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Lotus: 2013 Spanish Grand Prix preview quotes

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Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus
2012 Qualifying – 5th, 2012 Race – 3rd

“I have won twice in Barcelona and I was on the podium there last year too, so I really look forward to going there again; hopefully to end the weekend with another good result. It’s a circuit where you have to get everything exactly right to be at the top.

All the teams have tested many times at this circuit, so to get an advantage there is not very easy. The set-up is crucial as the track changes with the wind and temperature so there’s plenty of work for the engineers too. I really like racing in Europe. We don’t have to travel that far so all your energy is saved for the weekend itself. Traditionally the real season starts when coming back to Europe. For me, it’s great.”

Romain Grosjean, Lotus
2012 Qualifying – 4th, 2012 Race – 4th

“Everyone knows Barcelona very well from testing. The first four corners which make up the first sector are pretty fast, then there’s the slow final sector with between turns 10-15. Out of turn 15 you need a good rear end of the car with strong traction. It’s important not to overheat your rear tyres and managing degradation will be important – even with the harder tyres which are now allocated – as when you reach high degradation levels on your tyres you are nowhere on lap time. Tyre management will still be the key area for a good performance in the race. In Barcelona it will be important to qualify well as it will be much harder to overtake than in Bahrain. As a team, this is an area where we can still improve a little bit, but we have some ideas of how to do that and hopefully we’ll be able to make the front row.”

Eric Boullier, Lotus team principal
“We always want to win and our podium successes this year seem to have made us all the more hungry to taste the champagne. We know we are facing other equally competitive teams and only one team and driver get to stand on that top step at each race. Of course, it would be fantastic to start our European season with a win. We have a strong development programme for the E21 and I’m confident we can continue to improve it through the year, just as we did with the E20 before it. Most teams tend to bring a fairly major upgrade package to the first European race of the season and we’ll be no exception. I’m very pleased with how the development of the this car is progressing and I think there’s plenty more to come from us.”

James Allison, Lotus technical director
“Barcelona is similar in many regards to Bahrain; it’s hard on the tyres with some challenging fast stuff thrown in. It’s not so obviously rear-limited as Bahrain, but is nevertheless a circuit that challenges the tyres which has been a strength of the E21 thus far. That said, the start of the so-called European season – where many teams unleash a raft of their latest upgrades – could shake up the order somewhat. What do we have in the upgrade cupboard for Catalunya? Nothing revolutionary, but plenty which should help us go faster. We have new front wing endplate detailing, new aero around the rear drums, modifications to the diffuser and a different top rear wing so there’s plenty to help keep us in the hunt. Spain is certain to be cooler than Bahrain, but it’s not that dissimilar. It’s a circuit where the outcome of the race isn’t only determined by whether you’re on pole position, but rather by a combination of how far up the grid you are, how good your car is on race pace, how you manage the tyres and your race strategy. In pre-season we did one of the best race simulation runs at the final Barcelona test. But it’s always difficult to tell what everyone’s doing in testing and that was a good few months ago now. The familiarity (of the track) means you’re not hunting around for things like ride heights, weight distributions, aero balance or roll stiffness as you know roughly where you want to be and it’s a matter of fine tuning rather than finding your feet from scratch. That said, we know all of the circuits pretty well…”


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