Site logo

Gastaldi and Chester look ahead to Australia


Deputy Team Principal Federico Gastaldi explains the team's resilient focus for fight back to where it belongs.

How would you describe the team on the cusp of the start of the season?
Federico Gastaldi: We're eager and excited. The Australian Grand Prix represents the start of a new era for us as we embark on a new journey with Mercedes as a partner. We've seen positive things through pre-season testing so we can't wait to be tested in the heat of competition. We have a dedicated team at Enstone who have been working very hard to put the challenges of last year behind us and they've created an exciting new car in the E23 Hybrid. We have two race drivers who are very motivated to perform and a great set-up and infrastructure which has enjoyed considerable success in the past. We're ready to be fighting for points at every turn.

Has the pre-season gone to plan?
FG: We've been very pleased with progress. We did miss one day of pre-season testing but once the car hit the track it's proved reliable and has plenty of potential. Both Romain and Pastor have said they are very happy with the way the car feels and this is crucial for our drivers to be able to deliver their best performance.

What are your expectations for the first race of the year?
FG: I think it's going to be very exciting and I know that we'll be fighting for every opportunity. The Australian Grand Prix is a great event, superbly organised, and one which always provides a great spectacle. Melbourne is a fabulous city with warm and welcoming people, so it's a wonderful place to start the season. In terms of the team performance, we know the package we have, but once we're in Australia we'll be able to see how much performance our opposition has too. I don't think anyone expects to start the season able to beat the reigning champions, but we expect to be fighting hard in the chasing pack!

What's the vibe of the team heading to Melbourne?
FG: We're ready to surprise a few people and show everyone what we can do. We had a somewhat quiet season in terms of results last year, so 2015 is all about getting back to strong results. There's a strong determination at Enstone and we're ready to remind everyone of our potential.

How determined are Romain and Pastor?
FG: It's going to be great to watch our driver pairing this season. It's Romain's fourth full season with the team and Pastor's second season. Both drivers really want to be at the thick end of the action and you can see they've both spend their off-seasons training and working hard. In testing it was fantastic to see them both in the car plying their trade once more with smiles from both of them. It's clear that this year's car is much better than last year's and that certainly helps our drivers to do their jobs.

Talking of drivers doing their jobs, what will be the roles of Jolyon and Carmen at Grands Prix?
FG: Jolyon is our Third and Reserve Driver so he'll be very closely shadowing our race drivers and attending all meetings and briefings so he understands every detail of the race weekend and is ready to stand-in if either of out race drivers can't race for whatever reason. He will also be running in FP1 sessions later in the year so he needs to be completely up to speed. Carmen's role sees her going through a development driver programme which means she will attend meetings and work with the team over the weekend to help her understanding of everything required of a Formula 1 driver.

What do you want to see from the team in the first race of the season?
FG: Points would be great! Certainly this is our aim from every race this year. Albert Park can be a difficult mistress as it's a non-permanent race track and the Melbourne weather can always play tricks on you, but we want to run reliably and show strong pace across the weekend. If I see that and we open our points account I'll consider that a good start to a new era for Enstone.

For the second season of the current generation of car regulations and first season for Lotus with Mercedes power, Technical Director Nick Chester explains the optimism from the team.

How well prepared is Lotus F1 Team heading to Albert Park?
Nick Chester: We're cautiously optimistic. We have what looks to be a solid car, we've got the same power unit as the reigning champions - so we know its potential - and we've got every opportunity to start the season well.

What have we learnt from the E23 Hybrid in pre-season testing?
NC: We know that the power unit is a big step forward. It has strong performance and response and it's extremely reliable; we've only used one unit throughout testing. The chassis is also a step forward as the drivers can get a lot more from it and it's easier to drive on the limit as well as being more predictable. We have a great platform from which to develop.

Where have developments with the chassis been focused?
NC: We spent some of the pre-season testing exploring the E23's suspension geometry and it has a lot of effect on the balance of the car in the middle of the slow speed corners. We're also making the car less sensitive for the drivers so it's easier to extract performance.

What are the targets for this season and how do you see the team performing relative to the opposition?
NC: Certainly we want to be fighting regularly in the top ten. It's fair to say it's going to be very difficult for any team to regularly take the battle to the reigning champions as they were so far ahead of the opposition last year - and they are unlikely to have forgotten what made them fast - but there are still good opportunities. There's likely to be a good chasing pack, and we expect to be right in the mix with this. We should progress and develop well through the year as we further understand the opportunities offered by the Mercedes power unit.

What are the main differences between this year's car and its predecessor?
NC: Basically, the power units different, the front of the car's different and the rear of the car's different - so pretty much all of the car! In terms of the power unit, Its installation is compact and efficient which gives us some benefits, such as the way we've organised our cooling system. This, in turn, gives benefits for the packaging at the rear of the car and therefore some aerodynamic benefits. The front of the car is different because of the change in regulations and the air flow at the front of the car obviously has an impact on everything downstream.

Will the car look any different in Melbourne from its appearance in Barcelona?
NC: There will be a few small changes, but nothing drastic. There were new parts coming through testing and we know our preferred options for aero components after working on all the data generated. We expect to bring further new parts from Malaysia onwards.

Pastor had an issue with a braking-related system on the final day of testing - have you got to the bottom of that?
NC: It was something pretty simple and relatively easily diagnosed - basically contamination in a valve affected how the braking system worked. Now we've identified this as an issue, we have taken steps to ensure a similar problem doesn't happen in the future.

How would you summarise our start of the year?
NC: We're a country mile ahead of where we were this time last year. Our car's run reliably and the transition to a new power unit supplier has been as seamless as you could wish for. It's difficult - just as at the start of any season - to say exactly where we stand relative to our opposition, but we'll have a clearer picture once the first few races have taken place.


more news >



galleries >

  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images


or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment



No comments posted as yet, would you like to be the first to have your say?

Share this page


Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2024. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms