HOCKENHEIM, 17th July 2014 (F1Plus / Graham Keilloh) - Ahead of the German Grand Prix Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado ruminated on their largely frustrating 2014 season so far.
Lotus saw an apparent upturn in performance in Spain where Grosjean qualified fifth and finished eighth but things have not been nearly as good for the team since then, a matter that both drivers ruminated over in Hockenheim.
‘It’s difficult to explain and to understand,’ said Grosjean. ‘We’ve been trying to get back to our Barcelona setting and see if we can get the car back to what it was, aerodynamic and so on, and it hasn’t been very much the case.
‘Even though Silverstone was probably a little bit better than we are previously there are still a few things that we haven’t perfectly understood like why was (the car performing) so well in Barcelona qualifying and it kind of slipped away from our hands?
'So that was the planning from Tuesday and Wednesday testing at Silverstone…where the key points were and I hope we get answers soon. It’s not black and white, that would be too simple. But everyone is pushing as hard as they can.’
‘We are not looking for two or three tenths, it is more an altogether car that we need’.
His team mate Maldonado concurred that the car’s competiveness has varied unfathomably from race to race: ‘From our side we need to try to recover especially in some tracks.
'I think (in some tracks) we’ve been very close and maybe exactly as Red Bull in terms of performing, so in some tracks we are quite good because Red Bull is maybe in best car here in terms of downforce or package compromise.’
Maldonado also suggested that the team is still being held back by the E22’s difficult birth.
‘The car is not bad, the car is quite good, but we didn’t have the time to develop the car, to do tests on time, we need to race like blank without any data, because having so many problems you even cannot test anything.'
Grosjean noted ruefully that prior to pre-season testing hopes at Lotus were high, with Chairman and Team Principal Gerard Lopez even speculating about a championship challenge.
‘During the winter our thoughts were it (a championship challenge) could be possible’ Grosjean said, ‘the wind tunnel (results) was very good…and then of course you get to the first testing and you realise that’s not going to happen. It’s the sport…’.
Maldonado confirmed that there are upgrades on the car for this weekend: ‘We are trying some new bits, I think there is a front wing and some new bits in the bodywork as well, and we hope to gain something, clearly, so it’s looking a bit better. Normally when the team makes steps always they are good ones.’
Maldonado also was optimistic about a revised Renault power unit: ‘(We have) a new engine, the old one was rubbish! This one for sure must be much better than the other one.’