A celebratory end for Lotus F1® Team with a P2 finish for Kimi and the third consecutive points win for Romain in what was a nerve-shredding third round of the FIA 2013 World Championship Formula One® race in Shanghai, China.
The battle began early for Kimi as despite him having qualified second, a poor grid start meant he lost early race positioning. By lap 16, a track tussle with Sergio Pérez saw Kimi damage his nose cone culminating in a loss of downforce for the Finn. However, showing the spirit of a Chinese martial arts warrior, Kimi took on the opposition tenaciously, employing a well-thought out strategy that saw him conquer the challenges with tactical use of KERS (kinetic recovery system), DRS (drag reduction system) and tyre preservation. Needling his way through the grid traffic and deciding not to lose time by replacing the broken nose cone. Kimi’s assault in the black, gold and red steed saw him take the chequered flag in P2 much to the delight of the sea of Räikkönen fans all sporting their blue and white flags and black and gold Lotus banners.
Romain Grosjean also once more delivered important points for the team finishing in ninth place despite suffering with tyre wear issues.
Kimi Räikkönen, P2, E21-03 “Second wasn’t quite what we wanted, but in the circumstances it was the best that we could manage. I’m not 100% happy because we didn’t win, but it is what it is and second place is a good result after a bad start and the incident with Sergio [Perez]. It was quite difficult out there; obviously the car is not designed like that otherwise we would use it all the time, but I was surprised how good it was still. Of course there were some handling issues which was not ideal, but we just had to try to live with it and we still had pretty okay speed.”
Romain Grosjean, P9, E21-01 “I couldn’t get the performance I wanted. It was a long, tough race and again we were not able to make it work quite as well as we wanted. I’m definitely not happy with ninth place; we started P6 and thought we had a good chance to end up within the top five, but unfortunately we could not manage it. I did as much as I could, but I couldn’t get the performance I wanted and being in traffic of course affects this. It was good to score some points for the team, but I want more in Bahrain for sure.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal “It’s a good result for the team. Kimi showed once more why he’s one of the very best drivers in the world by being one of the fastest on track despite sustaining damage to his car. As a team we were able to give him a good strategy allowing us to beat Lewis [Hamilton] and Mercedes in a close battle. Romain had a more difficult day, but he scored points in another race which is positive and we feel he’s reached a turning point now where things will start coming together. Without the poor start and without the incident for Kimi, we definitely would have fought for a win.
We now look forward to the forth round of the competition that takes place in Bahrain, next weekend, 22nd April 2013.
Lotus fans around the world celebrated as Kimi Räikkönen takes the chequered flag, racing to victory during the first round of the FIA 2013 World Championship Formula One® race in Melbourne, Australia.
A force to be reckoned with, Kimi Räikkönen proved Lotus was the team to beat during a race marked by the threat of rain, and where tyre strategy was critical in the racing game plan. With the other front runners taking 3 pit stops, Kimi was able to preserve tyre condition, docking only twice over the 58 lap Albert Park course. From the off, the E21 showed its prowess, with a race pace that was nothing less than impressive, the fastest lap of the race 1:29.274. What marks the 20th win in his career, and the 81st for the Lotus name in F1® the former World Champion is now leading the 2013 F1® World Championship race.
Kimi Räikkönen: “Our plan was to do two stops and though its difficult in the first races to know when to stop and not go too early, we got it exactly right. The car has been very good all weekend, we were a bit disappointed qualifying 7th but with the conditions it wasn’t so easy. I knew if I went through the first laps in a good position we should give ourselves a good chance for fighting for the podium. It turned out to be not so difficult.”
Eric Bouillier: “The best start you can ever dream of. I am very proud of our team today.”
Team mate Romain Grosjean finished 10th, securing an important point for the team. All eyes are firmly on next weekends assault where the second round of the competition takes place at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.
Jean Alesi talks to Group Lotus about the 2011 F1 season and the news that 2007 F1 Champion Kimi Raikkonen will be driving for Lotus Renault GP in 2012
Jean, are you excited about the news that Kimi Raikkonen is returning to F1 next year with Lotus Renault GP?
It’s fantastic news. Kimi has more natural speed than just about anyone who has ever raced a Grand Prix car, and if he’s coming back it’s because he wants to do it, he misses F1, and he believes he can do well. He has had a short break, which was a little bit forced by Ferrari. I think he was fed up with the system and wanted to take time out, which I can totally understand. But now he’s coming back, with Lotus, so it’s really exciting.
Kimi’s speed was never in question, but there were concerns he failed to develop the car as Michael Schumacher had done before him. Is that a concern for you now?
Michael was brilliant at that, but it isn’t working for him now at Mercedes and I think this is a reflection of how F1 has developed in recent years and re-prioritized. Now you just need to focus on having a quick driver, someone who does the job. The great thing with Kimi is he extracts the maximum from a quick car. When the car was good at McLaren and Ferrari he was always winning. LRGP will expect him to extract the maximum from the Lotus as well.
It’s sure to fire up the workforce at Enstone, isn’t it, having a world champion in the car?
F1 teams need a driver who will consistently set lap times that are 100 percent on the edge. That is what a driver of Kimi’s caliber can do, to dance on the edge and never fall off. From that, the engineers get a baseline. They understand the true speed of their car and can make changes accordingly. It eradicates any doubt. I expect Kimi will be a very valuable tool indeed. But I don’t expect a lot of talking outside the car! I’m sure he hasn’t changed a bit.
Let’s talk about the Sao Paulo race. Bruno Senna was given a drive-thru penalty after he came together with Michael Schumacher. Did you think that was unfair?
Definitely, yes. It was a 50/50 accident, so why penalize one of them? Both cars were compromised – Bruno with a broken front wing and Michael with a rear puncture. To then penalize one of the drivers in this situation kills the spirit of racing. The stewards should have let it go.
Vitaly Petrov started the year on a high with his podium in Australia and finished the season tenth in the Drivers’ World Championship. How well do you think he did?
He’s been very competitive when the car is quick, and it’s been more difficult for him in the second half of the season. He did a fantastic first grand prix but he seems to suffer more when the car is not perfect.
Lotus Renault GP started the year on the podium but struggled towards the end. Did the designers take a few wrong turns?
The R31 was extremely aggressive in terms of design. At the start of the season, Red Bull’s designer Adrian Newey said that the most creative car out there was the Lotus Renault GP. When the best designer in the world says that, it means a lot, and at the start of the year LRGP were brilliant. Then the exhaust-blowing rules changed, and that hurt the team a lot. We were penalized more heavily than any other team. To finish fifth in the championship is superb.
How did you rate the F1 World Championship 2011 generally?
Even though Red Bull Racing was dominant throughout, I thought it was a very interesting season and I enjoyed the races very much. Out of those 19 races, only three or four were a bit boring; I was on the edge of my seat for the rest. We’ve seen lots of overtaking, lots of incidents, and there was tough competition out there, particularly between McLaren and Ferrari. Lotus Renault GP were very competitive at the start of the season as well, so overall I really enjoyed it.
Which race stood out for you?
My shoes are still drying after the Canadian Grand Prix, so that was memorable not least for the incredible race we saw. I could have done without the two-hour red flag delay in the middle, but that race was really exciting and it’s always great to see a change of the lead on the last lap.
Sebastian Vettel was the class of the field, but who would you nominate as your Man Of The Year?
Apart from Vettel, who did an unbelievable job, the award should go to Jenson Button. I was not surprised by his performance, because he’s been a world champion, but the way he managed to be there all the time, even when he was struggling with set-up, and still get good points was impressive. He also pulled some great overtaking moves, so he was aggressive when he needed to be and smooth when he needed to be, adapting to the Pirelli tyres quicker than most. What a mature performance, and all the more impressive when your team-mate is Lewis Hamilton and Jenson is still, essentially, the new boy. I believe 2011 was even more impressive than his championship-winning year, given that he didn’t have the best car and his team-mate was Hamilton
The two Lotus saga continues with Lotus Renault (Group Lotus) launching their new livery while Team Lotus (formerly Lotus Racing) have begun rebranding their headquarters.
Lotus Renault livery
The Lotus Renault F1 team (backed by Group Lotus) officially launched its JPS inspired black and gold livery today, displaying it on their 2010 car. The team also announced that they would be racing under a British license this year which means that any wins would be accoumanied by “God save the queen”. Head over to F1Fanatic for many more photos of the launch.
Team Lotus Rebranding
At the same time, Team Lotus just put out this video showing their rebranding of the head quarters with the classic Team Lotus logo and colours. While the Chapman family has formally withdrawn support from the former Lotus Racing team, the British High Courts are set to decide on the ownership of the name later this year.
Lotus Racing secured its primary goal of tenth place in the 2010 FIA Formula One™ World Championship when Heikki Kovalainen finished the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 17th place. Jarno Trulli’s race came to an unfortunate end on lap 51 and finished in the garage after his car suffered a rear wing failure with just three laps left.
Heikki Kovalainen (Chassis T127-03) 17th, fastest lap 1.45.378: “What a fantastic end to our season. The race itself was just great, right from when the lights went out. I got the best start of the season, made up places immediately and from that point on I just got my head down and got on with it. Everything went perfectly according to plan. The tyres weren’t really degarding and as the car got lighter and the fuel burnt away I was able to keep putting in what felt like qualifying laps throughout the whole race. I was able to pull away a gap to the cars behind me and we managed the traffic really well all race. After I came out of the pits I had to let a few cars past which cost me several seconds, but that wasn’t a problem as I could keep pulling away from my direct rivals. This is the perfect way to end our first season, and gives us a huge boost for next year. We finished on a high, achieved all our goals and we have a very exciting future ahead of us. Thank you to the whole team for a fantastic season – I can’t wait for next year.”
Jarno Trulli (Chassis T127-02) DNF, fastest lap 1.45.979: “First of all congratulations to the whole team. Everyone has done an amazing job this year and while it’s been long and tough, for a brand new team it’s been special. My race was one of the ones I’ll want to forget. I had a problem with the front wing to begin with, and then a rear wing failure finished the race so I’m pretty glad it’s over! This year I’ve had all sorts of bad luck but I’m very confident about next year as the package that’s been put together is very good and it gives everyone in the team a chance to take the next step forward.”
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: “Job done. When we started out on this project the first target was to be best of the new teams. When you think how late our entry was confirmed that was always going to be a good challenge, but we have done it. We gave Tony, Din and Nasa tenth place and that makes me very proud of the whole team. On a personal level I’d like to thank my partner Silvi. We did this together and I could not have done it without her or the whole team. However, this is just the beginning. Next year what is important is the steps we take forward, but for tonight we will enjoy the achievement. We have earned it.”
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: “I am completely relieved, completely ecstatic, completely happy and completely vindicated in making the decision to go into F1™. What we have achieved today is what dreams are made of. To complete 19 races after having just five months to build a car and finish in tenth in style is something that is truly magical. It shows you that even in the modern age where money and power counts for so much, there is a chance for ambition and dreams to shine. 2010 is a year that we can be proud of. We brought Lotus back into F1™™ after many had talked about it, but we did it. I can confidently say that everyone associated with the Lotus history can be very proud of what we have done this year. This is the first chapter of a long career ahead and we will create our own future, destiny and history from here. I am thankful to all the incredibly special staff we have in Hingham, Malaysia and here in Abu Dhabi for what they have done this year and my abiding memory of 2010 comes from one of our engineers, who told me he had achieved higher grid positions with other teams, but never with a team that feels as special as this. To all the Lotus fans thank you so much for your support – we could not have done it without you. I am thrilled that Lotus Racing has opened up F1™™ to everyone out there, and we cannot wait to see you next year.”
In a move that is certain to excite Lotus fans and followers of Formula One™ around the world, Lotus Racing has announced this morning that its cars will be running in a black and gold colour scheme from the 2011 Championship onwards. This move echoes the evolution of Lotus Formula One™ cars of the past by moving from the iconic green and yellow paint scheme of the first season to the much loved black and gold.
Lotus Racing has already won an army of fans worldwide whose support for the Anglo-Malaysian squad has been fuelled by the team’s open, honest approach to racing, and its efforts on track which has seen the team edge ever closer to securing the ‘best of the new teams’ title in its debut season.
To bring the fans even closer to the team in its second season Head of Marketing Silvi Schaumloeffel today explained how the 2011 livery will be designed: “We have worked all year to make sure our fans are given unprecedented access to our team. We are all very excited about the move to a black and gold paint scheme for next season, and we want our fans to help us design the livery that will be racing around the world next year. We will shortly be announcing exactly how the fans can take part in our design process, so keep an eye on our website www.lotusracing.my for more details. The person who designs the livery we finally choose will be joining us at our first test next year to see the car out on track for the very first time, so for Lotus and F1™ fans it is the chance of a lifetime to help us take the next step forward in our amazing story in 2011.”
Riad Asmat, Lotus Racing Chief Executive, added his thoughts on the next step in the Lotus Racing story: “When we first unveiled our 2010 car there was unanimous praise for our decision to bring the historic green and yellow livery back to the modern F1™ grid. I know the return to the track of the legendary black and gold will be met with even more universal support as it strikes such an emotional chord with fans around the world. Giving those fans the chance to help us bring it back to the contemporary grid is true to our core belief of putting our supporters right at the heart of Lotus Racing – we can’t wait to show the world what we come up with!”
Today’s announcement by Bernard Rey, President of Renault Sport, of the engine partnership with Renault from the 2011 season and beyond finally confirms one of the most interesting stories of the 2010 Formula One™ season and is a clear sign of the strength of the Anglo – Malaysian team’s ambitions to move up the grid as quickly as possible. Team Principal Tony Fernandes, Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne and Chief Executive Officer Riad Asmat gave their thoughts on the announcement today.
Tony Fernandes: “I am absolutely delighted that we can now officially talk about the partnership with Renault. There has obviously been a great deal of speculation about which engine will be powering our cars from 2011 and now the announcement has been made I think everyone can see just how ambitious we really are. The combination of the Renault engine and the Red Bull Technology gearbox and hydraulics gives our design and aero teams a successful, tried and tested platform to work with for next year’s car. 2010 has been all about building up our team from scratch and in just one year we have laid the foundations for many exciting seasons to come and the partnership with Renault will dramatically accelerate our development plans, both on and off track. That is an important point – we have started a partnership with Renault and, much like taking on experienced drivers in our first year, we will be working with people who know how to win and who will help push us even further forward towards the front of the grid. We are realistic – we know what needs to be done to be challenging for ultimate honours in Formula One™ and this partnership will play a very important role in helping us push ahead.”
Mike Gascoyne: “Today’s announcement is the latest confirmation of how far this team wants to go in Formula One™. Having worked with Renault before I know exactly what they will bring to our team and I am delighted that they will be playing an integral role in the next chapter of our story. The engine itself gives our designers, engineers and drivers an excellent platform to work with – it is very drivable, has good reliability and comes with a track support team who have a wealth of experience and knowledge. We are all looking forward to working with Renault and are very excited about the future for our partnership and our team.”
Riad Asmat: “This is a very big day for everyone in our team, in Malaysia and in the UK. Just over a year ago there were four people in an empty factory, and now we have announced an engine partnership with Renault, one of the most successful manufacturers in our sport’s history, a gearbox and hydraulics deal with Red Bull Technology and the start of the process of building our own wind tunnel at the factory in Hingham. We have come such a long way in a very short period, and today’s announcement will give the whole team even more enthusiasm for the challenges that lay ahead.”