F1 News: 2014 Chinese GP Preview – Lotus F1 Team

//F1 News: 2014 Chinese GP Preview – Lotus F1 Team

F1 News: 2014 Chinese GP Preview – Lotus F1 Team

Lotus LogoChinese Grand Prix

18/19/20 APRIL 2014


Federico Gastaldi


Cracking China

After both cars went the distance in Bahrain, Deputy Team Principal Federico Gastaldi wants to see the team’s efforts rewarded with points in China.

Where do you see the team at present?

There has obviously been a performance improvement since the start of the season and there are good positives for the future and our development. Both cars ran without reliability issues to finish the Bahrain Grand Prix and but for an incident Pastor should have been in the points. That was a positive in relation to how we started the year. There is still a lot of work to do, however, and we have many new parts for the car and a lot of performance to be found.


How do you motivate the team after such a tough start?

Everyone in the team is working very hard so of course it’s been frustrating not to get the rewards everyone deserves. But we are all natural fighters. The response internally to our start to the year has been incredibly positive. Everyone keeps smiling and keeps focused on the task at hand so it’s been a big ‘thumbs-up’ in terms of motivation for the challenge ahead. This attitude gives us a real positive vibe. We know the task and we are motivated to get where we want to be. We will keep pushing relentlessly. I knew from my past role at the team just how dedicated everyone is, but now I’m more closely involved at all the races I must say I’ve been amazed at the intensity of this attitude.

We’ve all been working like crazy since Australia, day and night, to make things happen, so it’s a big thank you to everyone in the race team and back at the factory for this incredible effort.

How much of a comeback can the team make?

We are a race team so we are here to win, but we are also realistic. It would be fantastic to think that we could make a major step forward and fight at the sharp end, but it’s too early in the season to talk about where we will be at the end of the year. Our first step is to get our cars in the points. Once we’re in the points, we’ll be hungry to make further steps quickly.


How important is it for Formula 1 to race in China?

It is certainly important for us. We have tried from day one to get the attention from the Chinese audience in both a sporting and commercial way. We believe that China is both the present and the future. It is obviously a huge market to explore commercially so I think it’s very important for the business side of Formula 1. Certainly we’ve seen a growing fan base in China over the years and we have a lot of younger fans there which illustrates a great future for the sport.


When do you expect the team to be able to make significant steps in terms of performance?

We’re all pushing for good improvements at every race but it’s no secret that both us and our power unit partners – Renault Sport F1 – have a lot planned for the start of the European season in Barcelona. From our perspective we have many, many new parts to test on the car, so reliability is key to be able to test and develop these parts. No one is happy with where we are performance-wise at the moment and there’s no question of any of us accepting this status quo. We’re all pushing hard to be faster and we will do this together.




When the going gets tough

Romain Grosjean looks to the Chinese Grand Prix hoping to celebrate his 28th birthday with an improved performance at Shanghai and a crack at the points.

What are your thoughts on the Shanghai circuit?

Shanghai is not my favourite race of the year, but I will be spending my 28th birthday there so let’s make it good! It’s quite a particular circuit where it is not always easy to find the right setup and the temperature can also be cold. You never know what to expect, except that there will be a monster traffic jam to get to the circuit! I scored my first Formula 1 points at Shanghai in 2012 and scored points again last year when Kimi finished second for the team. So let’s hope that’s a good omen and we can add to the good memories next weekend.


How will it suit the E22?

I don’t know to be honest. It’ll be interesting and challenging for us but still the emphasis is on getting good track time so we can be as prepared as we can be for when our season really starts at Barcelona next month. There’s a very long back straight and some high-speed corners. There is a lot we need to do with the E22 and we certainly need some better power unit performance. Of course we’ll do our best to score our first points of the year. That is our goal, our target.

What happened at the post-race Bahrain test?

Unfortunately we struggled with the power unit and couldn’t manage many laps. We did some aero work but compared to the programme we had planned it was far too little. We want to work but if the car won’t run cleanly there is not much we can do. We have to keep pushing and be motivated to learn what we can, when we can.


Do you wish there was more testing available with these new cars?

Yes of course. Every time we go testing we seem to have problems and this situation hasn’t helped us. Luckily in the races it’s been better and we have gained knowledge from a performance point of view. But I do wish we had more testing as we’re currently playing catch-up. When you’re struggling a bit, all this new technology means it’s hard to get the reliability. We haven’t been very lucky with testing so far.


How is it for you as a driver this season – is it more work inside and outside the car?

It’s still Formula 1 so you are prepared and focused 100% on every aspect. Driving is certainly very different to last year though. It is much slower in the race, but that doesn’t mean it’s easier. We have a lot more to change inside the cockpit and a lot more to think about with the energy recovery and the way we actually race. That is harder than last year but a great challenge. But physically it is easier because the cars are slightly slower.


What is your target for the next few races?

Obviously, the target is to try to get better results.

We have lots of parts for the car which should make it faster, but we need reliability to be able to test these. So far, when we’ve finished it’s been just outside the points. If we can get a little bit more performance and reliability, we’ll be finishing in the points. We can build a strong season from this point on and everyone is concentrating on this goal. We just have to push as hard as we can and stay as positive as possible even when the going gets tough. As a team we have to stay united, it will make us stronger as a unit.


Pastor Maldonado


Keep on Pushing  

After completing his first full race distance for the team in Bahrain, Pastor Maldonado is eager to continue the progress in Shanghai.

What are your thoughts on Shanghai as a circuit?

Shanghai is a very technical circuit with one of the longest straights of the season. It could be a bit tricky for us as we aren’t the quickest on long straights at the moment, so we will have to see how we can work on making gains in the corners. This will be the challenge for us. There is a mix of fast and medium speed corners where we need good downforce. It is a challenging track which I like so I’m looking forward to racing there.


What do you think the latest generation F1 car will be like to drive at Shanghai?

It will be like all the circuits we visit this year, it will be a new experience and we will learn and make improvements as the weekend progresses. Having finished the race in Bahrian, we have more experience and data to work with so we are better placed for a more progressive approach to the race weekend.

How was testing in Bahrain?

Not so great. Power unit issues meant that we weren’t able to run the programme that we had set out to complete. This was frustrating; however we did achieve some of the aerodynamic assessment work that we wanted to achieve.

How did it feel to complete your first full race for the team in Bahrain?

It was a tough weekend, especially as the pace of the car wasn’t what we hoped for, but at the same time we were able to finish all the sessions and the race without any problems. That was a big positive in terms of reliability. I also think that the collaborative work with Renault Sport F1 is helping us make steps forward. The E22 is improving, and race reliability was the first step in this process. Now we need to focus on performance. I think that the potential is there, we just need to focus and continue to push hard.


Have you spoken with Esteban or seen the footage of the incident?

Yes, we have been in touch. I think it was a misunderstanding from both sides. He was out of line in the entry of the corner and I was completely committed to the corner. He said that he didn’t see me, and I didn’t expect him to turn in.

How was your race until then?

The car felt much better in the race than during

qualifying. The pace was quite good, the tyre management and the strategy was also promising. We were able to make up some positions and we were also consistent throughout. We still need to push harder in order to be in the top ten and I know that the team is committed to getting there as soon as possible.

What is your target for the next few races?

The target is to score points and I think that it is possible to make steps forwards, especially in qualifying. The race pace is not bad but we need to start higher on the grid. If we start in the top ten it will be easier for us to fight for good points.




State of play

Lotus F1 Team Technical Director Nick Chester is certainly a man with much to do after a tough start to the season.

Where does the E22 stand heading to China?

The E22 has tremendous potential even if we are only gradually unlocking it. In the Bahrain Grand Prix we were closer to Mercedes, Williams and McLaren than we have been previously. Our race-pace gap to the Williams and McLaren is now half a second and it was over a second in Sepang, so we’ve made a decent incremental improvement. Although we were still not quick enough in Bahrain, we actually don’t need to find much more performance before we can be regularly in the points, which when you consider where we started from, is encouraging. We are about level with Toro Rosso for pace at the moment. Were it not for the safety car incident in Bahrain, Pastor would have been fighting for our first point. That’s not where we want to be, but we’re on the edge of the points during what are still very early days for the E22.


We seem to struggle in qualifying at present?

Our qualifying pace hasn’t been on the same level to our race pace. We made quite a bit of progress during Bahrain, getting quicker during each session. In Q2 a further 1.2 seconds would have put us fourth, rather than 16th. We know we are still at a very early stage with the E22 – more so than our rivals – and there are clear areas where we know the performance can be extracted. .

Just how much more is there to come from the car?

I think we’ve got a lot more to learn about the E22 than the other teams. We learn something every time the car takes to the track, with every lap. We’ve also got some aerodynamic developments that should be interesting to evaluate for China, when we are hoping for a bit more out of the power unit as well, both reliability and pace wise.


Why was track time so limited at the Bahrain test?

It was all power unit issues unfortunately. We’re working very closely with Renault Sport F1 to understand why we have faced so many challenges in this regard. Clearly we all want to put reliability concerns behind us so we can focus on performance and showing our true pace. .


How has the relative lack of track time affected the development programme?

It means you have to prioritise what parts to evaluate, so we’ve had to adapt our programme for China because of this. We’re going to attempt to get as much as we can out of FP1 and FP2 in Shanghai to test new parts, but ultimately we’ve delayed the introduction of some key developments until Barcelona now.


What areas are you focusing on with the new parts?

We have a lot of aero parts we want to evaluate throughout the E22, including an evolution to our nose. Expect to see some bodywork upgrades in China and then a bigger upgrade in Barcelona.

What is the outlook for China?

It should be better than Bahrain. Bahrain was an obvious power circuit, as you could see from the way the cars lined up on the grid. China’s got a long back straight, however there are more slow and medium speed corners than Bahrain, so that gives us the chance to try and get closer to the front.


Where will the biggest performance gains come from with the E22?

There are quite a few areas. Partly because of how immature the car is we haven’t managed to evaluate all the performance capabilities we want to yet. The big areas I would say are braking, aero and the power unit.


Pastor was attempting to try a different tyre strategy in Bahrain. Has the E22 inherited the gentle tyre-wear characteristics of its predecessors?

It’s possibly a bit early in the season to say, but it did look like Pastor was going to be quite good on his tyres in Bahrain. The 2014 generation of Pirelli is certainly different from last year’s, but there are always strategy gains to be made from prolonging the tyre performance longer than our rivals.




Front wing gives slightly less load than at the first three races.


Slightly less downforce than in Sepang and Albert Park in deference to the opportunities for overtaking provided by the two straights in Shangai.


Kerbs are low meaning that the right height can be lower than would otherwise be necessary. Bumpy braking zone into turn one tests the car’s damping capabilities. The set-up needs to encourage good change of direction from the car at both high speeds (turns 7-8) and low speeds (turns 2-3 and 9-10).


Shanghai is not a severe circuit for brakes. There are some heavy braking zones of up to 5G of deceleration – turn 1 into 2, turns 6, 11 and 14 but they are well spread over a lap giving time for the discs and pads to cool.


Pirelli’s P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tyres are nominated, just as used in Bahrain. The asphalt is not especially aggressive and temperatures are not particularly high. The left front tyre gets a particularly hard time in T1 and T2 and the long right hander T13. There are some significant lateral forces on the car in turns 1, 8 and 13.



Shanghai will be a good all round test for the power unit where we will see the acute importance of energy management. There is the long straight – at 1.3km the longest on the calendar – which has the double bind of using fuel, but also electrical energy through the MGU-K. The MGU-H will be able to recover energy on the straight, but recovering enough to be efficient is critical since the heavy braking periods at both ends of the straight put a focus on the MGU-H delivering power to avoid any hesitation or ‘turbo lag’ on the exit.



Romain and Pastor to appear at Monaco Peace One Day Gala with Jessie J

Lotus F1 Team race drivers Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado will sample some of the glamour of Monaco by attending the Peace One Day Gala Event in Monaco on Thursday May 22nd.

Headline guest at the event will be international recording artist Jessie J, the London artist who has sold more than 12 million records and has achieved top music industry accolades. Jessie J will perform at the event which takes place at the Salles des Etoiles.


Held under the graciously awarded High Patronage of H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco and hosted by Peace One Day Ambassador Jude Law, the Peace One Day Monaco Gala Event is taking place during the Monaco Grand Prix race weekend. The event is in support of Peace One Day Education and aims to raise awareness of the Peace One Day Democratic Republic of Congo / Great Lakes Peace Project.


Jessie J’s performance will crown the evening’s entertainment that includes an exclusive auction in association with Christie’s, in front of an audience of Formula 1 personnel, celebrities, the international business community and Monaco society.


Thanks to the generous support of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, over the next three years Peace One Day is focusing significant resources on the DRC and Great Lakes region of Africa. The Monaco Gala event has been specifically created to generate further awareness of this campaign to an audience who can make a difference by spreading the word through their respective communities. The event also aims to raise funds for Peace One Day’s education work via an auction of exclusive art, Formula 1 memorabilia and experiences.


Peace One Day was founded by British filmmaker Jeremy Gilley who led the initiative 15 years ago to establish an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence with a fixed calendar date. The day was unanimously adopted in 2001 by United Nations member states, fixed as September 21 – Peace Day. With the day in place, Peace One Day’s objective is to institutionalise Peace Day on 21 September, making it a day that is self-sustaining, an annual day of global unity, a day of intercultural co-operation on a scale that humanity has never known.

Peace Day has also been proved as a window of opportunity for humanitarian organisations to focus their ongoing life-saving activities within a global context, most notably in Afghanistan, where 4.5 million children have been immunized against polio due to Peace Day agreements since 2007. With analytics support from McKinsey & Company, Peace One Day believes that almost half a billion people were aware of Peace Day in 2013, with around 8 million behaving more peacefully as a result of being involved in activities on the day. Peace One Day’s target for 2014 is to reach 1.5 billion people with the message of Peace Day, and 3 billion people by Peace Day 2016.

Information about the Peace One Day Gala including how to purchase tables can be found on the Peace One Day website: www.peaceoneday.org/monaco



Lotus F1 Team Junior

We’ve recently announced the Lotus F1 Team Junior line up for the 2014 season and are pleased to welcome eight young drivers to the Enstone fold. Ranging from 14 years old and racing in a wide variety of categories across the world, the Lotus F1 Team Junior hosts some serious upcoming talent from plenty of different countries including South Africa, Thailand and the Philippines.

As part of the Enstone outfit, the young drivers will be coached through their relative series and receive all the benefits of being part of an academy to the Lotus F1 Team. Romain Grosjean, a previous graduate of the formally named Gravity programme, is testament to the work put into developing and cultivating the young drivers, many of whom are already making waves in their various categories. From driver management, to health and fitness, PR and media training to working with the F1 team, each driver within the programme has access to a wealth of experience and knowledge.

This year’s line-up includes:

Marlon Stockinger Philippines Formula Renault 3.5 Lotus-Charouz

Alex Fontana Switzerland/Greece GP3 ART GP

Esteban Ocon France F3 Euro Series Prema Powerteam

Alex Albon Thailand Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup KTR

Callan O’Keeffe South Africa Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup ART Junior Team

Gregor Ramsay United Kingdom Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup KTR

Dorian Boccolacci France Formula 4 Autosport Academy

Juan Manuel Correa USA European and International Go-Kart Championships Energy Corse



2018-07-17T23:21:41+00:00April 11th, 2014|Formula One|