The Lotus F1 Team arrive at Hockenheim for the German Grand Prix on the back of a disappointing race at Silverstone that for the third race in a row resulted in them leaving pointless. Both Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean are hoping for a better result in Germany this weekend.
Maldonado heads into Hockenheim still looking for his first points of the season and for Lotus, but and feels the German track might be another the team will struggle on. He will still make sure he gives it his all to get the best possible result on a track he won at in the GP2 Series back in 2010 for the Rapax team.
“I have raced at Hockenheim both with GP2 and F1,” said Maldonado. “I’ve been quite quick there in the past – winning in GP2 – and it’s a fun circuit to drive so we’ll see how it goes. Winning in the GP2 Series there was great; I led pretty much from start to finish apart from one lap and it was the year I took the GP2 championship so that was a good experience during a great season. I really like the people there; the fans are great and so many of them come to the race. There is a great atmosphere, particularly in the final few corners with the big grandstands.
“The final sector is challenging with lots of corners coming quickly after each other, so that is one area where time can easily be won or lost. Get it right and you carry speed from one corner to the next, but a small mistake in one corner can mean you are also punished at the next.
“There’s potential for it to be a tough weekend for us. The surface is very smooth, there are some slower corners with strong traction demands out of them as well as several straights where you need as much power as possible. Certainly, the latest engine I used at the Silverstone test feels to be much stronger so that will be a benefit.
“You arrive at the track and try to do your best for every element of the weekend. It’s the same if you have a car which is working as you want or one that has work needing to be done: You focus to optimise the package as best you can; you work with your engineers through the weekend then you focus on maximising every opportunity when you’re on track.”
Team-mate Grosjean has not scored points since the Monaco Grand Prix, but has good memories of last years German Grand Prix, albeit at the Nurburgring where he finished on the podium. He is looking forward to finding out how the team has progressed with the development of the car this weekend.
“I’ve definitely got good memories of Germany from last year at the Nürburgring, when I led the race on the way to finishing a close third behind Kimi [Raikkonen],” said Grosjean. “However my only Hockenheim F1 race was one to forget, a grid penalty and then car damage early in the 2012 Grand Prix.
“I’ve got nothing against the track though – one of my first single seater races was at Hockenheim in 2003 and I’ve raced there in various categories over the years. The shorter layout may not have the same character as the original Hockenheim, but it usually provides plenty of overtaking and the atmosphere in the stadium is amazing. It’s another track where the fans are absolutely brilliant and really show their appreciation of the sport. I’m looking forward to returning.
“The weather played a part in the Silverstone weekend, just as it did at Hockenheim in 2012, so we’ll need to stay on our toes. I think as a team we have more to gain than lose from any weather changes so we should view them as an opportunity – the E22 seemed to like the damp conditions at Silverstone.
“We’ve worked hard to improve performance in the low-speed corners, so Hockenheim will be a good test of how much we’ve progressed. Apart from the run down to the hairpin there are no real straights to speak about so power unit emphasis will be on acceleration rather than top speed.”
Technical Director Nick Chester spoke about the challenges the Hockenheim circuit will pose for the team, and expects the Hungaroring the following weekend to be a stronger event than in Germany.
“It’s quite a mixed track with a couple of long straights and a medium-speed final section,” said Chester. “Two of the straights are also linked by a medium to high-speed corner, which is good for us, as is having soft and supersoft tyres for this circuit. Weather is often a factor there too. Last time we were there, in 2012, it was wet on the Friday and Saturday. The hairpin is a key area for overtaking, so braking will be important.
“Our development schedule is continuing at full pace. We will have a new front wing, which is a decent improvement, a cooling upgrade and some smaller bodywork updates to increase downforce. Between what we have learnt in the Silverstone test and these upgrades, we hope to make a good step forward.
“Between Hockenheim and the Hungaroring, which is the second circuit in the back-to-back combo, Hungaroring should be more beneficial for us as it is mostly made up of medium-speed corners. It’s also not known as a ‘power’ circuit and is a high downforce track – which are all better aspects for us!“