The Lotus F1 Team arrive at Shanghai for the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend looking to score their first points of the 2015 Formula 1 Season. Romain Grosjean finished eleventh last time out in Malaysia for the team’s first finish of the year, but Pastor Maldonado was forced to retire.
Grosjean is hoping 2015 at the circuit he scored his first ever points in Formula 1 back in 2012 is good for both him and his team. He believes the layout of the track makes it hard to predict results in China but hopes he will be able to have a good weekend.
“I scored my first Formula 1 points at Shanghai in 2012 and scored points again in 2013 so let’s hope that’s a good omen,” said Grosjean. “Certainly, we’re better placed than when we last visited the track.
“It’s quite a particular circuit where it is not always easy to find the right set-up and the temperature can also be cold. You never know what to expect, except that there will be a monster traffic jam to get to the circuit!
“Shanghai is always quite a particular race track so it’s quite difficult to predict. It’s often pretty cold and the front is the limitation of the car as you look to avoid understeer. I think we have a lot of tools at our disposal to try to make our car work well and I’m sure we’ll have a good race.
“We’ve seen that China can be pretty cold and drizzly in the past and you don’t get to see the sun there too many times. The weather’s the same for everyone and you’re not thinking about it too much when you’re in the car; you’re just thinking about how to go faster.”
Team-mate Maldonado believes Lotus should be strong in China, especially down the long back straight that should play into the hands of its Mercedes power unit.
“Shanghai is a very technical circuit with one of the longest straights of the season so it will be good to see how high a top speed we can get as we’ve been pretty strong through the speed traps so far this season,” said Maldonado.
“There is a mix of fast and medium speed corners where we need good downforce and overall it is a challenging track which I like, so I’m looking forward to racing there.”
After two races so far that Maldonado has had issues at the first corner – he was spun into the barriers in Australia and received a puncture in Malaysia – the Venezuelan is hoping for a clean start to the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend.
“The first corner of a Grand Prix is always thrilling as you have to balance the opportunities to make up places with the risk of losing them,” insisted Maldonado. “Certainly in the first two races this season I’ve been the victim of other drivers’ incidents and that’s racing sometimes.
“The first corners in Shanghai are quite interesting as you’ve got a decent run down to the right-hander that is turn one, but that flows straight into the tightening turn two so it can get pretty busy!”
Maldonado believes the team should be able to fight for a good result in China having been in contention for top ten qualifying positions in the previous two races in Australia and Malaysia, and despite having failed to score points so far, he is confident that will change this weekend.
“I think we should be in a similar position to that we’ve been in for the first and second race, so fighting for the top ten in qualifying and then in the race,” said Maldonado. “Let’s see what the track conditions are like, the weather, how the car feels and how good a set-up we can get. I’m confident we should be fighting for good places.”