Lotus F1 Team endured a difficult Belgian Grand Prix, with brake failure leading to the retirement of Kimi Räikkönen whilst Romain Grosjean employed a one-stop strategy to finish eighth.
Kimi’s DNF was the first of his Lotus F1 Team career and his first retirement in 39 races. It was his first non-points finish in 28 races and only his second non-points finish since driving for the team.
Kimi Räikkönen, DNF, E21-03: “I had a brake failure so there was really no point in trying to continue. We both got good starts off the line but there wasn’t enough space into the first corner where I went over the kerb and lost some time, but after that I was pushing as hard as I could. There were some brake issues at the beginning of the race but we were managing them and it was going okay until we had to retire. We’ve finished a lot of races and had some good reliability; one day your luck has to run out and today was that day.”
Romain Grosjean, P8, E21-02: “We had a difficult first lap where we lost a few positions and then dropped back a couple more places in the incident with Sergio [Perez]. We decided on a one stop strategy today and with the new tyres I felt that the grip was much higher than before but I knew that it would be difficult to get the time back. We tried something different and you never know; had it rained in the middle of the race we could have been well-placed to take advantage. It is good to finish the race without any mistakes, even if eighth place isn’t what we were hoping for this weekend; it’s also a shame that Kimi didn’t finish the race, but we go to Monza hopeful of better things.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "It was a disappointing weekend, with qualifying not as good as we had expected and then a difficult first lap in the race. Kimi suffered from a brake failure which, of course, is a concern. We already believe we know why it happened and we will investigate this in detail to prevent the situation arising again. Romain finished eighth which clearly isn’t the sort of position we hope for at the end of a race weekend. Today we lost some pace and part of that might be due to the low temperatures. We must now look ahead, learn from this weekend and make sure that next year we can deliver on a medium downforce track.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “It was a difficult race for us. We didn’t have the pace in qualifying yesterday and didn’t seem to have the pace today. We had a difficult first lap where we lost a few places and found ourselves sat behind slower cars. After that it was difficult to make up any ground. Unfortunately Kimi retired from the race with a front brake failure which we are now investigating. Romain was on a one stop strategy which was the right thing to do today. We look forward to starting again in Monza where we will bring new developments to the car can hopefully have a better weekend.”
Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader: “Spa is traditionally very hard on engines, with long sections at full throttle, changes of altitude and compressions putting the engines under pressure. The RS27 has performed well all weekend and we were hopeful of a better result. The starting positions put us down in the pack and despite Romain’s efforts we could not make up any places. It’s a shame for Kimi but at least we come away with some points this weekend, which is important for the championship.”