Lotus has a firm grasp on the lucrative 10th place in the constructors’ World Championship following the team’s 12th and 13th place finishes in Japan.
Virgin Racing will have to better that result – and in effect rely on high attrition ahead as well as problems for Lotus – in one of the last three races.
“Really we had a great weekend,” Mike Gascoyne told this blog. “We were really solid in qualifying. Suzuka is a circuit where it’s car handling, as the drivers will tell you. If the car’s controlling you, you’re going nowhere. In qualifying Jarno did a great job, Heikki was a couple of tenths behind and a second clear of the Virgins.
“Then in the race we had a real, solid performance as the best of the new teams. Strategy didn’t work out for Jarno. If there was an early safety car we were always going to stop one car, and that was the car in front – which was Jarno. Yamamoto didn’t stop, so Jarno got bottled up for a few laps.
“And well driven Sakon, he’s a lovely young lad and he drove a cracking race in front of Glock. He defended his position and that really ruined the strategy for Jarno. We also had a hydraulic issue, which nearly stopped him.
“But Heikki was flat out the whole way through, and it was a great result for the team. The whole team felt that we gave Tony and the shareholders, who weren’t in Suzuka, a good result. And they deserved it.”
Gascoyne says that while the battle over the Lotus name is a distraction, the team has plenty to look forward to, with more news on 2011 and beyond to come.
“The engine one, everyone can guess what the announcement is, but you’ve got to announce it at the right time. There’s several other things happening with the team. We’re in a very positive frame of mind.”