Allison hopeful Lotus will prosper at Silverstone
As the season fast approaches its halfway point, so Lotus F1 Team are maintaining their early year promise, having already scored comfortably more points than attained in the entire 2011 season. The team's technical director James Allison discusses the current state of affairs in a Q+A session.
Why does the E20 seem to go so well when it’s hot?
Tyres have a certain window in which they work; get them too cold and they don’t grip, get them too hot and they don’t grip. There’s a reasonably wide band in the middle where they work well. It seems like the E20 generates a little less heat in the tyres than some of our opponents’ cars, meaning we can live with on a hotter track when some of our competitors are starting to move out of the tyre window. The downside of this comes when we have a cold track Ð or after a safety car. Fortunately, most of the races are contested in summer conditions where you are trying to keep temperatures down rather than having to worry about generating heat, so we’ve probably got it the better way around – even if it can be a bit frustrating at times.
Silverstone isn’t necessarily one of the hottest locales we visit. Could this be an issue?
The track itself will put plenty of energy through the tyres thanks to its layout of high speed corners and the abrasion of its surface. While we would be delighted if the UK managed one of its occasional heat waves, there’s certainly potential for the surface temperature to be cooler than Valencia. Low track temperatures would only cause us grief in qualifying, and if we can manage that ourselves rather than needing the track to heat up our tyres then it will be okay.
Are there many new parts for Silverstone?
The updates we used in Valencia went reasonably well. We had three or four bits that certainly improved matters and a couple of parts we’re still looking to improve. For Silverstone there are some additional tweaks on the car which only those with the very keenest eyes would notice, but we’re hoping they are a step in the right direction.
How should Silverstone suit the E20?
It’s the first track for a while with challenging high speed corners. Things went reasonably well for us in Mugello, Barcelona, Sepang and Melbourne, so we’re quite hopeful that the E20 will prosper.
We arrive at Silverstone after a European Grand Prix of mixed emotions…
I guess it is a nice problem to have to come away from a race feeling somewhat deflated after having achieved a second place. However, we could have done better. Up until Romain’s car retired, we were in the glorious position of being the only team to have both cars able to gain a big points haul, which would have been fantastic in Constructors’ Championship terms. It was a shame not to capitalise on that. However, both our cars were running strongly, so it’s another track where the E20 has been pretty reasonable and we can be happy about that.
What went wrong with Romain’s car?
Put simply, the alternator failed. This meant the electrical supply to the engine and ancillary systems ceased and so the car stopped moving. One of the really good things about working with Renault Sport is that they feel the pain of something like this just as keenly as we do. At Enstone we are doing all that we can to assist with the resolution of this problem, but we know that Viry will leave no stone unturned in bringing a good solution to the next race.