Tag Archives: Lotus

Williams turnaround an inspiration for Lotus

One of the most intriguing aspects of 2015 is the switch by Lotus from Renault to Mercedes power, a move that gives the team that won a race as recently as 2013 a much stronger power unit than it had at its disposal last year.

Trackside operations director Alan Permane is adamant that the team has learned from its disappointing season, and will make a step forward.

“It was hard work but for very little reward, unfortunately,” he told this writer. “We will learn from it and move on. We’ve got a very nice looking package for 2015, so hopefully we’ll do a better job.

“I think after a year of experience we know what you need from these power units and how to operate them. Of course it will be subtly different with the Mercedes, but we’ll be in a better position than we were a year ago.”

Permane draws some inspiration from the way Williams turned things around when it moved to Mercedes: “We hope to do that, quite honestly. Let’s not pretend it’s just engine with them, they did a very nice chassis as well, and we need to do the same.”

The key difference is that Williams brought in some new technical personnel over the past couple of years, that has not been the case at Lotus. However Permane says that is not a concern.

“It’s also good to have continuity. People will tell you what you want to hear. We had a fantastic season in 2013, we did a great car, and you’d say to build on that you’d want to keep the same people and keep going.

“Williams had many years in the doldrums and changes things for the better of course, and did a great job. You look at Red Bull they had the same team for all those championship years. I don’t think changing stuff around for the sake of it is what you want to do.”

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Lotus Mercedes deal is done, announcement due soon

The deal for Lotus to use Mercedes power units from 2015 will be confirmed in the next few days.

The new arrangement, which was predicted here on June 24, sees Lotus take over the supply made available by McLaren’s move to Honda for next season.

At one stage an announcement was scheduled for yesterday, but after a delay it could now come at the start of next week. Lotus had an ongoing contract with Renault, and a legal accommodation has had to be made between the two parties.

Meanwhile sources close to Mercedes confirm that the Stuttgart manufacturer has received the financial guarantees that it required from Lotus. It’s no secret that the team has been late with payments to Renault over the last couple of years.

In similar situations in the past funds owed to teams by FOM have been directed straight to engine suppliers in order to guarantee payment.

The Mercedes deal means that the Enstone outfit will end a connection with Renault that began with Michael Schumacher’s 1995 World Championship, and lasted for 20 seasons. The prospect of a more competitive power unit will clearly allow Lotus to keep its sponsors happy, especially PDVSA.

Here’s what I wrote last week: https://adamcooperf1.com/2014/06/24/could-lotus-switch-to-mercedes-power-from-2015/

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Lotus and Renault finally confirm deal

Renault has finally officially confirmed that it has concluded a deal with Lotus for “2014 and beyond.”

Although the two parties have prepared for this season as normal the contract was not signed until commercial arrangements were completed.

Lotus team CEO Matthew Carter said: “Lotus F1 Team and Renault Sport F1 have enjoyed a successful partnership these past few years and we look forward to continue to build on our relationship and collaboration in 2014 and beyond. It is the beginning of a new era in Formula 1 and we are pleased to embrace it together with Renault Sport F1.”

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Our nose design is legal, says Lotus

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Lotus has countered speculation about the legality of its twin-pronged nose by insisting that it is legal.

Technical director Nick Chester said: “As you know we have passed all the necessary crash tests and we are very confident that our design complies with all the FIA legal requirements – we have just taken an innovative direction, and one that’s different to the other teams. Where there are so many variations in design, there is always bound to be a little talk, but we remain relaxed and focussed on our design and progression.”

Regarding what the team can learn despite missing the Jerez test, Chester said: “It’s always interesting to see what solutions the other teams have. Obviously you can’t see under the skin of the cars easily where the majority of the design work takes place, but it’s always interesting to see the various aero packaging on the other cars. We’ll look at the different bodywork options they’re running and there’s always a few things to pick up on what they are pursuing.

“As we can see there are plenty of different solutions out there as we expected there would be with such a radical change of regulations. There appears to be some elegant solutions and others that certainly don’t look as nice! We’re very happy with the direction we have taken, and it will be very interesting to see how the cars perform once we get a proper chance to compare them on track.”

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Lotus finally confirms Maldonado deal

Lotus has finally officially confirmed that Pastor Maldonado will race for the team in 2014, alongside Romain Grosjean.

As previously reported here Maldonado and his Venezuelan backers opted for Lotus over Sauber in Brazil on Sunday, after a frantic final day of discussions with both teams.

However, it has taken most of this week to finalise what is obviously a complex deal. It’s believed that the sponsors wanted to ensure that their funding goes into the operating budget of the Enstone team, rather than straight towards paying off loans or debts, and also there was the matter of ensuring that Grosjean’s backer Total and PDVSA could work together.

Although it was assumed that Maldonado’s decision would quickly trigger a round of announcements elsewhere, that is unlikely to be the case. The situations at Force India and Sauber are not straightforward, and both teams have been aware of Maldonado’s decision all week.

“It is with great pleasure that we can formally confirm that Romain Grosjean will continue with Lotus F1 Team next season,” said Eric Boullier. “He has really made the most of his tremendous talent over the latter part of the 2013 season and will be a fantastic asset to our 2014 challenge. Romain will be joined by Pastor Maldonado; a driver I have known since he drove for me at DAMS in the 2005 World Series by Renault season.

“It is clear that Pastor has pace and potential – demonstrated by his 2010 GP2 Series title success and then through strong races throughout his career at Williams F1 Team – and we are convinced that we will be able to provide the correct environment to enable him to flourish regularly on track. We have been working on our new car in alignment with the new regulations for over two years and we are confident that we have a very good solution to all the challenges ahead. With Romain and Pastor I believe Lotus F1 Team will be able to cause quite a few surprises next year.”

Grosjean said: “This past year has been tremendously satisfying for me. We have worked well together, and I know everyone at Enstone is motivated to continue the fight for every last point available. I am very excited about next year’s car and I cannot wait to get out on track for pre-season testing before heading to Australia for the first race of the season.”

Maldonado said: “It is a fantastic opportunity for me to join Lotus F1 Team for 2014. It’s no secret that I have wanted a change of scene to help push on with my Formula 1 career and Lotus F1 Team offered the very best opportunity for me to be competitive next season. The regulations and cars will change significantly so it is a very good time for a fresh start. I can’t wait to be racing in black and gold.”

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Impressive Grosjean makes it four podiums in five starts

Romain Grosjean continued his run of strong results with a superb second in Austin. The Lotus driver passed Mark Webber at the start, and survived intense pressure from the Australian in the closing laps.

It was Grosjean’s fourth podium in five races, but his first second place of the season. He clearly thrived after being handed the de facto team leader role, in the absence of Kimi Raikkonen.

“I think the strategy was pretty clear,” he said of his efforts to stay in front. “We were copying what Mark was doing. When he was pitting for hard tyres, we pitted for hard tyres, if he was pitting for prime or option. Then in the race I was just trying to make as much gap as I could before the DRS zone, so turns eight and nine are pretty hard to follow another car.

“I think we had a pretty good balance around there, and then use all the power we could on the back straight, trying to avoid the DRS, and then I know that by turns 17,18, 19 it was very difficult to follow me, so he was very close every time into turn one, but never had a go. I think the closest he was into turn 12 was probably ten meters. He pushed me wide once because I outbraked myself, but as long as he didn’t seem to be too big in the mirror, that was fine.”

He added: “One year ago my wife sent me a picture of a pregnancy test saying that ‘well done Champion, you’re going to be a Dad!’ So America brings me a lot of bliss and pleasure and I’m looking forward to come back here.”

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Hulkenberg turned down Lotus due to “bigger picture”

Nico Hulkenberg says he chose not to leave Sauber to drive for Lotus in the final two races because it would have been too much of a risk.

“Of course it is attractive and sounds attractive from the outside,” he said. “On the other hand it was for the last two races, which brings also some risk with it. And also after that you have to see the bigger picture which is beyond after two races, what can happen there. And that’s why we came up with this decision.

“I just went there to see Eric and to speak face-to-face about these two races as well, because obviously the future and next year is important as well, and that’s why we went to see each other and speak face-to-face.”

Regarding the risks, he said: “Stepping into a new car, which you don’t know. If I had stepped in there I don’t think people would have expected me to beat Romain right away, he seems to be fairly comfortable in the car now and in the team, he’s delivering very good results now.”

Asked by this writer if his choice would have been different had there been a 100% guarantee of a 2014 Lotus drive: “I think had that been the case that would have been a big change in the plan, for sure.”

As to whether moving at this stage would have ended his chance of driving for Sauber in 2013 he said: “Exactly…”

Hulkenberg admitted to some frustration about now knowing where his future lies.

“It is a bit tricky, and a patience game, a bit of a mind game, to be delivering and not knowing abouut the future, it’s a bit tricky. Of course I’d like to know weeks or months ago what I’m doing. The answer is it is at is, so I have to live with it and cope with it. It’s not me, half of the field is not knowing what they are doing. From that point of view on a race weekend you have to black that out, keep delivering, that’s all I can do on the circuit.

“I’m aware that we have to keep out eyes and ears open, we can’t let it slip through our hands. I think there are options and opportunities for me to be somewhere.”

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