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Eric Boullier Q&A: Lotus hungry for success 25 Jul 2012

Eric Boullier (FRA) Lotus F1 Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 26 May 2012 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Race, Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, 22 July 2012 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 on the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Race, Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, 22 July 2012 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 and Eric Boullier (FRA) Lotus F1 Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Practice, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday, 20 July 2012 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hockenheim, Germany, Saturday, 21 July 2012 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hockenheim, Germany, Saturday, 21 July 2012 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hockenheim, Germany, Saturday, 21 July 2012

Lotus may have lost their hard-earned third place in the constructors’ standings last weekend in Germany, but they are far from disheartened. Widely acknowledged in the paddock as having one of the fastest cars on the 2012 grid - and having already scored twice the number of points they earned during the whole of last year - the team have plenty of reasons to be cheerful as they approach the summer break. Team principal Eric Boullier discusses their progress, reflects on what they need to do to clinch victory and explains why their achievements so far this year have left him wanting more…

Q: The team have fallen from third position in the constructors’ championship. Can this be regained in the second half of the year?
Eric Boullier:
It’s obviously disappointing to lose third place, but it’s very, very tight and we’ve built a gap over the fifth-placed team. However, we are hungry for success and we do want more. If we can keep bringing the developments and updates we have been planning and make them work on track then I think we should be able to defend our current position. I am not sure about third or fourth by the end of the year, as everything is very close, but I am pretty convinced that we will be in the fight for one of the prime places in the constructors’ championship.

Q: How do you rate the team’s performance in Germany?
EB:
We saw a great recovery from Kimi (Raikkonen) after a difficult qualifying session. He put in a very strong and experienced drive coupled with a good strategy from the team. Starting in tenth and 19th positions we were always going to have our work cut out, so it was good to see Kimi score big points again and display strong race pace. Going forwards, it’s clear what we need to do for better results. Anyone who watches Formula One can tell us this. We need to do better in qualifying. It’s clear that if we want to win the races we have to be top four or five on the grid.

Q: It was one of Romain Grosjean’s difficult weekends - he seems to be either hot or cold in terms of his race performances?
EB:
We have all seen him have very good weekends, but we have also seen weekends where the results have not been as Romain or anyone in the team would have wanted. This means we need to ensure that he has solid weekends even when circumstances are against him, such as starting from the back of the grid. He’s still learning. It’s only his first full year. But as we all know he can do very well and we are working with him to ensure that he always puts in a solid drive. This includes making it through the first lap which is obviously very important.

Q: Qualifying was difficult for the team with a lack of pace in wet conditions - something we’ve not seen before?
EB:
We have not really seen that before, and hopefully we won’t see it again! We need to look in detail at what happened. The temperature was very low and the rain showers were short and intense. We are looking into it and will fix it if it happens again.

Q: The driver line-up was seen as something of a brave move by the team. How do you assess Raikkonen and Grosjean in their half term report cards?
EB:
I don’t see much of a downside to Kimi to be honest. He came back to his speed level very quickly and I would not be surprised if he wins very soon. Romain is still building himself up. Even if he did seven races two years ago, he never had a real chance to blossom, so for me he is still very much in his first year. He is making mistakes - of course - because he is a youngster. But the good news is that he never repeats a mistake! He is learning, listening and getting stronger with every race.

Q: What do you want to achieve from the next ten races?
EB:
On paper I would say with the experience we have learnt from the first ten races, we should be able to score more points in the second half of the year, which will be very good for our championship battle.

Q: How much happier are you at the half way mark of the season compared to this time last year?
EB:
Significantly; if I had to take a number, let’s say 1000 per cent!

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