30 August 2015
Lotus hoping for strong Monza showing
Alan Permane is confident that, with the E23 looking good in low downforce trim, Lotus can be a factor in qualifying and race at the Italian Grand Prix.
While a second successive podium finish would be 'a dream', Lotus should be competitive at the Italian Grand Prix, according to trackside operations director Alan Permane.
Romain Grosjean produced a surprise top three finish – albeit aided a little by Sebastian Vettel's late race tyre failure – in Belgium last weekend and, with a similar downforce range in play for Monza, Lotus should be a factor once again although, as Permane admits, expectations of another podium may be a little far-fetched, even if such a result would help the team's dire financial circumstances.
Confirming that the E23 has 'solid', if under-developed, core package, the engineer said that he expected both Grosjean and the mercurial Pastor Maldonado to be in play at the Italian Grand Prix next weekend, with top ten results in both qualifying and the race a reasonable target.
“We can be quick – as quick,” Permane claimed, “We were quick in Montreal and we were quick here, so there's no reason why we can't be [at Monza]. Okay, a podium would be a dream again, but there's no reason why we can't be well into Q3 and have a good race.”
Admitting that the Spa-Francorchamps result showed just what a 'great little racing team' Lotus remained, despite its off-track issues, the Briton confirmed that Grosjean's podium would have a positive effect for everyone involved, both at the track and back at the factory in Enstone, but acknowledged that the team could have expected more had it been able to push forward with the development of the E23 instead of having to watch the pennies.
“It's a very good car,” he noted, “It does seem to work well on [low] downforce levels so [in Belgium] and in Austria, with lower drag levels – and hopefully Monza will be kind to us – it's basically a very good car. If we could develop it as any other car, we'd certainly have a good chance of finishing higher up than we are now.”
Despite upgrades being few and far between this season, neither driver used the new front wing taken to Spa, although Permane points out that the part is not redundant and could return in future.
“We didn't run the new front wing – we tested it and it was very similar to the old one – but there are new parts coming and further updates to bring it on, so it will be the way to go for sure,” he confirmed, “We raced what we thought was best. It was a bit too light and, with the threat of rain, the drivers felt more comfortable on slightly higher downforce.”
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