Tag Archives: Lotus Renault GP

F1Weekly podcast # 620



Malaysian Grand Prix preview from MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team…

Nico Rosberg
Sepang is one of my favourite tracks on the Formula One calendar. The layout has a little bit of everything with the slow and fast corners making a nice mix. For our team, the Malaysian Grand Prix is also one of our home races as we´re racing in the country of our partner PETRONAS, and it´s always a busy and exciting weekend. Sepang holds some great memories for me as I achieved my first podium for Mercedes here at the start of the 2010 season. The conditions this weekend will be much hotter than in Australia so it will be a good test to see how the cars perform in such a different environment and how we can adapt to that. It often rains heavily and from my experience with the performance of the car in the rain in Melbourne, wet conditions would certainly be welcomed by me!

Lewis Hamilton
Malaysia is a beautiful country with great weather and great fans who are always so supportive, I´m really looking forward to seeing them. This weekend feels a little like a home race for the team with all of the activities for our title partner PETRONAS. I´m really looking forward to having my first visit to the top of the famous PETRONAS Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday before the weekend gets underway. Sepang is a fantastic circuit and one where I haven´t managed to win before. My favourite part of the track is probably turns five and six but it´s always an exciting challenge here with the heat and humidity. I´m very proud of the work that the team have done so far and I know that the guys are pushing hard back in the UK to bring more performance to the car. I hope we can have a positive weekend here and build on the progress that we made in Melbourne and on what we learned from that race.

Ross Brawn
The first race of the season provided some very encouraging signs for the team; our car performed well and seemed to be competitive in all of the conditions that the Melbourne weather gave us. However, we didn´t quite find the correct balance for the race which compromised our ability to maximise the starting positions of Lewis and Nico. With the second race in Malaysia following this weekend, we´re looking forward to the opportunity to put that right. Malaysia is one of the most special races of the season for our team and it´s a real honour to be celebrating the 15th anniversary of Formula One in the country with our title partner PETRONAS. We all hope to put on a good show this weekend for the Malaysian fans.


Formula 1


The final day of the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi saw reigning GP2 Series champion Davide Valsecchi top the time sheets in the race winning E20. Davide completed a total of 86 laps, running a comprehensive testing programme and showcasing his talent by quickly getting up to speed with the car and team.

Today signals the end of the Young Driver Test, with Lotus F1 Team having completed a total of 213 laps and gaining valuable data as the focus now turns towards the forthcoming United States Grand Prix next weekend.

Programme Summary:

  • Morning Session: Aerodynamic testing and DDRS iterations.
  • Afternoon Session: Front Drum testing and tyre assessment Programme.
  • Total number of laps: 86
  • Best lap time: 1:42:677
  • Tyres used: Two sets of hard, two sets of medium and two sets of soft compound tyres.

Davide Valsecchi, E20-01
“It’s been a really good experience for me. I was very pleased with my sessions and followed everything the team asked of me without making any mistakes. I took it very easy in the morning so I could get used to the car and soon became more confident, meaning towards the end I was much better in terms of pace.

“The team listened to my feedback and made the changes I suggested, particularly towards the end of running. I want to say thank you to Lotus F1 Team who have been really good; the engineers and the mechanics have all been brilliant and it has been a great day for me.”

Simon Rennie, Race Engineer
“The final day’s running with Davide has been a good end to our Young Driver Test this year. In the morning we completed additional aerodynamic work and looked at further evaluation of our DDRS, providing us with enough data to make an informed decision at a later stage in Enstone. Before lunch Davide completed performance runs as he became accustomed to the set up and quickly explored the limits of the car. Obviously the step from GP2 to Formula 1 is not enormous, but we were impressed with how quickly he was up to speed by this morning.

“For the afternoon session, we looked at developments of our front drums and then completed a tyre programme which gave Davide the opportunity to try out the various compounds. We ran the hard, medium and soft tyres and he found good improvements in terms of grip with each step in the compounds. All in all it’s been a good day, and Davide did a great job.”


Formula 1

Driver:                  António Félix da Costa-
Car:                       RB8-
Laps:                     61 laps-
Best time:            1:42.679-
Circuit length:    5.554km-
Fastest lap:         A. Felix da Costa (1:42.679)-
For the second day of Formula One’s Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi, Red Bull Junior driver António Félix da Costa returned to the cockpit of the RB8 for his final outing at the Yas Marina Circuit. And with a point to prove, the young Portuguese driver set the day’s fastest lap, clocking a time of 1:42.679.
António’s day was again split into sessions of aero and mechanical work, with the morning given over to aero mapping and the afternoon to tyre work as well the testing of some car components.
Of his final day at this test António said: “It’s been another good day. Again, we did a lot of mileage, which is good for me and for the team. On a day like this, when the conditions are perfect for testing, and with two grands prix to go, I think the team needs to make the most of it and today I think we did that.
“It’s been a great experience and I’d like to thank the whole team for their help and I hope I have been able to help them as well,” he added. “I’ll focus now on the future and I think most sensibly that probably means a full season in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series next year.”
With António’s work done, the final day of the Young Drivers’ Test will see Formula Renault 3.5 Series winner Robin Frijns take over at the wheel of the RB8.
Giedo van der Garde: “It’s been a great couple of days here in Abu Dhabi and I want to thank the team for giving me the chance to drive in the rookie test yesterday and today. “Today we ran considerably more laps than on day one. We spent the morning running through more aero work and ran with a number of different setups that give the team a huge amount of data to work through that will be really useful for the last two races of the season. In the afternoon we switched to longer runs, looking at tyre management and how the car behaves on different fuel loads and I’m pleased with the progress we made. Towards the end of the session we put soft tyres on and I had a couple of runs that were closer to the performance runs we do in FP3 – the car had more fuel than in quali but I’m pretty happy with where I ended up.

“Next up for me is FP1 in Brazil, another track that’ll be new for me but with the time I’ve had on track here, and in the other FP1s I’ve done this year, I think that’ll be a good session for me. I’m not doing FP1 in Austin as the team needs maximum time on track for the race drivers, but I’ll be going to the race as Reserve Driver and I’m really looking forward to getting out there – it’s going to be a great week for sure.”

Edoardo Mortara, E20-01  “I had a wonderful time and I’m so grateful to everyone at Lotus F1 Team for giving me this opportunity; I enjoyed every lap. At the same time, it was pretty tough; I’ve come from a car which is a lot slower and the first laps were certainly an eye opener. I improved gradually over the day and I think my progression was pretty good. Every time I was on track I got a little bit better. I completed the test programme scheduled by the team so it’s satisfying to be able to contribute to their season. It’s been one of the best days of my life.”

The POINT by Minardi

F1 – GP  Abu Dhabi: THE POINT…by Gian Carlo Minardi…

We saw an exciting GP, with the 4 World Champions occupying the first four places. Fernando Alonso ran a good race; once again the Spaniard was able to make the best use of his car’ s potential; Raikkonen finally made it onto the highest step of the podium with his Lotus.

As we pointed out last weeks, Kimi and Hamilton can play the role of killjoys in the Championship, even if, once again, the McLaren Englishman was deceived by the reliability of his car. On the contrary, reliability still supports the “Scuderia” and helped the Italian team to recover from a difficult weekend. Fernando couldn’t do more than he did. He had a very good start and the strategy was characterized by a lower down-force. The Spaniard was very good in managing the car since the beginning, with the car filled up with petrol. He didn’t make any mistake and the laps he ran looked like “qualifying laps”. He made three points up, which is so important with the racing season coming to an end. He finished second, behind a very performing Raikkonen who scored the 18th good result to preserve the third place in the standing. A good performance also for Sebastian Vettel who, after a big mistake made by his team ( or made by the engine supplier), was able to recover, supported by a very performing Red Bull, but also by luck. Thanks to the safety car two re-starts, the German driver was able to recover from his pit-lane start and managed to finish third. If he had pitted one lap later, everything would have changed. What is more, some cars which were just ahead of him and could have hindered him, got off the race. Therefore, we don’t have to forget the alliance with the “Scuderia Toro Rosso” who made overtaking easier for him.

The closing stages will be exciting, with two drivers technically in the world championship battle. For sure, Fernando will have to make no mistakes and will rely on other drivers’ mistakes. The two Red Bull were weak under pressure. The English-Austrian team has a better  car, but, as far as reliability and team management are concerned, it is second to the Ferrari cars. The Ferrari had many problems in bringing tyres to the right temperature. In re-start and qualifying, the Ferrari gives something to rivals, but later it was able to set some fastest laps In the last lap the Italian car was overreached by Vettel on soft tyres.

We missed the two second leaders, Webber and Massa. The Australian had a messy start and wasn’t able to recover. The Brazilian made a mistake after a clash with the Red Bull driver. He didn’t have enough sangfroid to manage the situation. Webber should have left that position to the Brazilian to avoid penalty. He could have given Vettel a rough ride , as well.

One more disappointing race for Mercedes, out of the score zone, while Williams, Sauber and Force India ran a very good race. Despite a KERS problem, Maldonado ran a very good race. Senna was involved in an accident during the first laps, so he dropped to the bottom of the standing. Unfortunately Perez made some mistakes because of which the team didn’t score important points.

The next two races will be hard to foresee. Drivers will play it hard until the end and those out of the championship battle will act as the balance of power. 

Gian Carlo Minardi

Motorsports Mondial

More Malaysian Grand preview.

Renault Sport F1 will be looking to work with its four partner teams to build on their respective strong starts to the season. Red Bull Racing scored a podium with Sebastian Vettel in Melbourne, with Mark Webber fourth, while Lotus F1 Team secured seventh with Kimi Raikkonen. Williams F1 Team had a competitive start to the year, with Pastor Maldonado racing in the top ten for the duration of the race, while Caterham F1 Team continued to edge closer to the midfield.

• The Malaysian Grand Prix presents a challenge for engines on account of the high ambient temperatures and humidity. Along with Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, the temperatures can reach over 40°C, so engine cooling becomes crucial. The high water content in the atmosphere also displaces air that could otherwise be combusted, and slows the combustion process. These both act to reduce power output, but Renault Sport F1 recreates the climatic conditions on its test cells back at Viry-Châtillon to ensure the engine is fully-optimised for Sepang.

• Monza has the highest percentage of full throttle per lap at around 75% but Sepang features two long straights that are around 850m long. Although the drivers are at full throttle for around 60% of the lap in Malaysia, the race is relatively long in terms of time. As such, the total time spent at full throttle is actually equal, if not slightly more, than at Monza – weather conditions permitting…

• The two long straights run in opposite directions, which helps to dilute the effect of any change in wind direction. Seventh gear selection is also always a compromise between performance in the race and qualifying. Optimising 7th for qualifying will result in a gear that is too long at the start of a race, when the car has a full tank of fuel.

• Wet conditions always provide a tough test for the driveability of the engine. The RSF1 engineers will monitor the on-car torque sensor, to ensure the engine is always providing the torque requested by the driver. The driver can change pedal maps in wet conditions, to help him better modulate the torque application in slippery conditions.

• Keeping the fuel temperature under control is vital in Sepang. The high ambient temperatures can cause fuel to run over the recommended temperatures, meaning a lower grade fuel must be used by engine suppliers. Renault’s fuel partner, Total, produces two types of fuel for use with the RS27. Despite the high Malaysian ambient heat, Renault’s partners are still able to use the highest spec of fuel, as Total and its customers have made progress in understanding the chemical characteristics of the fuel, as well as fuel tank insulation.

• Engines enter the second race of their life cycle. The reliability and consistent performance of the RS27 means all Renault powered drivers will be re-using the Australian engines in Malaysia.

Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham F1 Team
As Malaysia’s one of our two home races we’re always given a very warm welcome when we come here and that’s extra motivation for the whole team to push on in what are clearly pretty tough conditions. As much as it’s challenging for us inside the cockpit, it’s also pretty hard on the car, with the two straights the only chance to relax through the lap. However, this year we’re running with KERS, so even that won’t be easy. We need the Renault engine to deliver responsiveness throughout the mid range, but power down those straights, plus of course the KERS to be on top form to make the most of any opportunities.

Head of Renault Sport F1 track operations Rémi Taffin gives his thoughts on Sepang
We are really looking forward to Malaysia after a competitive performance for all our partners in Australia. It’s not easy doing back to back races at such different tracks, but thanks to the support of the Viry factory and the work conducted on the dyno to optimise the RS27 for the unique Malaysian challenge, we feel very prepared.

Some 25% of the Sepang lap is comprised of straights linked by a hairpin. The straights are an average of 850m each, which means the engine will be at maximum 18,000 revs for approx 12.5 seconds of the average 1min 35sec lap. As a result, we need to deliver engines that have strong top end power. Additionally the straights also provide passing opportunities, so delivering fully functional KERS can be crucial to gaining places. In Australia we were disappointed that we had KERS issues with Red Bull and Caterham, but we have looked carefully at the reasons for the failures and feel we are on top of them now.

The corners either side of the two straights are largely fast and flowing, giving an average speed of 210kph, which also require RSF1 engineers to deliver driveability and responsiveness. This is typically one of the main features of the RS27 so we are quite confident going to this second round of the championship.

Motorsports Mondial

The FIA has ruled …reactive ride height systems will be banned for the 2012 F1 season.

(REUTERS) Formula One’s governing body has moved to ban, before the start of pre-season testing, controversial new reactive suspension systems that several teams were working on.

Williams chief operations engineer Mark Gillan said the International Automobile Federation (FIA) had declared the systems to be illegal for the 2012 season starting in Australia in March.

Matteo Bonciani, the FIA’s head of F1 communications, confirmed that technical head Charlie Whiting had written to all the teams on Friday clarifying the situation.

He said the FIA had received a number of technical enquiries from teams about the legality of systems that could alter the configuration of a car’s suspension in response to changes in brake torque.

Lotus, previously Renault, first tried out their system at a young driver test in Abu Dhabi last November but have not commented on its significance for the new car to be unveiled next month when testing starts in Spain.

Several others, including former champions Williams and the sport’s most successful team Ferrari, were also believed to be looking into similar devices while awaiting an FIA ruling on their legality.

The issue had threatened to become the first big technical controversy of a year that will have an unprecedented six world champions, including Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen returning with Lotus, on the starting grid.

Article 3.15 of the 2012 technical regulations, published this month, states that “any car system, device or procedure which uses driver movement as a means of altering the aerodynamic characteristics of the car is prohibited”.

The Lotus system which first put the issue in the public eye was reportedly reactive to brake torque and formed part of the suspension.

“We have been investigating that type of system for a while,” Gillan said. “It is obviously an impact on the aerodynamic platform of the car.

“Anything that gets the ride-height lower, particularly the front ride-height lower, is beneficial from an aerodynamic perspective.”

Bonciani said systems shown to the FIA for approval relied on changes to the length of a suspension member and appeared to have a primary, if not sole, purpose of affecting the aerodynamic performance of the car.