Lotus F1 opened its Belgian Grand Prix weekend with a strong top ten time from Grosjean to underlie the team’s potential after an eventful and challenging first day back on track. Maldonado was one of three drivers to cause a red flag during the day, with an off in the second half of FP1. He returned to the track to end the day as fifteenth fastest. Jolyon Palmer completed evaluations of the team’s new front wing in the morning session.
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “Pastor’s FP1 was curtailed mid-session after an off and contact with the barriers damaged his car and caused a brief red flag period. He was evaluating a new top rear wing today. Jolyon conducted a front wing evaluation programme as well as other set-up work. The twice interrupted second session saw tyre evaluation and longer runs, with Pastor and Romain in action. Romain continued the front wing evaluation and his car stopped on track at the end of the session, requiring recovery back to the garage. Pirelli’s medium (white) compound tyre was used in the morning session, the medium and soft (yellow) in the afternoon.
Jolyon Palmer, E23-04
Free practice 1: P17, 1:53.799, 23 laps
“It was a productive session for me and it was good to get the first taste on track of the new front wing which felt pretty promising from where I was sat. It’s always difficult at Spa to find the best balance because it’s a compromise between having aero and having straight line speed with the nature of the track. We tried something different across the two cars and we had a new front wing to try as well, which was good to test.”
Romain Grosjean, E23-04
Free practice 2: P7, 1:50.489, 21 laps
“That was a good session for me. My first runs weren’t great and it was clear we had to make some changes to the car’s set-up. Once we did that the car felt a lot better and I felt that the car was a lot more how I wanted it with the soft tyres. We have a few other niggles to rectify but it’s lovely to drive Spa with wonderful warm weather. If we can find a little more pace from the car I think we can have a pretty good weekend here.”
Pastor Maldonado, E23-03
Free practice 1: P11, 1:52.539, 15 laps
Free practice 2: P15, 1:51.317, 16 laps
“Today wasn’t the start to the Grand Prix weekend that we wanted. I lost the rear end in FP1 and unfortunately I wasn’t able to keep the car off the barriers. My crew did a great job to get everything back together for FP2, but then there were a couple of red flags to interrupt that session too. I think we can have a good weekend from now, there’s good potential in the car and we know what we need for a strong result.”
Nick Chester, Technical Director: “This wasn’t the most straight-forward first day back on track for us after the summer shutdown. Pastor unfortunately had an off in FP1 in which his car sustained a reasonable amount of damage. The repair work continued into FP2 meaning his day was pretty compromised. On the other side of the garage, Jolyon completed a good tally of laps in the morning to assist with our assessment of our latest front wing, whilst Romain was able to continue with set-up work in the afternoon and made good progress and looked competitive finishing FP2 in P7.”