“An English summer’s day is wonderful, but sometimes you have to look hard to find one!”
After his fightback through the field in Montréal went largely unnoticed thanks to a change to the planned strategy with an extra pit stop, Romain looks to Silverstone for redemption.
How do you like Silverstone?
It’s a fantastic track with a lot of high speed corners which should suit the E21; especially with the upgrade package we have for it. It’s a home race for myself and the team so we’re sure to have a lot of support. I won there in the GP2 Series in 2011, so I have to say I quite like it! I also scored points on my Silverstone Formula 1 debut so it’s a run of results I’d like to continue.
Why is Silverstone rated as one of the favourite circuits for many drivers?
Silverstone is challenging, but it has a good feel. It’s one of the quickest tracks of the year, with legendary corners like the Magotts, Becketts, Chapel complex. It’s quite a feeling going through there and I can’t wait to feel that sensation once more. It’s also a special Grand Prix for the team as the factory is very close to the track. It’s always nice to see not only the race team, but also some of the many people from the factory who come to see us in action. It’s thanks to all their hard work that we’re out on track and they are all doing an amazing job, always working so hard. I will be visiting them after the race and hopefully I will go there with some silverware to show them.
What is difficult about a Silverstone weekend?
Last year there was quite a bit of wet weather over the weekend; not that this was much of a surprise to the Englishmen I’ve spoken to! I live quite near to the track now and my experience of regularly visiting Enstone means that I know the weather can change quite a lot. An English summer’s day is wonderful, but sometimes you have to look hard to find one!
Was there much more that could have been done in Canada?
There’s not really much to tell. The second set of tyres really didn’t work for us in Montréal and if you can’t get them to work then you’re going to have a difficult race. We had a strong strategy planned and the first part of the race worked well. Once we got the medium tyre up to temperature at the start of the race I was able to make some good overtaking moves. This meant we were looking like taking a strong position in the points, which wouldn’t have been bad considering I started at the back of the grid. However, once we fitted the supersoft tyres it all went wrong. The set we used simply didn’t work for us and the tyres fell away after fewer than ten laps, which was a big surprise. After that, we could either try to fight a losing battle with shot tyres, or change to a new set – of mediums we decided – and see what we could do by pushing like it was qualifying. Even then we couldn’t get the last set working properly either, so it was a frustrating end to the race.
The next five races are all in Europe; does this make a difference?
There’s no jet-lag and you’re more likely to get a good night’s sleep, which is a good thing! The race meetings are shorter too, as you don’t lose the time traveling or getting used to a new time zone. We visit some great destinations over the next few races, with some very knowledgeable and enthusiastic fans. We hope we can put on a good show, with Lotus F1 Team right at the front of the battle.