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Eric Boullier, Lotus - Q&A

15 September 2012


Lotus team boss Eric Boullier looks back on Monza and ahead to next weekend's Singapore Grand Prix...



Q:
Eric, Monza looked like a tough race for the team...

Eric Boullier:
It's been the toughest so far, yes, but we were expecting it. The whole weekend was about damage limitation and Kimi [Raikkonen] has once again extracted 100 per cent from the car. As a result, we were not really disappointed with fifth position, as it was the best result we could hope for. Actually, it felt quite strange not to head to the podium at the end of the race, which says a lot about our mindset at present! Things change so quickly in F1. One year ago, we would have been very happy with 5th. This year, we're talking about the toughest race of the season...

Q:
Will the team be able to clinch another podium in Singapore?

Eric Boullier:
There's no reason to think that a podium will be out of reach. We've been quite competitive on twisty circuits this year and Singapore shares a lot of Monaco and Valencia's characteristics. Romain [Grosjean] loves that type of circuit, while Kimi has always been quick in Singapore; even if he hasn't had the best of luck during the races themselves. It will be an interesting weekend.

Q:
Will you use the aerodynamic device that was supposed to be raced in Belgium?

Eric Boullier:
No. It would not suit the track's characteristics. This system should be back in Japan. That said, we have a few upgrades scheduled for Singapore and they should bring some extra performance. Also, I'm very happy with how we've improved our pitstops this season. We broke our all-time record in Monza with 2.44 seconds, but most importantly all of our pitstops were consistent. This was not by chance; the whole team put a lot of effort in and, as you know, such a step forward can have a massive impact on the outcome of a race.

Q:
How is Romain?

Eric Boullier:
He's in good spirits. Monza was tough for him, but there are also some positives to take from this experience. For example, Romain has followed Kimi's weekend quite closely and I'm sure that he has noticed a few useful tricks. Now, the situation is back to normal and I hope we can put this story behind us.

Q:
Were you happy with Jérôme [d'Ambrosio]'s showing in Italy?

Eric Boullier:
Replacing Romain at such a short notice was always going to be difficult - as it would have been for any driver - but Jérôme gave it his best shot and I was impressed by his pace, especially on the option tyre during the second part of the race. At that moment, his lap times were really competitive. Unfortunately he lost his KERS on lap 6 and this had a big impact on his race. Our simulations showed that he lost around 25 seconds because of that.

Q:
The team lost third position in the Constructors' Championship; is that a worry?

Eric Boullier:
Not really. We've always said that fourth was our goal this year but looking at our pace, it would be legitimate to try and have a go at third if we can. The pack is so tight that anything is possible. We just need to score points - consistently and with both cars - until the end of the season.

Q:
Can Kimi have a go at the Drivers' title?

Eric Boullier:
Of course he can. He's currently third, one point away from Lewis Hamilton. Anything can happen. We're not naive though, and we know that his chances are slim. However, we'll push like hell as long as there is a mathematical chance of winning it.


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