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James Allison, Lotus - Q&A

26 July 2012

Lotus F1 team technical director James Allison looks ahead to this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix...


Q:
James, how should the Hungaroring suit the E20?

James Allison:
If the first ten races of the year are a guide then we will be competitive in Hungary. It is a bit of a broken record, but for us to really live up to the promise we are sure exists in the team we need to qualify on the first two rows of the grid. This is even more important than normal on the twisty Hungaroring circuit.

Q:
Traditionally, the circuit sees a lot of track evolution; how difficult does this make it to determine the tyre performance and strategy heading into the race, especially with the tyres being quite hard to read this season?

James Allison:
It does cloud the picture for the engineers and strategists, but we have many years of experience racing here so it won't be too bad - no worse than Monaco for example.

Q:
Can we expect to see any other appendages to the car and what did the team learn from the evaluations in Germany?

James Allison:
We will continue to dial in the new device that we ran in Hockenheim with Kimi [Raikkonen]. Despite the difficult weather conditions, we did get a good feel of its performance potential from the free practice session and we aim to take it on a step at the Hungaroring.

Q:
This is the last race before the summer break – how many more developments are in store for the second half of the year?

James Allison:
As the second half of the season kicks off the development race in the factory starts to cool down as teams are ramping up efforts on next year's car. We also have to deliver a specialist low downforce package for Monza. Having said that, there is plenty in the pipeline for the E20; some of which is delivering on wind tunnel gains already made, and other parts which form part of programmes that are still to run. I'm confident that we can fight our corner well for the second half of the year.

Q:
How do you rate the team's performance in Hockeheim?

James Allison:
It is a mark of how far the team has come this year that we can feel disappointed after a strong fourth place from tenth on the grid [Raikkonen was promoted to third after Sebastian Vettel's penalty – Ed]. However, we hoped for better than that in Hockenheim and we are looking forward to an opportunity to redeem ourselves in Hungary.

Q:
What was the impact on the car of the wet qualifying sessions in Germany? Lotus seemed to suffer more than others; is this something the team could encounter again in the future?

James Allison:
We have been pretty reasonable in the wet this year – for instance our performance was commendable in the wet conditions of FP2 at Hockenheim - but for some reason the car was utterly lousy once the rain came in qualifying. This mystified us at the time and continues to do so. Trying to figure out what caused the E20 to lose its pace on Saturday in the wet is certainly on our job list.


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