The Lotus F1 Team will race their troublesome E22 for the final time in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, while the Enstone team will also say goodbye to Renault-power after the event before they switch to Mercedes-power in 2015.
Both Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado were eliminated in the first part of qualifying at the Yas Marina Circuit, but the Frenchman’s race will be compromised due to an engine change penalty, while both drivers are eager to move forward on Sunday.
Grosjean missed out on making it through to the second part of qualifying after the Sauber of Adrian Sutil by just 0.022s, and as such will be forced to start at the back of the field AND take a drive-through penalty, as he was unable to take his entire grid penalty for changing parts of his engine. He feels it will be a difficult race, but hopes to achieve the best result he can manage in the circumstances.
“It’s not going to be an easy race with starting from the back and having a drive-through penalty, but that’s what we started with at the beginning of the year in Melbourne so there’s some kind of cruel symmetry there,” said Grosjean. “We will try our best in the race; you never know what can happen. It’s a long Grand Prix and you never know how the season finale can play out. Let’s hope we achieve the best result possible.”
Team-mate Maldonado qualified a disappointing eighteenth, but will start fifteenth once Grosjean and the two Red Bull’s take their penalties, and felt it was difficult to get heat into his front Pirelli tyres during the qualifying session.
“It was difficult to get temperature into the front tyres which meant they started locking up easily on braking, which obviously penalises you for lap time,” admitted Maldonado. “We didn’t expected to be very competitive this weekend as Yas Marina is a very particular track with slow speed corners and long straights, neither of which favours our car. We did the best we could but in the end it wasn’t enough.
“Nonetheless, we hope to be more competitive tomorrow as we should be better than our rivals in terms of tyre degradation. A good strategy will be key, as it is a long race and we should recover a decent amount of places.”