What are the challenges of Abu Dhabi?
The first sector is generally medium speed with a couple of high speed corners and not too technically challenging; a reasonable level of downforce works fine here. The second sector is more power hungry with two good straights and two low speed corners – a low speed hairpin and a low speed chicane so it’s important to manage these well. The final sector is quite technical with a number of low and medium speed corners where the car needs to be well balanced and work well to achieve a good lap time. Putting all that together is key – you need a car that works well in low speed corners and be good in the long straights.
The team scored a notable win in Abu Dhabi a few years ago – what was the secret to that success?
The main key to that success was that we had a car that looked well after its tyres. A few things went on that worked in our favour for the outcome of that race – there were a couple of safety car periods, a few other cars dropped out and then the fact that our 2012 car was very kind on its tyres helped us to get into a good position at the start and ultimately win the race.
How would you rate the 2015 season?
I was pleased with the car in a lot of ways but disappointed in the amount of development. We made a good basic car that handled well and with which the drivers could extract the maximum from. Unfortunately we have not been able to put developments on it due to finances; we could have gone a lot further with it otherwise and that would have been very interesting to see.
What has been learnt with the E23 Hybrid?
We had learnt a lot of lessons in the first year of turbo engines, with the E22, and managed to implement lessons learnt to the E23. The 2015 car has always had a good baseline and we have learnt about the direction we want to go. We’ll try and take that forward to next year’s car.
How has the development programme of the E23 differed from more normal seasons?
It has felt a lot more restrictive. In a normal year we’d bring quite a few major upgrades whereas this year we brought fewer and more minor developments. This means that we had to be more selective in what we brought and we have been a bit more creative in the more minor upgrades.
What has Romain brought to the team over his time at Enstone?
Quite a lot I’d say. He’s talented and we have enjoyed having a driver with his pace at Enstone. He’s been good to work with and he has been strongly involved in what’s been happening in the team. It has been nice to have his enthusiasm and talent in the team.
What’s your review of the Brazilian Grand Prix?
I was a bit disappointed on Saturday afternoon because we had a car that worked pretty well in the practice sessions and then we had a terrible qualifying. Both drivers had good races and picked up a lot from their starting positions. Pastor did pretty well to score after having started 15th on the grid and Romain finished two places up the road. The pace of the car was pretty good and even though we could have done even better, we brought home five points and that’s what we really needed to do.
Note: Press release courtesy of Lotus F1.