23 March 2015
F1 Malaysian Grand Prix: Chester confirms 'more to do' at Lotus F1
Raceday aside, a good start to F1 2015 has given encouragement to the Lotus team as it heads to Malaysia this weekend.
Lotus F1 technical director Nick Chester says that, despite a generally positive start to the 2015 F1 season, the team has bigger achievements to target.
Both Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado made the final phase of qualifying in Melbourne, something the pair struggled to do with Renault power in 2014, but saw their races end after one lap and one corner respectively. Leaving the outcome of the race aside, however, Chester insists that the Melbourne weekend had provided further reinforcement of the optimism at Enstone as the team starts 2015 with Mercedes power.
“The performance of the car was pretty good from the onset: the drivers were happy, the car was good to drive and we were able to work the tyres quite well,” he reported, “Into Saturday, the performance was definitely there as we got both cars into Q3, but the race was disappointing as, without retirements, both drivers would have scored a good chunk of points.
“If we didn't experience the unfortunate crash and the charge air system leak, we could probably have been looking at fifth and sixth positions. Both drivers had qualified ahead of Felipe Nasr, who ended the race fifth, and our long run performance on Friday looked good, so there is no reason why our drivers could not have achieved that.”
Despite the positive outlook, however, Chester admits that being a Q3 regular and points contender will not be enough for Lotus this season, and acknowledges that work will continue to extract the full potential of the new E23.
“We are reasonably happy, but there is more that we want to be doing, such as closing the gap to Williams and moving away more from the group behind us,” he explained, “There is more to do!
“It's a brand new car and there is quite a lot of aero development work to do; we will be pushing developments all through the year for it. We are happy as we have a good platform to work from. The drivers enjoy driving the E23; they find it is a consistent car they are able to push to the limit quite well. It's great to have this basis to work from as it means that we can focus on adding performance.”
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