Eric Boullier Q&A: Lotus looking 'very promising' 24 Aug 2012
A strong end to the first half of the season - both Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean were on the podium in Hungary - means that all eyes will be on Lotus for the start of the second part of the year in Belgium next weekend. Currently third in the standings, a single point behind McLaren, just how much can 2012s dark horses achieve in the final nine races? Team principal Eric Boullier answers the questions...
Q: Eleven races completed, nine to go and a fast car to compete with; things look pretty good for Lotus F1 Team?
Eric Boullier: I think we can all be satisfied with what weve achieved in the first half of the season; especially coming off the back of a difficult 2011. Its a testament to the skill and determination of everyone at Enstone that weve produced a great car which seems to be getting better as the season progresses and we hope this continues. That said, I cant ignore the points weve lost in a lot of different ways and there is a big margin for improvement through the rest of the year.
Q: Does the lack of a win - despite so many points having been accumulated - rankle with the team?
EB: A win would be nice, theres no doubt about that. Being there or thereabouts at so many different circuits however is very good in championship terms and certainly better than a one-off win. Of course, we continue to push to make the car faster. We were in a very good position in Budapest where we finished in second and third; had it been a circuit with more overtaking opportunities then the top step would have been a possibility.
Q: Do you think the teams qualifying performance has improved sufficiently?
EB: You can never have too much improvement in Formula One, but it is fair to say weve made good steps in the right direction. Both cars were in the top five in Budapest. If we can produce just a slightly better performance for the rest of the season then we will be in a position to fight for the win.
Q: How is everything behind the scenes for the team?
EB: Its looking very promising. We used the summer shutdown to perform a comprehensive maintenance and upgrade programme at the factory. This involved the upgrading of a number of production machines and was no small investment. Weve also made more investments in our wind tunnel and a new gearbox dyno facility is being built. These are all substantial developments to improve our performance potential and position ourselves as one of the very best teams in this highly competitive sport.
Q: Have the teams expectations changed?
EB: Our target is the same; to be better than last year. However, if we continue to show strong pace at every race then maybe we will revise our ambitions!
Q: Both drivers seem to be attracting attention from other teams
EB: I can understand why other teams would be interested! Both Kimi and Romain are performing very well this season. For Kimi, its like hes never been away. Romain is a natural talent, and improving at a very rapid rate. Its great to see the interest from other teams, but to be honest theyre probably wasting their time. There is no reason for Kimi or Romain to leave and I think they will both enjoy very successful futures with us.
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