Deputy Team Principal Federico Gastaldi looks back on Hockenheim and ahead to the Hungaroring.
How is the lay of the land after the weekend in Germany?
Federico Gastaldi: It was pleasing for Pastor to have a solid race and come home on the edge of the points at Hockenheim. After a tough qualifying he dug very deep and showed his racing instincts. For Romain it was very tough to have a cooling system failure, a very rare issue to have. He was unlucky because he had a good chance to collect some points to add to his tally. It was important to get to the end of the race and collect vital data on the E22 without its non-hydraulic connected suspension system. I can't say we are satisfied with the result because we aim to get rewarded for the effort and skill we put in to racing, but there will be days when we get those rewards I'm sure.
We confirmed over the weekend that Pastor has a long-term deal at Enstone.
FG: We were validating the deal we have with Pastor, confirming that we have a multi-year deal, reinforcing from both sides our commitment to each other; it's a renewal of vows after a tough honeymoon if you like! Myself and Gérard Lopez spent a lot of time with Pastor in Hockenheim, where we sat down and discussed the future which was all very positive. Pastor is very much part of the future at Enstone and it was a matter of routine for both parties to confirm that he has a multi-year deal and will be in one of our cockpits next season. We are very happy to confirm this in public, as is Pastor and his partners.
The situation with Pastor is clear but what about Romain at this stage?
FG: Romain has been part of the Lotus F1 Team family for many years, even since his GP2 days. Let's be honest. Romain as a top, top driver is not happy with the 2014 season and this is mirrored by everyone at the team of course. We cannot confirm anything just yet as the timing will be right when we are both comfortable to announce something. All I can say is that it's certainly the intention for Romain to stay at Enstone and continue what has been a great partnership and working relationship.
Hungaroring is the last race before the summer break. What will the team be focusing on during this enforced holiday?
FG: Well the technical aspects of the factory shut down but all the brain power does not! One thing I know about F1 people and especially ‘our people' is that they never stop thinking about F1 and how to improve things for the team. We remain ultra-focused on improving the package we have in 2014 and gathering more points for the team. The philosophy is to make the maximum of what we have in 2014, but of course at the same time we have already started on the car for 2015. We are always looking to the future whether it is short or long-term.
Just how much of that focus has shifted on to 2015?
FG: We have to take the lessons from this tough season and apply them to make sure it doesn't happen again. But we are only 50% of the way through 2014 now, so we are still highly committed to improving our World Championship position and to start scoring more points. We know that we have two very accomplished drivers that are always capable of scoring points, but we need to provide them with cars that can achieve that. Yes, the plans for next year are in motion and the technical teams are busy on that programme, but for the team it is important to make sure we score more points so we will be chasing everyone all the way until Abu Dhabi in November.
Technical Director Nick Chester reviews the team's performance in Germany, analyses the removal of hydraulically interlinked suspension before looking ahead to the Hungarian Grand Prix and beyond to 2015...
What's your view on the weekend in Hockenheim?
On the positive side it was a very good race for Pastor, going from nineteenth to twelfth. He drove faultlessly really. He looked after his tyres and we had very low tyre degradation - something of a Lotus F1 Team habit we are pleased to see returning. We didn't quite have the pace to beat Sergio Perez and Kimi Raikkonen, but we were close to it. If Pastor had a better qualifying he should easily have been in the points, but he drove a good race nonetheless.
How has it been adapting to the departure of hydraulically interlinked suspension?
NC: Difficult. I'm sure we struggled with our qualifying pace because of it. Our race pace was better, but maybe that was because we were looking after our tyres well. It's clear that we had a very developed FRIC or hydraulically linked suspension system, so we've got a lot more set-up work to do now to get the most out of the change.
What happened to Romain's car?
NC: It was a failure of the energy store cooling system, which initially resulted in a loss of power for Romain and then we had to switch everything off, meaning his race was over.
Should the tight, twisty nature of the Hungaroring suit the E22?
NC: It's always difficult to predict, but we are going to be running in maximum downforce configuration, which we prefer with this car. It seems to suit us more than low downforce tracks.
We are now past the midway point of the season, how does that change the development process?
NC: We'll obviously have a good go at getting points in Hungary and then after the summer break the development of this car will still continue. There will probably be one more sizeable package of new parts and then a series of smaller, simpler upgrades to bring fairly easy performance towards the end of the season. Looking further ahead, we are already well into the design of next year's car. It looks quite promising with some very distinctly different features from this year's car.
How much are we still learning about the new generation of F1 cars?
NC: There is still quite a lot. The changes to the aerodynamic regulations in particular have made development a little trickier. On the other hand we are reasonably on top of the energy management side now. There are always areas you can improve and things that you want to do. What are the main regulation changes for 2015? For the cars, the main changes will be to the nose and chassis regulations. Noses are set to take on a fairly standard, low design. A change to the skids underneath the floor is quite significant. It's drawn attention because of the sparks that will be generated by the car, but it will also mean that the car needs to run higher. That is another thing that will be a key factory in aero development. There is also a change to the power unit, with variable trumpets.
The pit crew had long days at Hockenheim working on the cars...
NC: This year's cars are so much more complicated than the previous generation cars. There are simply more parts to be built so they definitely take more time to work on. This is one element where we're building improvements into next year's car. It'll never be easier to work on than a normally aspirated V8-engined car without all the energy recovery systems that we have now, but certainly it will be a step forward in this regard.
How satisfied were you with the very fast pit stops?
NC: It's really satisfying. The crew did a fantastic job with the slowest of our race stops at 2.3 seconds and the fastest at 2.1 seconds. We haven't had an easy season, but it's a good illustration of how everyone is fully committed and pushing just as hard as if we were fighting for the title.