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With the team's pre-season ambitions of fourth place in the Constructors' Championship all but secured, Team Principle Eric Boullier is readying the troops for an assault on breaching the top three as the final push for success continues...
How is the team looking as we enter the final phase of the season?Eric Boullier: I think if we look at the last two or three races objectively then we've had our difficulties, but we've also seen a clear step forward in terms of performance with the new exhaust system in Korea. The team did a brilliant job to bring such a significant upgrade to the race and make it work first time and there is still a lot more to come from this concept once we have had some more time to work with it. I think we should now be looking to push both cars into the top five during qualifying which will give us a much better chance of bringing home some good points in the fight for third place in the Constructors' Championship.
With just four races to go and a rapidly diminishing number of points available, how difficult will it be to target that third spot?EB: There's no denying it will be difficult. Having said that there are still four races left and four good opportunities to score points. The key will be to make sure we have good reliability from the E20 and our drivers, with both cars finishing solidly in the points every weekend.
There was a lot of attention on Romain in Korea; are you satisfied after his performance that we can draw a line under his recent troubles?EB: It's definitely time for us to draw the line and move on, but more importantly it's also time for Romain to put it in the past for himself. Despite a lot of pressure, he drove a good clean race in Korea and I fully believe he now understands what he needs to do to avoid these things in the future. Romain's target for the rest of the season is clear; to build on the platform he created in the last race and help the team push for maximum points in the last four races.
The sport made its first trip to India last year; what are your thoughts on this recent addition to the calendar?EB: India is a huge country with an economy which is going from strength to strength, so it's an important and exciting new market for the sport. It's also a welcome opportunity to learn more about the culture and tradition of a nation which is quite different to most places we visit in the season.
The team is currently in the unusual position of working on three cars simultaneously; what are the main challenges associated with this?EB: Obviously, our resources are not infinite so the biggest challenge is deciding how to split them in the best way. Any extra effort you put in to one project means there is less for another, so the task is to make sure we don't hurt our chances in the last four races, but are also in a strong position for next year and 2014, which is not an easy balance to find. This will be discussed a lot in the coming weeks and months as things can change very quickly, but so far the management team have done a very good job in keeping things under control.
With three sets of back to back races bringing this long season to an end, how difficult is it to keep the troops focused and motivated?EB: This is a challenging time of year for everyone, as with six Grands Prix in nine weeks the logistics of getting developments finished and fitted to the cars between races take a huge effort. Luckily, I can be completely honest when I say that our race team motivation is never a problem. The people we have at Enstone are not just highly professional, but also dedicated to what we all love to do; and that is to go racing!
Charged with marshalling resources at Enstone, Technical Director James Allison discusses the race in Korea, prospects for India, and looks at what's keeping him busy with four races of the 2012 season yet to go.
What are your conclusions after Korea?James Allison: We finished the race in our starting positions, which was solid if ultimately unspectacular. Kimi added more points to his tally and Romain achieved what we had asked of him by keeping his nose clean and bringing the car home to score valuable points for the team. We didn't set the world alight, but we got both cars home in the points and were notably more competitive than in recent races in terms of the gap to pole position. Furthermore, over the course of the weekend we managed a successful implementation of our Coanda exhaust system as well as reacting to a front tyre graining issue that is a feature of the Korean circuit.
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