Following the first laps on track of the E22, drivers Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado look to the season ahead.
Romain Grosjean: “I’m ready to lead the way”
Romain heads into his third season as race driver for Lotus F1 Team with the confidence and experience to lead the team to greater things.
New season, new rules and new cars; how much of a challenge do you see the coming months to be?
New season, new car, news rules – everything it pretty new and our challenge is pretty big. It’s very exciting though! We don’t know exactly what’s going on and where people are, it’s the same every year when we start the season, but it’s particularly the case right now with all the changes and new rules. The changing of engines, the changing of aerodynamics, more electrical help in the car, so yes some tough work for the engineers and drivers to understand and get on top of everything as quick as we can and hopefully faster than the others.
You are going into your third season as race driver for the team; will the continuity enable you to continue to learn and grow as a driver?
I think continuity will be important this year with all the rule changes, and it’s my third year at Enstone so it feels like home. I like the team and I think we do a very good job together so I’m happy to keep going, and I’m happy that we’re together for this challenge. We have a common aim for the future and we want to win races and win Championships. We’ll work as hard as we did to achieve even more than last year. I am ready to lead the way with this challenge.
You’ve been on the podium 9 times so far. Is that first win within reach?
I don’t know when it will come, I’ve come close a few times and nine podiums with the team is a good record. We just need to keep doing our best, keep trying to optimise everything we can from the first day we have on a race track to the Sunday and to get a good car. I trust the people here to try to give me all the tools we need to achieve that win – it’s a good car, a good engine, we have good strategy, we have good engineers and mechanics, and a good driver. So I’m looking forward to try and will go for it, and the day it comes, we’ll have a big party!
What do you think of the E22 and the design team which has created it?
I like the colour of the car, it’s nice. I think with the rule change it’s very interesting to see how people have understood it, and the direction people have taken. Our guys have been pretty clever with it; I really like the idea of trying something different, and we’ll just need to see when we get to Melbourne where we are. But I really like the car, and if it’s a winning car then I will love it!
What are your targets and objectives for 2014?
Targets and objectives are always the same when you start a new season – trying to win the title. It sounds optimistic sometimes, but I think we are all here to try and win races; the team in Enstone, the team on the racetrack and myself, so we’ll do everything we can, do our best, and see if it’s good enough!
Why the number 8?
Simply I like this number, plus it has some significance to me. My wife was born the 8th of December, we started dating in 2008 and, to my eyes my son is the 8th wonder of the world. That’s why I picked up number 8.
Pastor Maldonado: “I feel really good here”
After three seasons in Formula 1, Pastor Maldonado comes to Lotus F1 Team with the objective of being one of the best and fighting for wins.
How excited are you about kicking off the new season with Lotus F1 Team?
It’s great to start the season with Lotus F1 Team. For me it’s something very special, and it’s part of the big transition of progressing in Formula 1. After three years in one team, it will now be my fourth season at a higher level, and I’m very happy to part of this fantastic team. Lotus F1 Team have been very successful in the past, been competitive on track and have won a lot of races. We’re working very hard to again be one of the best and fighting for wins.
You have 58 Grands Prix starts under your belt; what experience can you bring to the team?
I’ve been learning a lot, especially in the first two years. I don’t count last year as it was so difficult, but even in the difficult times you can learn a lot and I’ve used all of that as an experience and I feel ready to get back to the top. In the past I’ve been quite good in my last team, and maybe here I will get extra power to be more consistent and I think together we can make a very strong team.
You already know Romain Grosjean, are you looking forward to working together?
I know Romain from some years ago, he’s a good guy. He’s a great driver and we’ve competed in the lower categories together. We’ve both always been at the top so I’m really looking forward to working with him. I think we are both real fighters on track, so I hope we can both do our best for the team.
How different do you expect the racing will be with such big regulation changes?
The difference we see from last year to 2014 is huge, and it will have a huge influence in terms of racing, and racing style. I think the drivers, together with the team, must work a lot to adapt to this new style of racing. We’ve been working in the simulator for a while and I feel optimistic. Let’s go for it!
What do you think of the E22?
The E22 is just amazing, I think it’s the most revolutionary car in the paddock. The car looks great, it’s a combination between the new technology and many other new ideas. It’s pretty special to see the nose like that – I’ve never seen something like that in the past! It’s something completely new for Formula 1, and we’re fully confident with this solution. I can’t wait to be in the car and try it out on track.
What are your targets and objectives for 2014?
The season ahead is really a big question mark. We need to start with great expectations, we need to do our best from the beginning. For sure it will be quite hard, for all the teams and all the drivers, with the new regulations but we’re really looking forward to fight for the best, and to fight for the Championship.
Why the number 13?
The reason I choose the number 13 is just because I like it. In Venezuela it is not an unlucky number and it actually has a long history in Venezuelan sport.