“Everything’s going to plan for a strong end to the year”
After another positive performance in Japan, Team Principal Eric Boullier reckons Lotus F1 Team is on target for a strong end to the season.
Everything seems to be looking good for the team in terms of on-track performance at the moment?
We’ve certainly been delivering well on track at the last few races, so there’s some good positivity coming out of Enstone looking to the remaining four races of the year. We did see a little dip in performance at the final two European races of the year leaving us with some ground to make up in both Championships, but certainly we look to be well placed relative to our opposition.
How satisfying was it to see an Enstone car leading for half of the Japanese Grand Prix?
It was particularly satisfying. As Team Principal you are aware of all the work that goes on behind the scenes to try to make your car faster than the opposition. It’s a relentless battle, so for everyone at Enstone it was a great sight to see one of our cars leading for so much of that race. For Romain himself it was a fantastic performance. It’s no secret that he hasn’t always had the easiest time of it as a Formula 1 driver, but it’s clear to see how much his approach has matured this year and the results of this can be seen in how he is delivering on track. It’s great to have both drivers delivering so well with a car which is one of the best on the grid.
Is the team any closer to making an announcement regarding 2014 driver line-up?
There are no announcements yet but there is plenty going on behind the scenes. We know that Kimi is headed elsewhere for next season, but we also know that Romain would bring good continuity as well as the strong performance potential we’ve seen recently. There are a number of other good drivers on the market at the moment, so we’re in a strong position of being able to assess the possibilities. A race seat with Lotus F1 Team is pretty hot property at the moment, so we’re confident we’ll have a strong line-up in 2014.
There’s been a lot of talk regarding the team’s finances recently…
There has been a lot of talk, and there are a lot of positive things happening behind the scenes. We’ll certainly be shouting from the rooftops when everything is finalised as we should be exceptionally well placed looking to the future.
How strong is the team’s technical strength looking to 2014?
It’s true we’ve had a few people leave in 2013, but we’ve also been recruiting ourselves. There’s been quite a lot of movement recently; not just within Enstone, but between other teams too. It’s part of the sport and always has been. The strength of our technical department can be seen by the successful introduction of the long wheelbase E21. This change was driven by a new approach to how we develop the car and it’s been a valuable proof of concept as we look to develop next year’s model. I’m confident we can continue our recent run of form and improvement next year.
What’s the aim for the remaining races this season?
Podiums, podiums and podiums; we need points to help us with our Championship fight and you score the most points when you’re spraying the champagne! Of course, we want to be winning races and we’ll give our all whenever there is a sniff of victory, just like in Japan. There’s one fundamental problem with trying to win at the moment, and that’s the pace of the Red Bulls. We’ll keep pushing and if we can beat them again this year it would be a tremendous performance.
What is possible in the Constructors’ Championship?
If we continue as we have done for the last few races, then mathematically second in the standings becomes a very attainable target. Of course, we all know that anything can happen in this sport, but second place would be an amazing result so we’ll push as hard as we can and you never know what might happen.