Archive for February 29, 2012

“When Kimi talks, it is always something important”

Source: | Translation courtesy of reppo

Kimi Raikkonen is said to be tight-lipped. Lotus test driver Jerome d’Ambrosio confirms the claim.

“Yes, he does not talk much, but when he speaks, it is always something important. Otherwise he is a nice guy. First meeting went well.”

Grosjean: “Everything’s going well with Kimi”

Romain Grosjean is pleased that he has a good relationship with his Lotus teammate, 2007 Formula 1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen.

The Frenchman will make his return to Formula 1 after a stint with the Renault team in 2009, where he was teamed up with double world champion Fernando Alonso.

After missing the previous winter test in Barcelona because of a chassis problem, Grosjean will be back on track this week for the last two days of testing before the season opener in Melbourne.

“It’s going very well. We met in December at the factory, then during the tests in February. The idea is to work hand in hand with my teammate to develop the team in the best way possible. Kimi is a good asset,” said Grosjean to French website RMC Sport regarding his relationship with Raikkonen.

“He is still very good. He was F1 world champion in 2007 and he returns this year with Lotus. I hope we will do very good things this season. Is he also a competitor? There are 24 drivers on the grid, you have to beat 23 of them (laughs). Anyone who participates in a competition wants to win. An athlete who says he wants to go the Olympic games to be fifth is lying. Everybody wants to win. When you’re in the car, the idea is to beat everyone else,” added Grosjean.


Lotus optimistic chassis problems are now fixed


Technical Director James Allison reflects on an intense week for the team, and looks ahead to the upcoming test in Barcelona.

James, what happened to the E20 in Barcelona last week?

We arrived in Barcelona with a brand new chassis, the E20-02. We completed installation laps on Tuesday morning then Romain left the pits for his first run of the day. As soon as he touched the brakes before turn 1 on his first flying lap, he felt that something was wrong. He told us on the radio that he was aborting that run and returning straight to the pits.

What did you discover when the car got back to the garage?

We saw immediately that we had a problem with the mounting of the upper front wishbone rear arm.

What were your thoughts at that time?

We were using chassis 02 for the first time, so our initial reaction was to consider the possibility of a manufacturing issue affecting that particular chassis. We made the decision to take chassis 01 – which had run successfully in Jerez – from the UK to Barcelona. Before we sent it, we launched an investigation programme at Enstone to ensure there was no risk of a similar issue. Unfortunately, our investigations concluded that there was a possibility of the same problem reoccurring. We then decided, quite reluctantly, to cancel the test and make the necessary changes to both our chassis before running again.

How did the factory react?

It’s been an intense few days, but I have to say that everybody has completed their tasks in tremendous fashion. On the first day back at the factory, I spoke to the entire Enstone personnel and clearly explained what happened. Everybody understood that the situation was unfortunate, but under control. We designed the new parts, manufactured them, and fitted them to the chassis. We then completed the necessary tests satisfactorily and the chassis left for Spain.

Are you confident about the repair?


Does it mean that the chassis is now heavier than before?

Yes, but we’re only talking about 1kg, which is manageable. It won’t have any significant impact on handling or performance.

Did the chassis have to pass a new crash test?

No. It wasn’t necessary.

Which chassis will the team use this week?

We’ll use chassis 01 this week, while chassis 02 will be used as a spare from now on. We’re currently finishing chassis 03, with the new design implemented.

The team missed four days of testing. Is it a big setback?

Of course, missing four days of testing is not ideal. We need mileage at this stage of the year, as does any other team. That said, there are reasons to remain optimistic. First of all, we completed many trouble-free laps in Jerez and gained a good understanding of the car. Also, some of the small issues we identified in Jerez needed to be fixed, and the parts were not available last week. On Thursday, the car will run with all the required redesigned parts. We’re looking forward to being back on track.

Driver line-up confirmed for F1 test tomorrow


F1 teams have confirmed their driver line-up for the final test ahead of the new season.

The four-day test starts tomorrow at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.

Ten teams have confirmed they will be present with their 2012 F1 cars, including Lotus, who abandoned their running in last week’s test after discovering a problem with their E20 chassis.

Here is the full list of who will be driving:

Team Car Thurs 1st Fri 2nd Sat 3rd Sun 4th
Red Bull RB8 Mark Webber Sebastian Vettel Mark Webber Sebastian Vettel
McLaren MP4-27 Jenson Button Lewis Hamilton Jenson Button Lewis Hamilton
Ferrari F2012 Felipe Massa Fernando Alonso Felipe Massa Fernando Alonso
Mercedes W03 Nico Rosberg Michael Schumacher Nico Rosberg Michael Schumacher
Lotus E20 Romain Grosjean Romain Grosjean Kimi Raikkonen Kimi Raikkonen
Force India VJM05 Paul di Resta Nico Hulkenberg Paul di Resta Nico Hulkenberg
Sauber C31 Sergio Perez Kamui Kobayashi Sergio Perez Kamui Kobayashi
Toro Rosso STR7 Jean-Eric Vergne Jean-Eric Vergne Daniel Ricciardo Daniel Ricciardo
Williams FW34 Pastor Maldonado Bruno Senna/Pastor Maldonado Pastor Maldonado/Bruno Senna Bruno Senna
Caterham CT01 Heikki Kovalainen Heikki Kovalainen Vitaly Petrov Vitaly Petrov