone to see our car performing reliably and rapidly.
“But Monaco is so unique and distinct. You really have to be there to understand it - even then, after over 20 years in this business, I'm not sure I truly understand Monaco – but I have been to enough Monaco grands prix to know that anything can happen there… and it usually does.
“The track is such a challenge for the drivers and the engineers, and the barriers are so close to punish even the slightest mistake. Of course, the cars should be really spectacular there with the added torque this year and it will be easy for the drivers to make mistakes, so this could bite us or it could help us because overtaking is so difficult. We are cautiously optimistic to add to our points tally next weekend but I have to decline a bet on this occasion!”
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