Tag Archives: Lotus F1

Formula 1

Kimi in Sepang 2013


Kimi Räikkönen topped the times on the first day of running as the second round of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship – the Malaysian Grand Prix – got underway at the Sepang International Circuit. Kimi set a 1min 36.569secs lap in an afternoon session which was interrupted by a minor rain shower, while Romain Grosjean was sixth fastest. The team evaluated new front wings on both cars with a new exhaust and related bodywork also featuring on Kimi’s car.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director – Technical programme notes
– We evaluated a new front wing on both cars.
– Kimi ran with a new exhaust and outlet package in both sessions.
– Pirelli’s hard (orange) compound tyre was used in the first session, the hard and medium (white) dry tyres as well as the intermediate (green) in the afternoon.
– The second session saw rain-interrupted long runs on both tyre compounds.

What we learned today:
– The E21 ran reliably, giving strong performance on all tyres and in all weather conditions.
– The new front wing works well and will be retained for the rest of the weekend.
– The new exhaust package works well and will remain on Kimi’s car for the rest of the weekend.

Kimi Räikkönen, E21-03
Free practice 1: P2, 1:37.003, 15 laps
Free practice 2: P1, 1:36.569, 28 laps

Kimi: “It was a pretty good day. We tried changing a few things on the car and made progress with where we wanted to be at the end of the sessions. We had some running in the wet which you often get around here and the car feels fine. We ran pretty heavy today so I don’t know how we’ll be when everyone is light for qualifying, but I’m happy with where we are and expect we’ll be reasonable tomorrow.”

Romain Grosjean, E21-01
Free practice 1: P10, 1:37.915 17 laps
Free practice 2: P6, 1:37.206, 26 laps

Romain: “We’re still working on the setup of the car as it’s not quite right for me and it’s difficult to understand why exactly. The new front wing does feel better than the one before so that helps. Kimi was running an updated aero package which looks to be an improvement so we know there’s more pace to come in that area, but there are still things we can do with the current specification once I get everything working for me. It was pretty hot out there – quite a contrast to Melbourne – but I felt comfortable and I’m looking forward to making some improvements tomorrow before we head into qualifying.”

James Allison, Technical Director: “I’m happy with our day’s work. We came here this week seeking reassurance that our car would be equally as competitive in a very different set of conditions to what we saw in Australia, and the early indications are that it looks reasonably useful. The upgrades we’ve trialled today also appear to be working well. Although both drivers ran the new front wing, Romain was at somewhat of a disadvantage in not having the latest exhaust variation and related bodywork on his car, so he can take heart from a healthy position on the time sheets. The only slight interruption to proceedings was a compromise to our long run programme once the rain arrived, but this actually proved to be pretty useful in itself as we now have a better understanding of the crossover point for the intermediate tyres. Overall it’s been a very productive day.”

Formula 1



Kimi Räikkönen has taken his 19th Grand Prix victory – the 48th win for an Enstone team – with a glorious day-to-night victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Kimi made an excellent start to take second place at the start from fourth on the grid, then capitalised when Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren retired. Romain Grosjean did not finish the race after being involved in an incident for which Sergio Perez was deemed responsible.


Kimi maintains third position in the Drivers’ Championship on 198 points; a diminished 47 shy of Fernando Alonso and an increased 31 ahead of Mark Webber. The team remains fourth in the Constructors’ Championship on 288 points; a reduced 30 behind McLaren and an increased 152 in front of Mercedes.


  • Kimi started on soft tyres, pitting on lap 31 for a set of new medium compound rubber.
  • Romain started on soft tyres, pitting on lap 1 for a set of new mediums then again on lap 9 under safety car conditions for a further set of scrubbed soft rubber.


Kimi Räikkönen, P1, E20-05
“I’m very happy for the team, and for myself also. You never know what’s going to happen during the race; the safety cars made it quite tricky, but I’ve had similar races many, many times this year. Today we had a clear circuit to be able to use our speed. Perhaps we were not the fastest at the end, but we were quick enough and consistent enough to win so it’s great for the team. We’ve had some difficult races in the second half of the season so it’s fantastic to come back with a win.”


Romain Grosjean, DNF, E20-03
“I am very happy for Kimi as it’s the win we were waiting for and it’s an unbelievable result for the whole team. For myself I’m disappointed as I was running pretty well. It was a tight battle with three of us in a row at turn eleven, then Sergio [Perez] went off track at turn thirteen and came back on the inside at turn fourteen leaving me with no room to go anywhere else. Mark [Webber] then came from behind and we touched; it was a big shame. A great day for the team, but an unlucky one for me.”


Eric Boullier, Team Principal
“I have one word first of all: Great. Then there are many words such as ‘relief’ and ‘deserved’. It’s obviously a very well deserved result for the team. I’m pleased for Kimi and he did a very good job. We’ve been pushing very hard all season and we’ve nearly had it before. There’s a little frustration not to have had a win sooner, and we have been waiting for it, but it’s a fantastic feeling to finally take that victory and a superb reward for the team. It’s great for Formula 1, it’s great for Kimi and it’s great for our team.”


James Allison, Technical Director
“When you are as happy as this it is hard to avoid lapsing into cliché. Despite being tantalisingly close several times this year, we have waited a long time to return to the top step of the podium. It is a massive tribute both to a flawless drive from Kimi and to the tenacity of the entire Enstone team for never having taken their eye off the prize all year. With two races left in the season we go on to Austin with a spring in our step, invigorated to do it all over again and see what we can achieve.”


Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader
“It’s just an awesome feeling to finally win a race; the first victory for the Enstone-Viry partnership in its present configuration. All season the chassis-engine package has been strong and everyone has worked incredibly hard in the last few weeks to successfully introduce new parts to get that last piece of performance. It all worked out beautifully today and hats off to Kimi for judging it perfectly.”

Pos Driver Team Time
 1.  Raikkonen     Lotus-Renault              1h45:58.667
 2.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +     0.852
 3.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           +     4.163
 4.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +     7.787
 5.  Maldonado     Williams-Renault           +    13.007
 6.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +    20.076
 7.  Massa         Ferrari                    +    22.896
 8.  Senna         Williams-Renault           +    23.542
 9.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +    24.160
10.  Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +    27.400
11.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +    28.000
12.  Vergne        Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +    34.900
13.  Kovalainen    Caterham-Renault           +    47.700
14.  Glock         Marussia-Cosworth          +    56.400
15.  Perez         Sauber-Ferrari             +    56.700
16.  Petrov        Caterham-Renault           +  1:04.500
17.  De la Rosa    HRT-Cosworth               +    1:11.5


THE POINT…by Minardi


The week-end in Monza was so “stressful” both for Ferrari and Fernando Alonso. After jinxing, saying that the Italian team had run 23 flawless Gps, we just have to admit that the last seven days have been so hard for Ferrari, starting from the Gp in Spa, going through free practices, qualifying and race in Monza .

It’s clear that, when in trouble, a real champion like Fernando had the ability to seize every good chance and managed to obtain good results. In the first laps he showed the real potential of Ferrari. Good start, followed by some important overtaking, showing that Saturday’s bad result was simply caused by a technical glitch. On Saturday the car could have clinched the pole and could have aimed for the win. 37 points lead over Hamilton may seem few, but they are a clear example of the team’ good performances. Massa did a good job throughout the week-end, as well. He suffered the overwhelming power of Fernando, but he’s just getting over his position inside the World Championship. The Brazilian driver took a good start and  managed the car in a good way. He was such a good support to the team as a second leader. He scored many important points just in a moment in which the Italian team hasn’t decided about the future yet.

Besides the qualifying problem, the “Red from Maranello” proved to be more reliable than its competitors. That could be considered as a good advantage. The Red Bull has big problems to assert his supremacy as it did in the past, while Button pit stop’ mistake on the 23rd lap and the following withdrawal on the 32nd demonstrate the weakness of McLaren. Alonso himself has always considered Hamilton as his main rival. Despite that, they have to continue to work and find new strategies to be aggressive.

I was expected something more from the “ little ant Raikkonen” who managed to score important points thanks to which he got up to the standing’ third place, just one point away from Hamilton. His way of working can give him a great result. We’re living the most amazing World Championship ever. Good surprises can also come from those teams who are not striving for the World title, as the case of Perez. There are many different outsiders  (Sauber, Force India , Williams, Mercedes) who can act as referees. The strategy of Peter Sauber’s team is really good. The car is so performant. It is clear that, if  you don’t strive for the title, you can risk some strategies that can repay you with a podium. Perez gave maximum attention to the strategy, the tyres and the car.  Now the Swiss team is fighting against Mercedes to obtain the fifth place in the constructors’ Championship. A great result for a team on a human scale: I identify myself in it. The Mercedes is a 2012 disappointment. Schumacher and Rosberg have maximized the car’ potential but we expected something more. They’re constantly fighting for the 5th-7th place.

Next venue will be Singapore . It’s a urban circuit where compounds will be different. We’re getting into the final part of the racing season. We leave behind a good Italian Gp, full of overtaking. As far as the battle Vettel vs Alonso is concerned, I do agree with the decision taken by Stewards. The German driver was very tough on the Spaniard. I’d like to highlight the seriousness with which Pirro imposed a penalty to Vettel. For 15 days FIA has been imposing a strict control on mistakes.


Valencia, Spain – Fresh from a spell at home in Mexico, Esteban Gutierrez returns to Europe after GP2’s month off reinvigorated and ready to get his season back on track. He’s currently sixth in the championship with 60 points.

Valencia is one of Esteban’s favourite tracks, having taken his first GP2 victory in the sprint race here last year. He also won the feature race in GP3 in 2010 en route to the championship, and in 2008 dominated Formula BMW with pole, fastest lap, and the victory. Therefore there are high hopes that Esteban will take his first win of 2012 right here.

Valencia Street Circuit winds around a harbour and across a dynamic-looking swing bridge, which is welded shut, forcing yacht captains to get their berths in the harbour before the track action begins.

Valencia has one notable straight, which is one more than Monaco, and encourages overtaking – one may see little of it in the Formula One race, but GP2 seems better suited to its layout. As with any street circuit, there are more bumps than on a purpose built track, and the first proper corner – Turn 2 – is made trickier by being both bumpy and tight.

The next stretch is rather stop-start in nature down to Turn 8, with the emphasis on traction rather than aerodynamic grip. Between Turns 10 and 12 the cars run flat-out for 12 seconds. There are 25 corners in total, which make this circuit physically challenging and it’s easy to make a mistake. Due to its coastal location, a strong sea breeze can cause balance problems.

 “Valencia is a street circuit, and normally street circuits are very exciting because there’s no margin for error. This is something I enjoy a lot. Valencia is unusual for a street circuit, though, in that the surface is very smooth and there are long straights, which makes overtaking a little bit easier. I like this track and have had some great experiences here in the past, so that puts me in a very positive frame of mind going into this weekend, with the task to score as many points as possible.”

Gaëtan Jego, Chief Engineer: “Valencia is very different to the other street track we race on in GP2, Monaco. Valencia is flat and not that bumpy, but it’s still challenging. And the main challenge we face this weekend is to bounce back from the last two races. We need to score a good amount of points and restore confidence for the rest of the season. The pace in Barcelona was very strong, and Esteban was very unlucky to be caught out by a yellow flag in qualifying which made the race more difficult. In Monaco again the pace was there, but we had very little track time after a free practice crash, which made it harder to get in a rhythm. So we must keep our heads down this weekend, and if we don’t make any mistakes the good results will follow.”

Motorsports Mondial

Renault Sport F1 preview to the Monaco GP

The Principality plays host to the sixth round of the championship, which has so far produced a different winner each time out. Williams F1 Team’s Pastor Maldonado sealed victory at the last event, marking the debut win for the Williams-Renault package in its latest incarnation.

Williams, along with Red Bull Racing, Lotus F1 Team and Caterham F1 Team, will require a highly responsive engine to be delivered by Renault Sport F1 to suit the tight, sinuous bends of the 3.340km Monte Carlo circuit. As such, the challenge is to deliver a highly responsive engine through maps that target torque through the lower rev limits of the engine (around 15 – 17,000rpm) rather than the top end (16 – 18,000rpm) to give drive and response on the entry and exit to the corners.

The average speed round the track is the lowest of the year, just 160kph, and the engine spends a touch over 50% of the lap at full throttle, compared to around 70% at the purpose-built facilities. The top speed peaks at only 290kph through the tunnel section compared to well over 320kph (with DRS-activated) at the last event in Spain.

The curved pit straight is not really a straight at all and the run to the first corner from pole position is the shortest of the season: only 140 metres. The pole sitter will cover this distance in approximately four seconds, which will not give a significant amount of time for KERS to be activated fully.

The run from the first corner to Casino Square sees the circuit climb over 30m in just 10secs. A responsive engine is key here and engine maps will be designed to work with short gear ratios to hit the rev limit at the top of the hill. There could be a possibility to use KERS on this climb, but the steep gradient will reduce its effectiveness.

The streets of Monaco are notoriously bumpy and the engine will hit the rev limiter on several occasions throughout the lap. This is particularly hard on the internals of the engine, which become highly stressed. Even if it’s just for a nano second, running over a bump could cause the car to take off. With no load running through the wheels the engine suddenly hits the rev limiter, causing a loss of time and potential damage to the engine. Drivers try to avoid the largest bump on the run down from Casino into the Mirabeau by running off line.

The Grand Hotel Hairpin sees the engine running at the lowest speed and revs it reaches on track at any point in the year; just 44kph and around 6,500rpm. It is also the only point on the calendar where the driver needs to shift his hands on the wheel to get enough lock on the steering wheel.

The tunnel section is the only chance the cars get to hit top speed and maximum rev limit apart from the short pit straight. The driver exits Portier in 2nd gear and shifts up through the gears through the tunnel. The engine needs to have good acceleration here so the driver can reach vMax quickly; the ‘straight’ is very short – only 670m from the exit of Portiers to the chicane, or around eight or nine seconds.

While the tunnel section provides a welcome breath of air for the engine as it reaches the top speed, it’s not clean air – the enclosed nature of the tunnel means the air going into the engine through the airbox is as hot as the ambient temperatures seen in Malaysia or Abu Dhabi.

Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 Team

Every driver loves Monaco – the precision needed on each lap is just phenomenal, both from yourself and from the engineering team. In any formula this is the case, but even more so in F1 where the cars are so sensitive. Even though I know the track from GP2, it’s my first time driving an F1 car in Monaco, so I have been spending a lot of time preparing. We need to have confidence in the engine and know that it will deliver the power and grip into and out of every single corner so you can attack the track. In fact, I expect it will be the race where I spend the most amount of time working with the engine engineer as getting the right response out of the slow corners can win you tenths of a second.

Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations

Monaco is a massive challenge to get right. In terms of man power hours Monaco is the race that RSF1 engineers spend the most time preparing – anything from two to four days in the dyno and the design office compared to around one day for an average race such as Spain.

It’s incredibly slow so the focus is on delivering driveability through the lower rev ranges but also getting the gear ratios right to give effective acceleration between the corners. Getting the correct ratios is always a compromise; the right gear ratio for one corner is not necessarily right for the others.

In addition we have to provide effective cooling solutions as the high number of turns means that the engine isn’t given any respite over the course of a lap and systems can overheat if not monitored correctly. The dirt and debris from being a street track means the inlets can become blocked, but we can’t afford to put any cooling holes or additional louvre panels to help out – the tight corners demand such high downforce settings that every bit of bodywork affects performance.

The bumps are also a major issue for engine engineers. The drivers will run over manhole covers, kerbs, white lines and sometimes even huge bumps so the engine hits the rev limiter much more than we do at a permanent track like Sepang or Monza. To avoid this we pay particular attention to the shift light pattern and even encourage the driver to shift early.

It’s a difficult one to get right but we’re really keen to do well. So far this year our partners have been having a good run and we are pleased that our contribution has helped in some way. Renault engined teams have scored more than any other engine over the championship, with two wins and six podiums so we naturally very motivated to continue this form in Monaco.

Motorsports Mondial


Vettel holds off Kimi’s Lotus for victory in Bahrain.

Sebastian Vettel:“It’s a very tight season, the cars are very close to each other and small things can make a huge difference on a Sunday.

I think we started the season saying that the McLaren is the fastest car by quite a bit and we’ve seen that on Sunday it can be a different picture. I think they still have one of the strongest packages.

But you need to get everything right, you need to have the right tyres, you need to treat them right, you need to find the right set-up through the course of the weekend, so a lot of things to look out for.” I am very happy we made it to victory here. We were not quite sure how competitive we would be.

I think China was a very good lesson for us to understand the weakness of the car a little bit more by driving with two different packages. Here we focused on the new package and pushing that forward. I’m just happy for now, I don’t really care what happens in the next race, at least not today. I think we will have a good time now and push harder so that we make sure we are there again next race”.

Kimi Räikkönen: “It’s a great result for the team and we deserve it as everyone has been working very hard. To be honest, I’m slightly disappointed we didn’t take the win because we had the pace. I only had one chance to overtake Sebastian (Vettel) and unfortunately I chose the wrong side to try and get past. If I hadn’t made a small mistake at the start and allowed Felipe (Massa) to get through then maybe it would have been a different story, as we spent quite a lot of time fighting with him. At the end of the day, it’s good to have both cars on the podium, especially after last race which didn’t go to plan, but I honestly think we could have taken the victory today.”

Romain Grosjean: “It’s a great feeling to get my first podium, and I’m really proud of the whole team for doing an incredible job today. We’ve known all season how quick the car can be, but with such a tight field any small mistakes can make a huge difference. Today I think we got everything right, and we’ve finally been able to prove how competitive we are. Last week I was aiming for my first points, this week I was hoping for top five, but here we are on the podium so who knows where we can go from here! We can be very happy with what we’ve achieved today; hopefully we can now head to the Mugello test and find that last bit of to push us right to the top.”

Pos Driver Team Time
 1.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           1h35:10.990
 2.  Raikkonen     Lotus-Renault              +     3.300
 3.  Grosjean      Lotus-Renault              +    10.100
 4.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +    38.700
 5.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +    55.400
 6.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +    57.500
 7.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +    57.800
 8.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           +    58.900
 9.  Massa         Ferrari                    +  1:04.900
10.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +  1:11.400
11.  Perez         Sauber-Ferrari             +  1:12.700
12.  Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes       +  1:16.500
13.  Vergne        Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +  1:30.300
14.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +  1:33.700
15.  Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +     1 lap
16.  Petrov        Caterham-Renault           +     1 lap
17.  Kovalainen    Caterham-Renault           +     1 lap
18.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +     1 lap
19.  Glock         Marussia-Cosworth          +    2 laps
20.  De la Rosa    HRT-Cosworth               +    2 laps
21.  Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth               +    2 laps
22.  Senna         Williams-Renault           +    3 laps

Fastest lap: Vettel, 1:36.379

Valsecchi wins dramatic Sprint Race in Bahrain

Perfect end to a perfect weekend for the DAMS driver

It was another good day at the office today for Davide Valsecchi: the DAMS ace pocketed a second consecutive win in Bahrain this Sunday in Bahrain, from P8 on the grid. The Italian spoiled Esteban Gutierrez’ race when he passed the Mexican on the last lap and dashed to the chequered flag. James Calado completed the podium.

Action-packed seemed to have been the key word again this morning as the twenty-six GP2 cars made their way to the grid for the Sprint Race. The start was aborted when Felipe Nasr who was last on the grid stopped a few meters away from his starting position. More drama occurred when Tom Dillmann stalled from P3 for the second formation lap. Both men were pushed back into the pitlane and had to settle for a start from there.

When the lights went off, Calado made the perfect gateway from P4 to take the lead. Fabio Leimer and Gutierrez also made their way to P2 and P3 respectively, but the Mexican quickly found a way round the Swiss and after just one lap into the race, both Lotus GP cars were in control of the rest of the pack. The teammates started a battle of their own with Gutierrez putting immense pressure on Calado. As they were busy fighting off each other, Leimer snuck past Gutierrez and then easily overtook the Brit for the lead on Lap 5.

Calado started to struggle and was unable to keep his teammate at bay. Gutierrez took P2 and tried to close in on Leimer, but the Racing Engineering driver maintained a good pace to build a comfortable gap. Behind the top three, Max Chilton set his sights on Calado. Valsecchi in sixth overtook Luiz Razia and started to pick up the pace. He first passed Chilton and then closed in on a slower Calado before overtaking him for P3.

Leimer was enjoying a 2.3s lead on Gutierrez when he was given a drive through penalty for ignoring yellow flags which handed the lead back to Gutierrez and put Calado on the podium. Further down the pack, the battle intensified between Chilton and Razia, the latter eventually getting rid of the feisty Brit for P4. At the front, Valsecchi reduced the gap from 2.4s to one second with Gutierrez, and on the last lap he inevitably got past the Mexican to cross the finish line just three tenths ahead of Gutierrez.

Calado managed to retain P3 ahead of Razia, Chilton, Nasr (who made an incredible come back from last), Jolyon Palmer and Simon Trummer. Valsecchi now leads the drivers’ standings on 70 points with Razia on 57. Gutierrez stands in third place six points ahead of his teammate Calado whilst Chilton is fifth on 35 points.

The third round of the 2012 GP2 Series will take place next week on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th of April at the Bahrain International Circuit.