16 May 2015
F1 Monaco Grand Prix: Solid test sets Lotus up for points
Two days of productive running in Barcelona should allow Lotus to continue its recent run of top ten finishes as F1 heads to Monaco, according to deputy team principal.
Lotus F1 deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi is optimistic that his drivers can score points for a fourth consecutive race as the championship schedule heads to the most prestigious round of all.
Although Pastor Maldonado has still to record a single top ten finish through five races – the Venezuelan having had to retire four times either side of a 15th-place finish in Bahrain – team-mate Romain Grosjean, despite a problematic start to the weekend, made it three scoring races in a row with eighth place in Spain, lifting himself to a similar position in the drivers' standings. With two days of in-season testing also under its belt, albeit with Maldonado sharing driving duties with reserve Jolyon Palmer, the Enstone squad now heads for Monaco confident that that streak can continue.
“The level of competitiveness of the E23 is there,” Gastaldi insisted, “We need to have a little bit of luck and have a clear weekend, [but] we have every chance of being able to score points with both cars in Monte Carlo.
“The team made good progress at the test. Pastor was testing a number of parts and working on preparations for next grands prix. His feedback was very constructive for the team while Jolyon, who drove on the second day of testing, did a great job and it was a nice surprise for the team to see him do so well and complete a solid day's work. The team now looks forward in implementing findings of testing in Monaco.”
While Monaco presents all sorts of business opportunities for the F1 circus, with Gastaldi admitting to having an agenda 'not short of commitments throughout the week', the grand prix also comes at a critical juncture for the teams, many of whom introduced a significant technical upgrade in Spain.
“We need to keep improving the level of performance,” the deputy team boss explained, “We are much more competitive than last year – of course we have the new engine, but it is also due to the aerodynamic and mechanical improvements made in 2015. The car's performance is very solid and we have big expectations for Monaco – and, indeed, for the next upcoming races. Let's continue to score points and gain places in the field.”
Given the close confines of the Principality's streets, however, Gastaldi had one small piece of advice for his drivers.
“I would say to them to be careful in the first corner at the race start!” he said, after watching them make contact through the opening sequence of corners on lap one in Spain, “Drivers always want to be on the front and at the end they are competing. They take risks and sometimes we see situations like the one we saw in Barcelona occur. Of course, these things can happen and it is part of racing, even if it's not ideal.”
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