Tag Archives: Pastor Maldonado

Formula 1

LOTUS F1 TEST

LOTUS F1 DRIVERS ON THE AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX–

Romain Grosjean – I Imagine There Will Be A Few Surprises! 

After a frustrating pre-season, Frenchman Romain Grosjean contemplates the challenge ahead, explaining how he is expecting plenty of surprises and drama at the first race of the season… 

How well prepared do you feel heading in to the start of this season?

Probably not as well prepared as last year, that is for sure! We’ve taken everything we can from the limited running we did in Bahrain and we’re working with that to ensure we can make the best start to the season given the circumstances we face. In Bahrain, every time we ran we improved and there are certainly areas where we are heading in the right direction. These cars are even more complicated than people first thought. With the new power unit there is a lot of work still to be done, both on our side and also on Renault Sport F1’s side. We need to get things together and achieve what we know we are capable of when we have a reliable package. 

Will Melbourne effectively become another test session?

No, the aim is to finish the race and maybe score points. We’re not yet in the place we want to be competitively, but we will be there to compete and you never know what could happen with everyone else too. I don’t think any team can say that they are where they want to be heading to the start of the season. Yes, we’re not in a nice situation but it doesn’t mean that it’s game over. We’ll try to score as many points at every opportunity during the season.

 

With all the new buttons on the steering wheel and new technical challenges to consider, how well prepared for Australia do you feel from a driving perspective?

It’s a little bit challenging at the moment to be honest! We’re changing settings sometimes four or five times a lap which is a little bit too much. However, it was the same first time out with KERS back in 2009 (at Monza). It was a disaster – I remember we had to change the maps around five times in at least five corners. It’s just part of adapting to the new technology; it’s hard to get everything working together immediately. But it makes it more rewarding when we do get everything working as we want.

 

How do you keep that smile?

Ah, well I think that it’s natural for me! No, it’s useless to run away or get upset. It’s better to sit down together, go through everything we have done, find the positives, and then trust in the people who have to do the work that they do. The best I can do is to drive the car as quickly as I can. 

Tell us a little about Albert Park itself – why is it such a cool place?

Albert Park is still one of my favourite Grand Prix circuits, so it will be good to get there and get the season started and there’s always a great atmosphere. It’s a fantastic track and the changing scenery as you drive through the park is incredible. Of course it’s a great country and I always enjoy visiting Australia.

We know it can be a tricky circuit and the weather can make things pretty difficult too – two years ago we had lots of rain and even had to finish qualifying on Sunday morning! Hopefully the weather will be good this year – it’s been looking pretty hot recently. I guess you can say that everyone will be in the same position of not knowing what to expect, and with all the car changes I imagine there will be a few surprises! For us the weekend will be maximising the time on track, aiming to finish the race and getting the best result possible.

Pastor Maldonado – Everything Is Possible

Enstone debuntant Pastor Madonado is focused and determined to extract the very best possible in his first race for Lotus F1 Team 

How’s the relationship evolving at your new home in Formula 1?

Everything feels good and it’s going in the right direction. Even though there are a lot of resources and people, it feels so close knit and efficient. I like the team and I already have a good relationship with everyone I am working with. Hopefully it will get better and better during the year. For sure we are in a difficult moment because we didn’t run enough with the car in pre-season testing, but you can feel that the team are fully focussed on working hard to solve problems quickly. I’m looking forward to attacking and being competitive as soon as possible and right through to the end of the season.

What do you think of Australia?

It’s a great country and Melbourne is a wonderful city. It’s just great. I always love races that are close to the city because you have more people coming and it really feels like you are involved and part of their life for the short time you are there. There are all the benefits of the city to appreciate and the fans really get behind the event. It’s maybe one of the best races of the year.

What are your thoughts after pre-season testing?

Obviously I would have like to have had more laps! These are very complicated cars and Formula 1 should be about pushing the boundaries and developing new technology so it is very exciting. Maybe we have lost a bit of the great noises from the engine, but still they are powerful cars and a challenge to drive. It’s certainly going to be a spectacle, just as we had last year or maybe even better. For sure we need to keep running and keep adapting ourselves to the new rules, which are extremely different but this is something that just needs time. 

What about the E22 and its potential?

I think the potential of the E22 is huge. We just need to work harder than the other teams, even though time is against us. I think the car is good and it will only get better. We need to put everything together and try to get 100 percent from the team, car and me from a driving point of view. All is possible at the moment and we are very optimistic to progress and get back to the top. 

What are the challenges of Albert Park?

To be honest I love the track. The main challenges are that the track surface changes a lot over the weekend, especially from free practice to qualifying. The drivers and engineers need to try to predict how the track is going to evolve, especially for qualifying as this is crucial for the final position on Sunday. 

How difficult is it going into the first race with so much that is unknown?

It is exciting. It will be especially demanding for the team. I think all the drivers will have to work more closely with their teams than in previous years on every aspect inside and outside the car. We have been working a lot in the simulator, and even though it is just a simulation we learn a lot from this. Communication will be essential to have a good race – managing the fuel, the tyres, the settings on the steering wheel, the engine, power recovery, power delivery and so on. It will be very demanding to concentrate and focus on the many different aspects in the car, as well as the actual driving of these new generation Formula 1 cars.

What could be possible in Albert Park?

Everything is possible. Especially because there are so many variables this season, particularly in the early races. We just need to stay calm and keep focused. It is not an ideal situation for many of the teams, but we just need to work together to improve. I have a lot of confidence in everyone at Enstone and everyone from Renault Sport F1 involved with the power unit too. Everyone has solved problems in the past so helpfully we can have quick answers that solve the issues we face now. This will be very important in terms of our performance and showing our potential. I’m feeling optimistic for our new challenge in 2014.

Formula 1

Lotus F1 drivers2014

LOTUS F1 DRIVERS TALK ABOUT THE E22—

Following the first laps on track of the E22, drivers Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado look to the season ahead.

Romain Grosjean: “I’m ready to lead the way”

Romain heads into his third season as race driver for Lotus F1 Team with the confidence and experience to lead the team to greater things.

New season, new rules and new cars; how much of a challenge do you see the coming months to be?
New season, new car, news rules – everything it pretty new and our challenge is pretty big. It’s very exciting though! We don’t know exactly what’s going on and where people are, it’s the same every year when we start the season, but it’s particularly the case right now with all the changes and new rules. The changing of engines, the changing of aerodynamics, more electrical help in the car, so yes some tough work for the engineers and drivers to understand and get on top of everything as quick as we can and hopefully faster than the others.

You are going into your third season as race driver for the team; will the continuity enable you to continue to learn and grow as a driver?
I think continuity will be important this year with all the rule changes, and it’s my third year at Enstone so it feels like home. I like the team and I think we do a very good job together so I’m happy to keep going, and I’m happy that we’re together for this challenge. We have a common aim for the future and we want to win races and win Championships. We’ll work as hard as we did to achieve even more than last year. I am ready to lead the way with this challenge.

You’ve been on the podium 9 times so far. Is that first win within reach?
I don’t know when it will come, I’ve come close a few times and nine podiums with the team is a good record. We just need to keep doing our best, keep trying to optimise everything we can from the first day we have on a race track to the Sunday and to get a good car. I trust the people here to try to give me all the tools we need to achieve that win – it’s a good car, a good engine, we have good strategy, we have good engineers and mechanics, and a good driver. So I’m looking forward to try and will go for it, and the day it comes, we’ll have a big party!

What do you think of the E22 and the design team which has created it?
I like the colour of the car, it’s nice. I think with the rule change it’s very interesting to see how people have understood it, and the direction people have taken. Our guys have been pretty clever with it; I really like the idea of trying something different, and we’ll just need to see when we get to Melbourne where we are. But I really like the car, and if it’s a winning car then I will love it!

What are your targets and objectives for 2014?
Targets and objectives are always the same when you start a new season – trying to win the title. It sounds optimistic sometimes, but I think we are all here to try and win races; the team in Enstone, the team on the racetrack and myself, so we’ll do everything we can, do our best, and see if it’s good enough!

Why the number 8?
Simply I like this number, plus it has some significance to me. My wife was born the 8th of December, we started dating in 2008 and, to my eyes my son is the 8th wonder of the world. That’s why I picked up number 8.

Pastor Maldonado: “I feel really good here”

After three seasons in Formula 1, Pastor Maldonado comes to Lotus F1 Team with the objective of being one of the best and fighting for wins.

How excited are you about kicking off the new season with Lotus F1 Team?
It’s great to start the season with Lotus F1 Team. For me it’s something very special, and it’s part of the big transition of progressing in Formula 1. After three years in one team, it will now be my fourth season at a higher level, and I’m very happy to part of this fantastic team. Lotus F1 Team have been very successful in the past, been competitive on track and have won a lot of races. We’re working very hard to again be one of the best and fighting for wins.

You have 58 Grands Prix starts under your belt; what experience can you bring to the team?
I’ve been learning a lot, especially in the first two years. I don’t count last year as it was so difficult, but even in the difficult times you can learn a lot and I’ve used all of that as an experience and I feel ready to get back to the top. In the past I’ve been quite good in my last team, and maybe here I will get extra power to be more consistent and I think together we can make a very strong team.

You already know Romain Grosjean, are you looking forward to working together?
I know Romain from some years ago, he’s a good guy. He’s a great driver and we’ve competed in the lower categories together. We’ve both always been at the top so I’m really looking forward to working with him. I think we are both real fighters on track, so I hope we can both do our best for the team.

How different do you expect the racing will be with such big regulation changes?
The difference we see from last year to 2014 is huge, and it will have a huge influence in terms of racing, and racing style. I think the drivers, together with the team, must work a lot to adapt to this new style of racing. We’ve been working in the simulator for a while and I feel optimistic. Let’s go for it!

What do you think of the E22?
The E22 is just amazing, I think it’s the most revolutionary car in the paddock. The car looks great, it’s a combination between the new technology and many other new ideas. It’s pretty special to see the nose like that – I’ve never seen something like that in the past! It’s something completely new for Formula 1, and we’re fully confident with this solution. I can’t wait to be in the car and try it out on track.

What are your targets and objectives for 2014?
The season ahead is really a big question mark. We need to start with great expectations, we need to do our best from the beginning. For sure it will be quite hard, for all the teams and all the drivers, with the new regulations but we’re really looking forward to fight for the best, and to fight for the Championship.

Why the number 13?
The reason I choose the number 13 is just because I like it. In Venezuela it is not an unlucky number and it actually has a long history in Venezuelan sport.

Formula 1

Pastor

MALDONADO TO LOTUS F1—

Lotus F1 Team is pleased to announce that Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado [28] will join the Enstone squad alongside Frenchman Romain Grosjean [27] for the 2014 Formula 1 season.

Pastor – a veteran of 58 Grand Prix starts, including pole position and victory at the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix – has driven for Williams F1 Team since entering the sport at the start of the 2011 season.

Romain has raced for Lotus F1 Team since the start of the 2012 season, having previously driven for the Enstone outfit in its former guise of Renault F1 Team during the final seven races of the 2009 season, in addition to serving as third driver for the team in 2011.

Eric Boullier, Team Principal
“It is with great pleasure that we can formally confirm that Romain Grosjean will continue with Lotus F1 Team next season. 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.”

Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 Team Driver
“I am very happy to have official confirmation that I will be continuing to drive for Lotus F1 Team next season. 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.”

Pastor Maldonado, 2014 Lotus F1 Team Driver
“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.”

Formula 1

Williams Massa

MALDONADO OUT MASSA IN—

The Williams F1 Team is delighted to announce that Felipe Massa will join the team to drive alongside Valtteri Bottas for the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship season. The new line-up reflects Williams’ determination to bring success back to the team.

Having competed in 12 FIA Formula One World Championship seasons, Felipe is an experienced talent and proven race winner, with 11 race wins and 36 podiums to his credit during a hugely successful career. He has frequently challenged for the Drivers’ Championship, missing out by the narrowest of margins in 2008 and has also contributed to Ferrari’s Constructors’ Championships in both 2007 and 2008.

After joining Williams as the team’s Test Driver in 2010, Valtteri was promoted to a race seat in 2013 and has matured into an accomplished Formula One driver, impressing the team not least with his handling of the difficult conditions in Canada to put his Williams-Renault FW35 third on the grid.

The Williams F1 Team would like to take this opportunity to thank Pastor Maldonado for his efforts and contribution over the past three seasons, in particular delivering the team’s Spanish Grand Prix victory last year. We wish him well for the future.

Sir Frank Williams, Founder and Team Principal: “We are delighted to be able to confirm our 2014 driver line-up and welcome Felipe into the Williams family. He is an exceptional talent and a real fighter on the race track; he also brings a wealth of experience as we begin a new chapter in our story. Valtteri is a valued member of the team and I’m pleased he was able to demonstrate his talent in tricky conditions in Montréal. There is much more to come from him.”

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal: “It is very exciting for us to be able to confirm our 2014 driver line-up as part of a number of announcements we will be making over the coming weeks. Felipe has demonstrated his talent and speed over the years, as well as his ability to help motivate and drive a team to championship success, and we are extremely pleased that he will be joining us as we embark on our 2014 campaign. Valtteri is an exciting, young talent who has done a solid job for us in his rookie season and we are looking forward to giving him the equipment he deserves to show just how good he is.

“This announcement is a key step towards our goal of returning Williams to the front of the grid, and part of our on-going plans to ensure we are stronger in 2014 and beyond. The stability of having both our drivers on multi-year contracts, Mercedes-Benz as our engine partner and a strong commercial base all contribute to the future success of the Williams F1 Team.”

Felipe Massa: “Williams is one of the most successful and important teams of all time in Formula One. When I was a kid, I always dreamed about racing for Williams, Ferrari or McLaren and I’m glad to be signing with another icon of the sport following my time at Ferrari. It is also nice to remember that some of the best Brazilian drivers raced for Williams and cemented a strong national link with the team. With such a major change of regulations in 2014, I hope my experience will be useful in helping the team in its effort to move on from a difficult period. Since my early days in motor racing, I don’t remember seeing so many new rules in a single season and I’m fully prepared to work with everyone at Grove to make sure we find the right direction.  I’m highly motivated to start working hard from the very beginning in what is an exciting new challenge in my career.”

Valtteri Bottas: “I’m very happy to be staying with the team as I embark on my second season in Formula One. I have known everyone here for many years, firstly as a test driver and now as a race driver, so it feels like home. I have faith in Williams and I know we can do so much better in the future than our current performance shows. I am looking forward to having Felipe as my teammate. He is a quick and experienced driver and together we will be pushing to the maximum to improve the car and get as many points as we can next season. We will be working throughout the winter to ensure we are ready for the challenge of 2014. I would also like to thank everyone at Williams, especially Frank, Claire and the senior management for their on-going trust in me.”

Formula 1

Williams F1 fb

WILLIAMS F1 BRITISH GRAND PRIX PREVIEW…

Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: This weekend is the Williams F1 Team’s home race and it is always great to be amongst all our fans. It is also one of our most successful races, with ten wins in total for the team in Britain. The new circuit layout, introduced in 2010, has the second highest average speed of any circuit on the calendar, behind Monza, and the average corner speed is the highest of any circuit this season.

Ambient conditions are typically cool which means good engine power and less chance of thermal degradation in the tyres. The track is relatively rough and tyre energy input is high, higher than Barcelona but much more evenly balanced across the left and right hand sides of the car and more towards the front. Longer range forecasts predict a dry and sunny weekend but whatever conditions we meet, we will be pushing hard to continue the development of the FW35.

Pastor Maldonado: This weekend has been something that the team have been looking forward to all year and I’m proud to be part of this historic moment. Silverstone also happens to be one of my favourite circuits on the calendar. It has a lot of character and some very iconic corners, and the British fans are always very passionate and knowledgeable. With the track being quick and the temperatures usually low it is easy to grain the front tyres and this is something we will have to manage and consider when deciding on the pit stop strategy. The new part of the track is still very green with less grip which is something you have to bear in mind when behind the wheel. Hopefully we can have a strong weekend and score some points to make the weekend even more memorable for the team.

Valtteri Bottas: This is going to be a very special weekend for Williams, celebrating 600 races in front of our home fans at a track which has a lot of history for the team and is great fun to drive. Silverstone is a classic racers track – with some very high speed corners which require a lot of downforce in order to be quick through them. I drove in FP1 last year and at the Young Drivers Test so I have experience of driving a Formula One car at Silverstone which is always helpful in getting up to speed quickly. Normally the track is quite tough on the tyres with quite a bit of graining because the temperatures are cool and the track is very demanding. The weather never makes the circuit any easier due to the often rainy and cold conditions, but after our strong qualifying in Canada in wet conditions I’m confident we would handle this well.

Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 Head of Track Operations: Even with the addition of the new slow loop, Silverstone remains one of the toughest challenges for the engine. A touch over 66% of the lap is spent at full throttle in qualifying and the average speed is well over 200kph. However it is the high speed corners that also challenge the RS27, particularly the sweeping Maggotts-Beckett-Chapel complex. Average speeds through this section are around 250kph and no lower than 190kph at any one point, with huge lateral forces put through the car. The oil and fuel systems therefore have to be resilient as the fluids are squashed from side to side, while the engine needs to be smooth to maintain the speed.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: The contrast between Silverstone and the last round in Montreal couldn’t be greater: we go from a circuit that’s stop-and-start with big braking areas and aggressive kerbs to one of the fastest and most flowing tracks of the year. We’ve chosen the two hardest compounds in the Formula One range – P Zero Orange hard and P Zero White medium – in order to cope with the high-energy loadings that go hand in hand with the high average speeds you see in Great Britain. The track surface is very smooth, but wear and degradation can be considerable because of all the forces going through the tyres, which peak at around 5g. The big variable in Silverstone is of course the British weather – which is capable of anything. We’ve seen wet and dry races in the past but at the same time it can be very hot too. And obviously, the higher the temperature, the more demands are placed on the tyre. This will be the determining factor for tyre strategy at Silverstone, which as we have seen in the past often has a key influence in the race outcome. Of course strategy begins in qualifying, and we saw from Valtteri Bottas’s Saturday performance in Canada just what a difference it makes to be on the right tyre at the right time.

Formula 1

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Saturday

WILLIAMS F1 LOOKING FOR A REPEAT…

Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: The Spanish Grand Prix is always one we look forward to as it is a track we all know well due to the amount of time spent there during winter testing. We also have fond memories of Pastor’s win there last season. A lot of engine and chassis decisions are also based around Barcelona as teams have so much data from there.

Track conditions can change a lot during the weekend, making it a challenge to get a good set-up. The track layout, with its high average speed, also makes it quite hard on tyres. Surprisingly it has a similar power sensitivity to Monaco, due to the long corners and demand on handling. As the first race back in Europe, traditionally many teams will bring upgrades to their cars – and we are no different. Following a successful aero test at Idiada last week, we have a number of upgrades which we will be looking to run over the coming races.

Pastor Maldonado: It will be very special to return to Barcelona after my win there last season. Whilst all the drivers know the track very well and we have some good data from testing here earlier in the year, the track changes quite a lot so you still need to familiarise yourself with the conditions during practice and set up the car accordingly. The choice of tyre compound will also be a big factor on how well the teams handle the track conditions as the track can be quite hard on tyres. We are now entering a very important part of the season because the next couple of races are quite close to the factory, so there will be more opportunities for us to react to our performance on track and make changes to the car.

Valtteri Bottas: Whilst I have never raced at Barcelona in Formula One, I know the track really well as I’ve raced there in Formula Renault and Formula 3 and I’ve done a lot of testing with Williams at the circuit. The win last year in Barcelona was a big motivational boost for everyone and was a good example of what we can achieve when everything comes together. We are working hard to get back to that level and following a good aero test last week at Idiada and a number upgrades coming for this race, hopefully Barcelona can be the start of improved performance for us this year.

Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 Head of Track Operations: Barcelona is a track we know well from testing; this year we covered over 3,000km. It is used extensively as it has a very good ‘average’ of characteristics of other circuits on the calendar. There are a variety of low and medium speed corners that push the RS27 on the lower rev ranges of the engine, but there is also the 1km pit straight where the cars reach over 300kph. The undulating nature of the track also puts the engine internals under pressure so every element of the engine gets a full workout here.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: We’re introducing a new version of our hard tyre in Spain, which has been nominated together with the medium compound. The new hard tyre is more similar in characteristics to the 2012 hard tyre, with a wider working temperature window. This gives the teams more opportunities to run a greater variety of strategies in combination with the other compounds, which haven’t changed. Spain is among the tracks that put the highest lateral loads through the tyres all year, so it’s important to strike the right balance as always between performance and durability. Luckily this is a circuit that all the teams know well, so there is plenty of existing data – including from pre-season testing this year –to use when planning a race strategy. We would expect to see three pit stops during the race, as was the case last year. In a fresh departure we’re also introducing a new set of hard tyres that will be used during free practice one on Friday only, in order to encourage all the teams to run throughout the whole session.