After the first points of the season in the Spanish Grand Prix and a positive test afterwards, Deputy Team Principal Federico Gastaldi is buoyed-up heading to Monaco.
What does Monaco mean to you and the team?
Federico Gastaldi: For me and for everyone in the team it means a very busy week. Monaco is so unique and distinct; you really have to be there to understand it. Even then, after over 20 years in this business I'm not sure I truly understand Monaco! The track is such a challenge for the drivers and the engineers, and the barriers are so close to punish even the slightest mistake. The schedule over the week is different, with no F1 track sessions on the Friday, so it is unique in that respect. The amount of events and sponsor activities is quite something but we relish it because we like to over deliver for our partners and make them feel part of this special event.
Saxo Bank is on the sidepods in Monaco. How is that partnership developing?
FG: Their name looks good there! We are delighted to take our relationship with Saxo Bank to the next level. Both Lotus F1 Team and Saxo Bank share a similar outlook and ethos. We enjoy taking on the more established players, so the backdrop of the Monaco Grand Prix is an excellent place for their brand to be seen in front of an exceptional worldwide audience. It is no secret that as a team we have had a tough start to our season, but this additional support from Saxo Bank is a strong endorsement of all the progress we are making.
How satisfying was it to get the first points on board for the team in Spain?
FG: It was satisfying, but nevertheless it was a little frustrating too, as we knew that there was the potential for more. For everyone it the team, whether at the track or at Enstone, it was a reward for all the effort put in after such a difficult start to the year.
The post-race test looked pretty promising too?
FG: Yes, it was promising as we had reliable running and were able to set good times over the course of many laps. It was good for Charles Pic to get some time in the car and he performed very well. It was a highly beneficial day for Pastor too as he completed over 100 laps with the E22 performing as it should. We won't get carried away as it was just two days testing and we know we have lots of work still to do, but it was extremely motivating for everyone to see our car performing reliably and rapidly.
Has the team re-calibrated any targets for 2014 now points are on the board?
FG: No. We are the last team in the paddock that will ever get carried away. Barcelona is over now and we only look forward. Our only targets are to continue the upward curve in performance and reliability and to ensure we are in the best position possible to score points. We want to get back to where we were in 2012 and 2013, which is challenging consistently at the front of the field. We are very pleased that we held 5th place on merit for many laps at Barcelona. That is where we should have been at the end of the race but it wasn't to be. What it does is feeds us with more desire and motivation to get back amongst the top teams.
Were you impressed with the job Charles Pic did in testing last week?
FG: Yes I was. Charles put in very good and accomplished performance indeed. We expected that, because he has two seasons of racing in F1 under his belt and he enjoys working through programs with the engineering team. Charles is very determined and focused meaning that if he was ever called upon he would be 'plug in and play'. He is a great and committed member of Lotus F1 Team.
If you had one final chip at the Monaco Casino where would you place us for a race finish next weekend?
FG: I'm not a betting man and I have been to enough Monaco Grands Prix to know that anything can happen there... and it usually does. Of course the cars should be really spectacular there with the added torque this year and it will be easy for the drivers to make mistakes. This could bite us or it could help us because overtaking is so difficult. We are cautiously optimistic to add to our points tally next weekend but I have to decline a bet on this occasion though!