Source: f1news.ru | Edited by KRS
Q: As far as we know your first experience of international performances in Russia – it was a long time ago when your career in motor racing was just beginning, and you were in karting competitions somewhere in St. Petersburg, which was then still called Leningrad. Do you remember those days?
KR: Yes, many years ago I did take part in winter kart race, and it was fun!
Q: Do you remember who else won, you or someone else?
KR: I do not remember. I did team competitions, and the cup of nations and individual races, but I do not remember the results…
Q: Let’s go back to the events of the more recent: How much difference is there to you between last year’s off-season and winter tests, which take place now?
KR: The difference, in fact, not so much: the team is the same, E21 can be compared with last year’s car, just that the tyres are slightly different. The only noticeable difference is that I know much better this team now.
Q: But it seems that this year, you are more confident of success?
KR: No, I have no more confidence than a year ago. I still do not know how things will develop, and what we can achieve. This will become clear only when to start the race. And it’s too early to judge.
Q: Last year your E20 was really fast on some tracks, but with others it coped worse. Now do you have a rough idea; waiting for a Lotus repetition of this situation, or the team have been able to solve last year’s weaknesses?
KR: I do not know. It is too early to say what will happen, because the tests do not run out. I hope everything will be fine, but if we are fast enough? This will become clear only during the races, but guess no special meaning.
Q: But you have repeatedly said that E21 produces quite a positive experience …
KR: Yeah, it’s true, the machine is good and fast, but then again, the question is, will it be enough?
Q: What can you say about the new Pirelli tyres? Indeed in Spain it was cold, and the race at Melbourne will take place at higher temperatures…
KR: With tyres about repeated situation last year, I do not think we can speak of a noticeable difference. We have another test session, and then we go to Australia for the first race of the season, where we should expect a very different weather conditions. And we just have to go all out to achieve the best result possible. The difficulties with the tyres are for all, but if we worry about it, but will not improve the situation. You just have to keep working.
Q: Many observers and riders of other teams believe that Lotus this year, probably is one of the favorites of the season. Do you agree with this opinion?
KR: I hope so. But all will become clear when the season starts, and we have a few races. Meanwhile, we have during the final test session to improve the reliability of the machine and try to pick up their speed.
Q: Do you feel fully prepared for the start of the season? Does this mean that you are willing to fight for victory right from Melbourne?
KR: I just as well prepared as a year ago. We will try to succeed immediately, but will it or not, I do not know.
Q: You are working with Mark Arnall, your physical trainer?
Q: How important is it for racing in Formula 1, to prepare for the season helped with a specialist, as Arnall?
KR: Some people like to work with a personal trainer, some – not. Someone has a personal trainer, someone do not have – all their preferences. Someone tries to prepare for the season and train yourself. We work with Mark for many years, from the time when I played for McLaren, we have a great relationship, he knows what I want to achieve, and he knows how to do it.
Q: Periodically renewed debate about the fact that in Formula 1, unlike other sports, there are no trainers, who would prepare pilots directly to the races. Do you think that this is really the problem?
KR: I have no such problem, but about others I don’t know and can not say.
Q: Last year, there was much debate about the manner of racing and overtaking ethics on the track during the race, as some participants of the world championships had serious concerns in this respect. This season in Formula 1 again came young inexperienced drivers: you is somewhat worried about?
KR: Probably not. Everyone knows that if you make a mistake, for it will have to pay a price. So it is better not to. Unfortunately, accidents do occur, and you find yourself in a difficult situation, even if your not at fault. But such are the race: on the road can happen, anything.
Q: Looking back on the experience of last season and the fact that the car has not changed too much, can we suppose, on what routes and in which races Lotus has the best chance of success?
KR: I don’t know! However, the new car, tyres – have also changed, so I’m not going to make forecasts. We will start the race – and then see what we can achieve. I also hope in the course of the season we will be able to upgrade E21 and increase its speed.
Videos of Race of Stars event: