Abu Dhabi GP qualifying: Lotus

Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean

 

Lotus F1 experienced a frustrating qualifying session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with Pastor Maldonado classified thirteenth and Romain Grosjean fifteenth at the Yas Marina Circuit. A gearbox issue in Q2 blunted Grosjean’s charge, forcing him to pit before posting a lap time in the session. The team attempted hasty remedial work, but the car ground to a halt part way through his final opportunity for qualifying glory. Maldonado was unable to break into the top ten and will start from P13.

Romain Grosjean, E23-04. Q: P15, No Q2 time set. FP3: P15, 1:43.928:
“That was very frustrating, but it’s the end of the season and I think my gearbox has been around the world about three times already! I’ll be doing everything I can tomorrow; I’ve asked the engine guys to turn it up to eleven so let’s see what we can do!”

Pastor Maldonado, E23-03. Q: P13, 1:42.807. FP3: P12, 1:43.680:
“We expected a difficult qualifying session so P13 is not so bad. You need a lot of downforce around here and that’s an area where we’re a bit lacking, especially at this time of the season. It’s the final race of the year tomorrow so we’ll do everything we can to get a decent result.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:  “The race will be tough, but we’ll keep pushing.”

How was qualifying for the team?
It was frustrating. It was clear from FP3 that we would struggle for qualifying pace today. Pastor’s P13 was actually quite reasonable but the issue we had with Romain’s car was a real kick. We tried everything we could to get him out, but it was not to be.

What are the considerations for tomorrow’s race?
Our race performance should be stronger relative to the opposition so we will be trying to work our way up the order albeit at a circuit where overtaking is not so easy. It will be a tough race but as always we will give it our best shot.

 

Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 E23. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Friday 27th November 2015. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Pastor Maldonado (and below)

Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 E23. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Friday 27th November 2015. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Mexican GP qualifying: Lotus

Pastor Maldonado

Pastor Maldonado

 

Romain Grosjean has qualified 12th and Pastor Maldonado thirteenth for tomorrow’s Mexican Grand Prix. Both drivers missed out on the top 10 decider with close lap times separating the field for a dry but cloud-bordered session.

Romain Grosjean, E23-04. Q: P12, 1:21.038. FP3: P13, 1:22.184:
“We’re at a very high altitude, at a track with very low grip, requiring good downforce – which we know are not our strongest points – so we weren’t massively confident of our performance heading into qualifying. We did better than expected, even though we struggled to get the tyres to work. We still have a good opportunity tomorrow; it’s a long race where everyone’s brakes and engines are likely to struggle. The start will be very important; we’ll try to use all our experience and make a decent result happen.”

Pastor Maldonado, E23-03. Q: P13, 1:21.261. FP3: P12, 1:22.042:
“I was hoping for a little bit better from qualifying but we were struggling for front grip and the rear stability wasn’t fantastic. We expected more of a benefit from running with the new tyres but we weren’t able to unlock it. It’s a long race, we usually have good race pace so let’s go for some more points.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
“It was a tricky session for us. The grip levels were changing with the temperature and the circuit seemed to get slower at the end of Q2. The trick was to be on a fast lap in the fast-slow-fast lap cycle when the track surface and temperature were at their best. We’re not a million miles away from where we expected to be in qualifying so we’re looking to maximise everything for the race.”

What are the considerations for tomorrow’s race?
“There’s a greater chance of rain than today which we’re very aware of as this can make for a very dynamic race. If it is dry then we can expect very low tyre degradation and close monitoring of the brakes. We should learn a lot tomorrow as the race unfolds and there’s potential for exciting battles through the field. We’re certainly targeting points.”

 

Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 E23. Mexican Grand Prix, Friday 30th October 2015. Mexico City, Mexico.

Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 E23. Mexican Grand Prix, Friday 30th October 2015. Mexico City, Mexico.

Haas F1 team selects Grosjean

Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean

 

Well, there you have it. Lotus F1’s immensely likeable and extremely capable Romain Grojean will be racing for the new US F1 team next season. The 29-year-old has competed in 78 Formula One races and scored 10 podium finishes, with the most recent being a third-place result in August at the Belgian Grand Prix. He is currently in his fifth Formula One season with Lotus F1.

Grosjean is highly regarded as a team leader and potential world champion. The Frenchman will get his first drive with the Haas F1 team during the pre season test 1-4 March at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. A second test at Barcelona takes place on 15-18 March before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on 3 April in Melbourne.

“We wanted an experienced driver capable of developing our car and our race team into one that can score points and better itself each race and each season. We found him in Romain Grosjean,” said Gene Haas, founder and chairman, Haas F1. “I’ve been involved in motorsports for a long time and learned early on the most crucial component is the driver. Romain has strong credentials and he will be an important asset to us.”

“In addition to being an experienced Formula One driver, Romain is very technically minded,” said Haas F1’s team principal, Guenther Steiner. “He gives strong, specific feedback as to how the car performs. As we develop our car in testing and throughout the season, his insight will be crucial.”

Grosjean has won races and championships in every division he has competed as he advanced to Formula One. He transitioned quickly from karting to cars in 2003, winning all 10 races in the Swiss Formula Renault 1.6 championship, handily earning the series title. Another 10-win season in the French Formula Renault 2.0 championship in 2005 secured a second title.

Grosjean moved up to Formula Three in 2006 and competed in the full Euro Series schedule. He also drove in two British Formula Three races that year, taking the pole, the win and setting the fastest lap in both races. A second season in the Formula Three Euro Series in 2007 paid big dividends as Grosjean took four poles and six wins en route to the championship. He graduated to GP2 in 2008 and maintained his title-winning form by earning four wins in 10 races to take the inaugural GP2 Asia Series crown.

By 2008, Grosjean was in Formula One as a test driver for Renault. In August 2009, Renault named Grosjean to its race seat alongside two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

The experience garnered during that seven-race stretch of Formula One races was invaluable, and Grosjean augmented that experience in 2010 by tackling a variety of series. He won the Auto GP championship with four wins, seven podiums and three poles. He also earned two FIA GT1 World Championship wins and two GP2 podiums. Displaying his versatility, he competed in two 24-hour endurance races at Le Mans and Spa-Francorchamps, respectively.

In 2011, Grosjean returned to GP2, first winning the Asia Series championship in its final year of existence, and then the GP2 title with a season-best five victories. He also returned to Renault as its Formula One test driver.

With the Renault team under new management and rebranded as Lotus F1 for 2012, Grosjean was named to the race seat alongside 2007 Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen. Grosjean’s first podium came in the fourth race of the season at Bahrain. Three races later in Montreal, he finished second. A third podium was earned in the 11th race of the year in Hungary.

The 2013 season was an impressive one for Grosjean as he scored six podiums, highlighted by a second-place finish at the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

The 2014 season saw the introduction of a new engine formula, with turbochargers returning to the sport for the first time since 1988. The development curve was steep for many teams. Grosjean recorded two eighth-place finishes in Spain and Monaco, but regularly outpaced his teammate throughout the year.

Fourteen races into 2015, Grosjean has shown the form he displayed in 2013, as evidenced by his podium at this year’s Belgian Grand Prix.

In 2016, Grosjean brings his experience and ambition to Haas F1 – the first American-led Formula One team in 30 years.

Japanese GP post race: Lotus

 

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 E23. Japanese Grand Prix, Sunday 27th September 2015. Suzuka, Japan.

 

Lotus F1 completed a strong Japanese Grand Prix with both cars finishing in the top eight for the first time since the Indian Grand Prix in 2013. Grosjean took seventh, with Maldonado finishing just 1.3 seconds behind him in eighth. Grosjean started from P8 on the grid on his qualifying medium compound tyres. He changed to scrubbed mediums on lap 11 and new hards on lap 33. Maldonado started from P11 on new medium tyres, changing to new mediums on lap 12, and new hards on lap 36.

Romain Grosjean, P7, E23-04:
“We finished with both cars in the points so I’m definitely happy with that! When it came to my own race we were a little bit slow against the Force India. We tried to fight Nico Hulkenberg but couldn’t. I really struggled with the tyres at the end – it seems the new Pirelli limits hurt us more than our rivals so we’ll work around that for the next race. Overall though, we’ve had a good result as a team.”

Pastor Maldonado, P8, E23-03:
“It was a good race for us and we really deserved a happy result today after pushing hard all weekend. It’s a shame we weren’t able to keep Hulkenberg behind us so we’ll review the strategy and performance to see if there was more we could have done. The team has been united all weekend, we scored some nice points and we’re looking forward to the rest of the season.”

Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal:
“It’s a great result for all of the team after a reasonably challenging weekend. It just goes to show that you can never discount an Enstone team no matter what the circumstances. We have to say thank you to all the crew at the track for working through a slightly unusual situation as well as thank you to Bernie for his help behind the scenes. We’re looking forward to continuing to fight back in Sochi.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
“It’s great to get both cars solidly in the points and score more than our immediate championship rivals Force India and Toro Rosso. Force India looked stronger than us in the race and we didn’t have the pace to match Hulkenberg today. It was nevertheless a good performance from both drivers and the entire team.”

 

Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean

Monza post race: Lotus

Lotus F1 crashed down to earth with incidents on the first lap of the Italian Grand Prix leading to a double retirement. Both cars started in the top 10 but damage to each car in separate incidents meant that Pastor Maldonado parked his car in the garage at the end of the first lap whilst Romain Grosjean parked his at the side of the track early in lap two. The team now heads to the next Grand Prix in Singapore on 18-20 September.

Grosjean started from P8 on the grid on his qualifying soft tyres. Contact with Felipe Nasr’s Sauber at the first corner meant damage to the rear of Grosjean’s car and retirement early in lap two. Maldonado started from P10 on new soft tyres but contact with Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India meant damage to Maldonado’s front suspension and he retired at the end of the first lap.

Romain Grosjean, DNF, E23-04:
“We had the potential of a good race ahead of us. I made a strong start but got hit by a car from behind in turn one which broke my rear suspension so that was it for us. It was a too optimistic move from Nasr who hit me which meant my race was over. It’s been a tough weekend but everyone has made the most of the opportunities we have and the spirit of the team and the support from the F1 world has been amazing. The E23 still feels good so we head to the next races optimistic of more good results to come.”

Pastor Maldonado, DNF, E23-03:
“It’s been a tough weekend and this is racing sometimes. We keep united and keep pushing as there are still seven Grands Prix to go so time to recover and keep fighting. I had contact in turn one where the Force India came into the side of me and took out my front-right suspension and that was the end of my race. We were looking for a strong finish and we had potential for that. Everyone knows that turn one at Monza can be tough and that’s what we saw today.”

Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal:
“What can you say? Everyone at Enstone, at the track, our sponsors, partners and suppliers would have liked to see a favourable result for us today but the cruel mistress that is motor sport gave us a resounding slap in the face. Both drivers had their race undone at the first corner and this was a real blow to all of us. We now focus on the next Grands Prix where we’re determined as ever to score more points and keep fighting. Thank you all for your support.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
“A disastrous race for us with our cars retiring following incidents at turn one. Both drivers started in the top ten and we had potential for a good points haul but Monza’s turn one can get very crowded on the first lap, which is what we saw today. It’s been a challenging weekend for us, but the response from our fellow competitors has been tremendous and we thank them all for that. We’ve seen that the E23 has still got strong pace so we’re heading to Singapore and Japan eager for clean races to re-ignite our championship fight.”

Belgian GP post race: Lotus

Romain Grosjean celebrates his third position on the podium

Romain Grosjean celebrates his third position on the podium

 

Lotus F1 returned to the Formula 1 Grand Prix podium for the first time since the US Grand Prix in 2013 thanks to a superb drive from Romain Grosjean. Despite a five-place grid penalty, Grosjean delivered an exceptionally measured performance including setting a race fastest lap. Grosjean’s joy was tempered by a second lap retirement for Pastor Maldonado after his car lost drive. The cause is currently being investigated. Grosjean’s result means Lotus F1 returns to fifth position in the Constructors’ Championship.

Grosjean started from P9 on the grid on his qualifying soft tyres, changing to new soft compound tyres on lap 9 and scrubbed mediums on lap 21.
Maldonado started from P7 on the grid but was forced to retire on the second lap after his car lost drive.

Romain Grosjean, P3, E23-04:
“Today’s result is wonderful. It’s good for the team and for myself of course. Yesterday’s good qualifying result put a smile on my face but today was an unbelievable race. Everything came together when it mattered during those 43 laps. I drove with my heart today and pushed 100 per cent throughout the race. I did some great overtaking manoeuvres and was really pushing to catch up and hopefully overtake Sebastian Vettel – of course it was bad luck for him to have had the tyre issue at the end. We were really trying to go for the podium this afternoon and I felt very emotional during the last lap of the race! It’s a great feeling today.”

Pastor Maldonado, DNF, E23-03:
“We had been doing a great job this weekend, especially yesterday. The car was feeling very good, very competitive and I had a good race start. We had an issue with the drive of the car which the team is investigating. I’m disappointed about the issue we had today but that’s racing sometimes. We are keeping focused for the next race now and Romain has shown what is possible. I love Italy and Monza so I’ll be doing everything I can for a strong result there.”

Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal:
“What an amazing job from Romain today and we all thank all the hard work of everyone at Enstone and here at the circuit in Belgium. It’s no secret that it’s been a tough season for us in some ways, but we certainly know how to pick our moments to bounce back. Our joy for Romain and the team is a little bittersweet because of the retirement for Pastor, who started his race ahead of Romain so could have finished equally strongly. We will do everything we can to get both cars in strong positions in Monza.”

Nick Chester, Technical Director:
“That was quite a race from Romain and the team! We were buoyed after yesterday’s P4 qualifying performance then today he drove a fantastic measured race. He drove brilliantly and made all the correct decisions with some fabulous overtaking. He looked after the tyres when he needed to and pushed when he needed to. It was the perfect race from him. We haven’t looked at everything on Pastor’s car yet but we know there was a big excursion over the kerbs which appears to have caused some damage to the power box so a big shame as he should also have achieved a strong result here.”

 

 

Pastor Maldonado

Pastor Maldonado

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 E23. Belgian Grand Prix, Saturday 22nd August 2015. Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium.

Romain Grosjean

Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 E23. Hungarian Grand Prix, Sunday 26th July 2015. Budapest, Hungary.

Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 E23. Belgian Grand Prix, Saturday 22nd August 2015. Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium.

Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 E23. Belgian Grand Prix, Sunday 23rd August 2015. Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium.

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