Lotus F1 Team Abu Dhabi Grand Prix preview

Lotus F1 Team Abu Dhabi Grand Prix preview

23.11.2015: ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX 27/28/29 NOV 2015 YAS MARINA

ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX
27/28/29 NOV 2015   YAS MARINA



FEDERICO GASTALDI

AGAINST ALL ODDS



Heading to the final race of the season, Lotus F1 Team Deputy Team Principal Federico Gastaldi gives his outlook…



What does Abu Dhabi mean to the team?


It’s a serious market for everyone in the sport and it has been very fruitful for us in the past. There is plenty of potential in the region. And it has proven to deliver great racing for us. 2012 was a particularly enjoyable year there of course.


For 2015, the long straights will be good for our current car. Hopefully we can have a good performance to end the season on the positive note that the factory and race crew deserve.
 



What are your highlights from Abu Dhabi as a place to visit?


I have mostly seen the circuit – that’s the nature of travelling in F1 really – but the entire facilities are state of the art for me and the combination of the circuit offset by the Yas Marina hotel is simply stunning.


Hermann Tilke did a great job putting it all together. I would love to see more of Abu Dhabi; perhaps this year is the year!




How would you review this season?


In many ways, it has been a positive season. Yes, we have had a lot of ups and downs: lots of expectations, lots of frustrations, but as I keep saying our best asset is our people in Enstone and thanks to them we keep showing that, against all odds, against all constraints, we can have strong results.


 I can’t say that I am ecstatic about our season in terms of results, but it’s certainly much better than last year and while under much tougher circumstances. We aimed for fifth in the constructors’ championship and stayed in the fight most of the season despite the year’s constraints.


Had things turned out differently, we had the car and the people to take us there – and even further up the order - no problem.  
 



What did you think of the Brazilian Grand Prix?


We had a steady weekend, with FP3 showing that we had good pace. Unfortunately we had a disappointing qualifying session; I know we could have achieved better positions. The race gave us a good opportunity to show our level of performance and we moved up the field accordingly.


Had we started higher up the grid, we could have been fighting for better positions easily.
 


Mexico, Brazil… what would it take for there to be an Argentinian Grand Prix again?

It’s up to Mr Ecclestone really, and I believe that is something he would like to make happen. It’s something we discussed in Brazil and we have to see what the upcoming election in Argentina will yield. A lot of people there want F1 to come back to the country.


Whether it comes back, and how, will have much to do with Mr E. We will see what the future holds!
 


How do you think the pairing of Pastor and Jolyon will fare in 2016?


They already know each other well which is a definite advantage. They have a good relationship, they like each other, and I think they make a good pairing.


Jolyon will be the rookie, an experienced one thanks to his time in FP1 this year, but he still has a lot of learning ahead of him and Pastor, with five years in Formula 1, can help there as much as we will.


 We hope to have a good car again next year, and with that, both will have the opportunity to show their best performances.
 


What are the key challenges facing F1 looking to next season?


I believe it is crucial for Formula 1 to review its business model. There are so many financial issues throughout the sport, whether for teams or promoters, that it is hard to see where things will go. I know that both Mr Ecclestone and the FIA have been trying to change things and I also know that teams aren’t always the easiest to work with when we have to join forces.


Our agendas and situations differ too much and are almost always preceded with self-preservation. Additionally, and I have said this before, we have to do everything that we can – all of us – to help promoters sell tickets. Without fans, where would we be?

 


NICK CHESTER
OUT OF THE BOX


Nick Chester looks ahead to Abu Dhabi, the last race of the season and reviews the team’s performance in Interlagos.



What are the challenges of Abu Dhabi?


The first sector is generally medium speed with a couple of high speed corners and not too technically challenging; a reasonable level of downforce works fine here. The second sector is more power hungry with two good straights and two low speed corners – a low speed hairpin and a low speed chicane so it’s important to manage these well.


The final sector is quite technical with a number of low and medium speed corners where the car needs to be well balanced and work well to achieve a good lap time. Putting all that together is key – you need a car that works well in low speed corners and be good in the long straights.
 


The team scored a notable win in Abu Dhabi a few years ago – what was the secret to that success?


The main key to that success was that we had a car that looked well after its tyres. A few things went on that worked in our favour for the outcome of that race – there were a couple of safety car periods, a few other cars dropped out and then the fact that our 2012 car was very kind on its tyres helped us to get into a good position at the start and ultimately win the race.
 


How would you rate the 2015 season?


I was pleased with the car in a lot of ways but disappointed in the amount of development. We made a good basic car that handled well and with which the drivers could extract the maximum from.


Unfortunately we have not been able to put developments on it due to finances; we could have gone a lot further with it otherwise and that would have been very interesting to see.
 


What has been learnt with the E23 Hybrid?


We had learnt a lot of lessons in the first year of turbo engines, with the E22, and managed to implement lessons learnt to the E23. The 2015 car has always had a good baseline and we have learnt about the direction we want to go. We’ll try and take that forward to next year’s car.


 
How has the development programme of the E23 differed from more normal seasons?


It has felt a lot more restrictive. In a normal year we’d bring quite a few major upgrades whereas this year we brought fewer and more minor developments. This means that we had to be more selective in what we brought and we have been a bit more creative in the more minor upgrades.


 

What has Romain brought to the team over his time at Enstone?


Quite a lot I’d say. He’s talented and we have enjoyed having a driver with his pace at Enstone. He’s been good to work with and he has been strongly involved in what’s been happening in the team. It has been nice to have his enthusiasm and talent in the team.


 
What’s your review of the Brazilian Grand Prix?


I was a bit disappointed on Saturday afternoon because we had a car that worked pretty well in the practice sessions and then we had a terrible qualifying. Both drivers had good races and picked up a lot from their starting positions. Pastor did pretty well to score after having started 15th on the grid and Romain finished two places up the road.


The pace of the car was pretty good and even though we could have done even better, we brought home five points and that’s what we really needed to do.




- Clarisse Hoffmann,   photo Lotus F1

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/lotus-f1-team-abu-dhabi-grand-prix-preview---143581.html

23.11.2015 / MaP

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