16 June 2014
Lotus: Don’t judge us on results
Lotus F1 deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi insists that managing a mere two points finishes so far in 2014 masks the potential of the Enstone squad.
Lotus deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi insists that the Enstone squad's season should not be assessed simply by the results – or lack of them – as it returns to Europe for the Austrian Grand Prix.
With just two eighth-place finishes to show for its efforts in the opening seven races, Lotus languishes in a similar position in the teams' standings, and failed to build on Romain Grosjean's back-to-back scoring performances in Spain and Monaco when the series decamped to Montreal, as both the Frenchman and team-mate Pastor Maldonado posted retirements.
Despite the apparently poor showing so far in 2014, however, Gastaldi insists that the team's position is not indicative of its potential.
“It's a difficult question [to assess Lotus' place in the pecking order],” he claimed, “We are only seven races in to the biggest rule changes we have seen for a generation so we're all finding our place.
“Certainly, we're learning a lot. I don't think it's fair to judge us purely on our results so far this year, and fortunately the championship is 19 races long. Monaco and Montréal were both races which didn't play to our strengths and, additionally, we had reliability problems at both of them. Austria looks to be more positive in terms of its potential for us, as well as the next few races too. We're making improvements all the time so we can tackle all the aspects which cause us a challenge. We have potential which is still to be fulfilled.”
With Maldonado's rotten season going only 21 laps into the Canadian Grand Prix, and Grosjean succumbing to an unusual issue with just eleven laps to run, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was not kind to Lotus, but Gastaldi maintains that the race was a mere hiccup in the team's progress.
“Canada was a kick where it hurts for everyone at the team, but we took stock, identified the issues and have taken action to avoid any repeats,” he explained, “The last thing you want is both cars sat in the garage at the end of a race, but that's what we had. Thankfully, it is very rare for us.
“A rear wing issue for Romain was something unforeseen, [but] we've analysed what went wrong, found a fix and it won't happen again. A power unit issue for Pastor was not something new so we're spending more time with Renault Sport F1 to do everything possible to avoid a repeat of this. It was an issue with a power unit sensor - just a small thing, but something that had terminal repercussions.”
With Monaco and Montreal providing two of the quirkiest hosts on the calendar, Gastaldi is also looking forward to returning to the more conventional circuits that populate the bulk of the European schedule.
“We saw that, on a level playing field in Barcelona, we can be fighting for big points,” he reasoned, “The E22, when running cleanly, can be a potent proposition, but the bugs must be ironed out - and we have to start scoring points with both cars to move our way up the points table to where we think we should be.”
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