Lotus F1 Team principal Eric Boullier is looking forward to the Hungarian Grand Prix, hoping to repeat a result as in Germany. He also stated that one of the team's priorities at the moment is securing Raikkonen for 2014.
We’re approaching the half-way mark of the season; what are your thoughts on the team’s performance so far?
It’s clear that we’ve had some good weekends and some weekends which have fallen short of expectations. Our last outing in Germany clearly falls into the former camp and that’s the sort of weekend we want to have in the coming races to get our championship fight back on track. If we can continue that push and refine the car we should be well placed for the second half of the season.
Why was the E21 so effective in Germany when it hasn’t gone as well in the previous few races? I think the only place where the car hasn’t worked well is in Canada, which can be attributed to cooler temperatures and the energy that circuit puts through the tyres. Elsewhere, we’ve certainly had the potential for good results so there is no sense of panic. Germany showed what can happen when everything goes well and seeing both drivers on the podium – especially when both were fighting for the race win at different points of the race – was especially rewarding.
Talking of drivers, there’s a lot of discussion about the driver market at the moment… It’s clear that Lotus F1 Team is a desirable place to be and we know there’s been a lot of talk about Kimi’s future. We all know that Kimi is an individual and he will make his decision in his own time. Naturally, we want him to continue in the sport and continue with Lotus F1 Team so we’re doing everything we can do to make that happen. Romain did a fantastic job in Germany which showed he is capable of mixing it with the very best in the sport.
What are your feelings looking back on the German GP? It was a very good race from the team and one which validates all the hard work that has been going on back at Enstone. There’s been a lot of time and energy put into bringing upgrades to each race and getting the car back to the front after three difficult weekends, so it was very satisfying to see the result of all that hard work being rewarded.
How did you rate the team performance overall? The E21 worked very well and both Kimi and Romain drove superbly. We had a good strategy from the pit wall, some fantastic pit stops, and were it not for losing some time behind both Mercedes with Kimi and then the safety car with Romain it’s possible that we could have won.
How much of a boost is a result like that for the team? Being back on podium was exactly what we needed. We need to continue like this to make up for lost ground in both championships. It’s good to have this extra motivation for a strong race in Budapest before the summer break.
How much use was the Silverstone test? It was good for us to get some mileage in lovely conditions at Silverstone. We were able to utilise Nico [Prost] and Davide [Valsecchi] to run the type of programme we haven’t been able to implement over the past few seasons where the Young Driver Test occurred at the end of the year. We did intend to run Kimi, but when the limitations on what race drivers could do in their testing for Pirelli became evident, it made more sense to be able to run a normal test programme with Nico.
What effect do you think the latest tyre specifications will have? Budapest will be the real test, but we’re confident we have enough data to say that there shouldn’t be any nasty surprises. We performed well in Hungary last year and we’re eager to do the same again this season too.