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2015 F1

Lotus F1: US Grand Prix preview

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Lotus F1 - 2015 US Grand Prix preview

Lotus F1 – 2015 US Grand Prix preview

Romain Grosjean: “At the moment, the part of America I know the most is Austin for the Grand Prix, and it’s a place that I – and I know, my crew, as well – really like to visit. Of course, the USA is such a big place which I would love to explore more and I’m going to get that wish fulfilled pretty soon!

“What do I think of the Circuit of The Americas? It looks great and the first time I walked around it in 2012 I thought wow! The gradient up to turn one is really something and it makes for a fun first corner when you’re in the car. It’s a really well-presented facility with an interesting circuit layout. It’s great to be at a race where the local character is very evident and that’s certainly the case in Austin, with the fan reception and the American way of presenting events.

“It’s quite a balanced circuit in that you don’t need one particular thing over another for the car to perform well. In the first year the challenge was finding the level of grip we want and we did see the same for the past two races too. Every year so far the race has taken place a little earlier, and that’s good as it generally means warmer weather. This is good for many reasons, but wearing my race driving hat it’s good as it helps with tyre warm-up and grip. Grip is something we’ve struggled with in
Austin in the past, so a warmer circuit with a bit more aged track surface should help with that.”

Pastor Maldonado: “Austin is a great track, it’s a challenging layout which is refreshing to drive and it’s an enjoyable event. The first turn is quite something with its very steep climb and the rest of the lap flows well. The atmosphere at the circuit is really special, even for the first time we visited. It’s great to see the RVs at the side of the track and people staying at the circuit to enjoy the full weekend. The circuit can be a difficult one for tyres. The event is taking place earlier in the year this season so hopefully there’s plenty of sun to burn off any morning fog! Certainly, there can be a variety with the weather and in the past we’ve seen it be quite cold at the start of the day.

“I think Austin offers us a good opportunity. The circuit shouldn’t pose any particular problems as long as we can get the tyres working as we want. The E23 is a car that generally works well so we have a good baseline to start with. At this point of the year we’re pretty on top of things like set-up and getting the most out of the car so it’s a case of getting the laps and simulations done in practice, qualifying as well as possible then targeting points in the race.

“[Austin is] a really fantastic location with a lot to do. It’s certainly the type of city I’d like to visit even if there wasn’t a race there! It’s a really lively place with a lot going on. Great food, great music and great people are three things I think about when we go to Austin. The fans are superb too. It’s only the fourth time we will visit Austin, but already it’s one event on the calendar that we really look forward to visiting.”

Federico Gastaldi, deputy team principal

“It’s fair to say that myself, the team and pretty much everyone in Formula 1 – at least those I speak to – reckon that Austin is a highlight on the calendar. We arrive to a great welcome and experience a fantastic event with superb support from all the fans. It’s good for Formula 1 to be building its presence in the US as it is a great marketplace for us to be. We’ve also experienced some exciting racing at the Circuit of The Americas. All in all, there’s nothing not to like.”

Nick Chester, technical director

“The circuit has quite an interesting layout with a high speed sector one that has an interesting combination of high-speed corners. Towards the end of the lap there are more slow-speed corners and there is a reasonable back straight. It’s a track that is quite mixed; it is a good technical circuit and one that the drivers like.

“The downforce levels are medium to high. We won’t be using maximum downforce as it would slow us down in the first sector and on the back straight. Regarding the tyres, we will have the medium and soft Pirelli compounds in Austin. The wear will be pretty standard – the tarmac is still relatively smooth – and we are probably expecting a race with two stops but no extreme tyrewear.

“The E23 should go quite well in Austin. It has proved to perform at most tracks and I think that again it should suit the Circuit of The Americas quite well. Hopefully we can qualify in the top 10 and score a good haul of points.”

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