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Inside Lotus, Interviews

Q&A: Eric Boullier – “We need to maintain momentum”

 

After another podium result, Team Principal Eric Boullier knows the key to a successful championship campaign is maintaining that all important momentum …

The team must be pretty upbeat heading to Bahrain?

We left Malaysia a little downcast after the high of Australia, so having Kimi back on the podium in Shanghai was the perfect antidote to that. There’s nothing like a Grand Prix podium to make you feel good.

What’s your evaluation of the race in China?

It was great result, but not a perfect one. Kimi showed once more why he’s one of the very best drivers in the world by being one of the fastest on track despite sustaining damage to his car. As a team we were able to give him a strong strategy allowing us to beat Lewis [Hamilton] and Mercedes in a close battle. Were it not for a poor getaway from the line at the start of the race and the damage caused by the incident with Sergio [Perez] he could have been fighting Fernando [Alonso] and Ferrrari for the win. That’s where we want to be. Romain had a more difficult day, but he scored points which is positive and we feel he’s reached a turning point now where things will start coming together.

Heading straight to Bahrain, can another strong result be achieved?

We’ve started the season with a strong car so there’s no reason why not. The Bahrain Grand Prix is just seven days after the Chinese race and we performed well there last year so we have everything on our side. However, you can never take anything for granted in this sport so we’ll be approaching Bahrain as we do any Grand Prix.

There has been a lot of talk about tyres again this season; is this a good thing?

As a sport we asked our tyre supplier, Pirelli, to provide us with tyres which encourage different strategies and adapting to this is part of the competition. We’ve seen some great racing so far this year and Pirelli can take some of the credit for this. We are all allocated the same tyres so it’s up to us as teams and the drivers in the cars to make the most of them.

Kimi seems to be at the top of his game at the moment, but Romain seems to be struggling a little?

Romain faces the very tough challenge of driving the same car as one of the most gifted driver around in Kimi; a driver with tremendous experience who returned to the sport last year and was very good straight away. If he was very good from the start of last season, Kimi’s been excellent from the start of 2013. He gives everything you want from a driver at every moment on track. This will be frustrating for Romain at times as it’s very, very difficult to beat the Kimi who arrives at the track this season, but it’s also a tremendous opportunity as he’s learning from the very best. If he can learn these lessons whilst bringing home points for the team, then he’s doing the job we want from him.

Can the team sustain its championship charge?

Once again, we’ve shown that we can fight for podiums, but nothing stands still in Formula 1 and the challenge is ongoing. Maintaining momentum is what we need to do, and we’ll leave no stone unturned in our quest to do this. Our competition is strong and they have a lot of resources at their disposal. We have to maintain the relentless pace over the course of all 19 races this season. Everyone at Enstone is up for this challenge and celebrate every success we see on track. We hope to celebrate many more.

– LOTUS F1 TEAM

About lotusproactive

Lotus proActive is an e-magazine published quarterly by Lotus Engineering, covering engineering articles, industry news and articles from within Group Lotus (Cars, Engineering, Originals and Racing).

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