Lotus are optimistic they can overcome their recent hiccups in Austria
Enstone team looking to bounce back after two difficult races
By Mike Wise. Last Updated: 13/06/14 3:11pm
Romain Grosjean: Feels Lotus are making progress
Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado are both optimistic that Lotus can overcome their recent hiccups and regain momentum at next weekend’s Austrian GP.
Having started the season well off the pace and struggling for reliability, Lotus showed in Spain that they had turned a corner, with Grosjean claiming their first points finish after qualifying fifth.
The Enstone team also enjoyed a productive post-race test in Barcelona and yet despite these encouraging signs, their performance subsequently took a backwards step at the next two races.
Although Grosjean managed eighth place again in Monaco, a fuel pump problem ended Maldonado’s race before it had even started; at the Canadian GP, meanwhile, the Frenchman retired with a broken rear wing while a power unit sensor problem forced the Venezuelan out.
Both races also saw them qualify well outside the top ten; however, Lotus’s drivers reckon the Red Bull Ring should suit their car better than either of the previous two venues.
“Our target is to be part of the battle of fighting for points positions so we need to ensure we don’t have any more problems with the car,” Grosjean said. “We’re making definite progress with pace, how the car feels and generally with reliability too, so it was frustrating that there was an issue with the rear wing. It’s another lesson learnt and we will come back stronger for Austria and beyond.
“I don’t think the circuit should be as much of a challenge to us as Monaco or Montréal. Certainly there are fewer low speed corners which seem to have been more difficult for us this season and the downforce level could suit us better too.”
“I think it should be quite good for the E22,” said Maldonado. “It looks like the circuit doesn’t have too many low speed corners and the downforce and set-up is similar to Barcelona, which should help us.
“We will work hard to solve the problems we had in Canada so that we can reach our targets in Austria. I’m certainly optimistic Austria will suit us better than the last two rounds,” added the 29-year-old who, unlike Grosjean, has raced at the track before in Formula Renault.
“I think I won, but I don’t remember to be honest!” Maldonado added.
According to Lotus Technical Director Nick Chester, the team are taking “a number of aero updates” to Austria but stressed that they still need to improve their hybrid car’s braking capability.
“There is a good chunk of time still to be found in the braking zone and the key to unlocking this potential is enabling the latest brake-by-wire systems to deliver better feedback to the drivers,” he said.