After a memorable race in Montreal, Eric Boullier looks to the European Grand Prix – the third consecutive street circuit on the F1 calendar. The Lotus Renault GP Team Principal makes it very clear that his team needs to score more points in the coming races as retaining the position in the top four in the Constructors' Championship is an absolute priority.
It was an unpredictable race in Montreal – F1 is proving quite an exciting spectacle at the moment… "It was completely unusual to have such a deluge but, as we thought it would be, the race was very exciting and a fantastic spectacle until the very last lap. There’s no doubt we could have had a better result and seeing Nick collide with Kamui was not pleasant. I am obviously happy for Vitaly who had another strong weekend."
You have talked before about fans being the future of the sport – do eventful races of the kind we saw in Monaco and Montreal help boost its popularity? "Firstly, it is always so refreshing to meet the fans, and it motivates you to do your job even better when you see them at the race tracks. Monaco is a very special race for the sport and Montreal is a city that breathes F1; the entire city was completely decorated for Grand Prix week. These two venues alone are great evidence of F1’s global popularity. In addition, we had two very eventful races, which help the sport even more – dramatic, exciting races are what fans want to see. While I was in Montreal, I took part in the FOTA fans forum and I was delighted that FOTA could organise a straightforward debate with fans. The forum turned out to be very interesting and constructive. I think we should continue to thank all the fans for their great support and commitment to these types of discussions, and to the sport as a whole."
Does what you saw in the last race demonstrate that LRGP’s season is getting back on track? "Yes, definitely. Obviously we are still struggling a bit in qualifying – we need to be higher up on the starting grid - but we are fighting for the top six, and I’m convinced things will get even better in Valencia."
What are the key aspects the team has focused on in the lead-up to Valencia to ensure it remains competitive? "We have made a lot of technical tweaks to the car, a number of which came as a result of understanding our lack of qualifying performance. If you add to these a couple of upgrades, we should be able to take a strong step forward."
It’s another street circuit – how will this track suit the R31? "It is beneficial for the sport to have these street circuits, as it provides a contrast from some of the purpose built tracks. The track will suit us well and we expect to be fighting for places on the front three rows come Sunday’s starting grid."
Four more races until the mid-season break – what are you expecting the team to achieve in this time? "We need another podium or two in this time to cement our position amongst the grid’s elite teams, and to remain competitive ahead of Mercedes GP whose season has clearly improved. Retaining our position in the top four in the Constructors’ Championship is an absolute priority for us, and we must continue to lay down the marker over the next four races."