21 July 2014
Lopez insists ‘great things to come’ from Lotus F1
Lotus F1 chairman and team principal Gerard Lopez casts a confident air when asked about the team's prospects of bouncing back from a difficult 2014 campaign.
Lotus F1 co-chairman and team principal Gérard Lopez believes that the future looks bright for the Enstone squad, despite ongoing travails in 2014.
The former F1 frontrunner has been on the back foot for much of the current season, struggling with the under-powered Renault engine as well as a radical take on aerodynamics under the new-for-2014 regulations. With just a brace of eighth-place finishes for Romain Grosjean, Lotus lies in a similar position in the constructors' championship, battling with the likes of Toro Rosso, Sauber and Marussia.
“Clearly, we're not where we want to be, and this year has certainly presented us with many challenges,” Lopez admitted ahead of the German Grand Prix, “Performance-wise, we continue to struggle and, in terms of reliability, we haven't been great either. They say you learn more from adversity and I can confirm we've learnt a lot this year. This is sometimes the nature of this highly competitive sport and we won't stop fighting until we're back where we want to be.”
Despite having appeared to have suffered more than its front-of-the-field rivals under the revised regulations – and again, according to Grosjean, following the agreed removal of FRICS systems ahead of Hockenheim – Lopez insists that Lotus remains determined to learn in adversity and come back stronger next year.
“There's certainly been a change in the order with the new regulations and, in terms of results, we have been hit pretty hard,” he confirmed, “There are many reasons for this and every aspect of the causation is being tackled.
“Of course, no-one is happy. On top of our season to date, this weekend we've had to remove our interlinked suspension system. This was a very clever piece of engineering, which originated in Enstone and is something the team has used for a long time. It's been emulated by many other teams. Unfortunately, the situation now is that we can't run this anymore, so we just have to adapt. It's another challenge and one we are meeting head on.
“The attitude at Enstone is not one of finger-pointing and dwelling on issues, but rather one of positive action to improve the situation. We are taking several steps to make us stronger for the future, [and] we do have some great things to come, but it's important that the team is not stopping developing this year's car as there is still a lot we can learn. We are going to fight hard for every point we can achieve this year.”
With Maldonado already confirmed for 2015, and rumours that the team may be swapping its Renault engines for the Mercedes units currently leading the way in F1, Lopez insists that Lotus has plenty of reasons to be optimistic for next season.
“Looking forward, we have been able to take steps to ensure that 2014's lessons have been learnt and we get back to where we want to be in 2015 – fighting for podiums,” he concluded, “When we look at the team's recent history, we can see what is possible. In 2011, our car followed a unique development path with the forward facing exhausts. This concept didn't give us the results we wanted, but look how we bounced back in 2012 and 2013! Our 2014 car hasn't given us the results we've wanted, so watch this space in 2015 and beyond!”
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