Lotus Renault GP boss Eric Boullier talks about the team's progress over a challenging winter, which sadly saw #1 driver Robert Kubica put himself out-of-action after a horrific rallying shunt.

Q:
Eric, after a busy winter, how does it feel to be heading to Melbourne to kick off the new season?

Eric Boullier:
I feel excited. We had a tough winter with a lot of unfortunate and unexpected news, but we have reacted quickly and we are ready for the season. We usually say that everybody in the team has been working very hard over the winter to prepare for the new season, but it's never been so true. We have some interesting and promising developments on our car. Now it's time to go racing.

Q:
You've attended all the winter test sessions - what has been your verdict on the team's progress so far?

Eric Boullier:
We have done an enormous amount of work over the last few weeks to really understand this car and get the performance from it. What I can say is that we are clearly in better shape in terms of ultimate performance compared to last year, which was our target.

Q:
There have been some reliability issues over the winter. Do you feel these issues have been resolved?

Eric Boullier:
We had to build and produce lots of new technology for the car, but our resources are not unlimited and there were a couple of issues on the car, which reduced our mileage. We have addressed those problems and I'm now feeling more confident than I was three weeks ago. The number one priority given this winter to our engineers: first of all make us a quick car, take risks, be innovative. The R31 is very different from anything the team has produced before and we're very proud of that.

Q:
And what about Nick [Heidfeld]? How has he adapted to the team's way of working?

Eric Boullier:
I think he has settled in as well as we could have expected. The more he works with the team, the easier things become and he has already built a good relationship with everybody.

Q:
Vitaly [Petrov] is starting his second season in Formula 1. What can we expect from him?

Eric Boullier:
He knows the people, the car, the tracks, and obviously that makes a big difference compared to last year. We can expect him to deliver strong races from the start of the season, just like he ended last season in Abu Dhabi.

Q:
What are your expectations for this weekend in Melbourne?

Eric Boullier:
Last year we finished second, with the help of the weather. I would love to do the same this year, without any help!

 

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