Lotus Renault press release
Zeynep Zeynep Yazıcı: What do you think about the Turkish GP dropping off the 2012 calendar?
It’s a shame for me, as it’s one of the few new circuits on the calendar that has a nice flow and very challenging and fast corners.
Mark Gribben: What do you see as your biggest challenge in the coming races?
It will be adapting with the team and catching up with Vitaly and the other drivers in terms of race experience and car set-up.
Dmitry: What is the most important car adjustment for Monza?
In my opinion, the car must be very stable on braking and corner exits, as the Pirelli tyres seem to suffer a lot during these two phases of the corners.
Caroline Debatin: When you went away from the track (Spa, P1) after leaving the cockpit, still with your helmet on, it looked like you were talking about something - What did you say to yourself at that moment?
I was very angry with myself for losing precious track time, and I knew I set myself back a lot at that moment. Thankfully I managed to catch up quickly and put a good performance for the team in qualifying.
Josh: How did it feel to compete in your first Formula 1 race since 2010?
It was a great feeling. I was anxious before getting into the car, but as the laps went by I felt more and more comfortable and tried to learn as much as possible with the team.
Nicola Fairhurst: What do you do in your free time to relax?
At the moment I don’t have much free time. Whenever I’m not doing any activity for the team I try to do sports and keep my fitness up. Most of the spare time, including plane trips I end up sleeping in order to rest.
Eduardo: What was the most difficult aspect of driving in the middle of a season?
For sure I didn’t know the tyres and their behaviour. You can only get a feel for tyres after driving them, so it wasn’t easy to go into a dry race without having done any meaningful dry and high fuel running, but I was happy with my race pace and consistency!
Rodrigo: Did you have any problems with the tyres in Spa?
My tyres behaved very well in Spa, apart from the restart after the safety car period. I seem to have lost tyre pressure and temperature on the rears and that never came back, so I lost precious race time that wouldn’t have happened with a bit more experience.
Eduardo: When do you think you will be 100% comfortable with the car?
That’s hard to predict, but I hope I won’t take too long. I’m very privileged to have a great team behind me giving me all the support necessary to speed up my learning curve.
Matt Fayers: Do you think that if you continue with the team next year you can get your first win?
Winning in F1 depends on so many factors coming together! It’s a dream to win a race in F1 and I hope I get this opportunity and make the most of it. It’d be absolutely delightful to do it with LRGP as they’ve given me a real chance in F1 this year.
Dmitry: Which corners at Monza do you find most difficult?
The Ascari Chicane has always been the most difficult corner in Monza, as it is always on the limit for every car, and there’s a lot of time that can be gained there. Also, the second Lesmo is a very nice and challenging corner.
Nicola Fairhurst: How do you prepare physically for each race?
I end up doing lots of fitness training, and carry with me a little kit for fitness training and muscle electro stimulation, which I normally use for muscle recovery when the physio isn’t with me.
Vivien: Can you put into words any difference you feel when driving the Lotus Renault to the car you drove last year?
Of course it is a great feeling to be driving a car for a team that has won championships and has so much history; also the R31 is a much more developed car. It’s a car that gives me more pleasure and more confidence to drive at the limit; it’s faster, so the faster you’re going the more pleasure you feel. This time around I’m racing for points with a competitive team and I will try to develop as a driver as much as possible.
Julian Levy: What would you say has been the most special moment in your racing career so far?
Winning Monaco in GP2, that was really special. It’s a very tough race to win and it was very satisfying to win the race especially against Pastor Maldonado who races so well in Monaco and who has been so successful in Monaco, so definitely Monaco in GP2.
Claire: You always have a smile on your face and seem so pleased to be around fans, is this something that you feel is important for a F1 driver and do you personally enjoy doing it, you seem to?
Well, I recognise that the fans are what makes a sport what it is. If there weren’t the fans, if there weren’t the people that love Formula 1 there’ll be no interest in the sport and I guess not many people would understand it, so you have to appreciate the fans and I think they make the difference in the sport. I am happy to interact with the fans and try to give them back a little bit of what they give us.
Chris: What do you think you will bring to the team in this important second half of the season?
I think I’ve always been able to offer good feedback on the car; I’m confident I’ll be able to help set a strong car up for qualifying and the race. I believe I’m a fast learner, so I’m going to use all the knowledge I’ve built up in the past six months as a third driver, such as participating on the technical issues, to help make the strongest impact that I can and give the team the best possible chance to start scoring some good points again. I’ve no doubt the team will be behind me with their full support so we can make this successful.
Miran: What’s the feeling like driving through Eau Rouge whilst holding that beautiful Lotus Renault steering wheel in your hands and keeping the gas pedal on maximum?
It is extremely special for me. Spa is my favourite circuit, and to make my debut there was crazy. I was looking forward to doing it in the R31, and at the circuit I love - that was extra special.
Dennis: What do you talk about with other F1 drivers?
Well normally when we’re on the track we talk about track conditions, track environment and also sometimes about what you do in certain corners. So every time I’m with the more experienced guys especially the Brazilian guys like Massa and Rubens, I go to them and say what are you doing, are you taking this corner flat, are you taking this corner with DRS open, what are you doing and they help me a lot.
David: Did Ayrton say if you think i’m fast you should see my nephew?
There is no pressure there, is there!! No, he did say it. Of course he regarded me very highly when i used to drive the go-karts against him on the farm and we had very similar lap times even though i was only nine or eight years old so of course it was good fun because he was always trying to keep the competitive spirit very strong in me, always trying to compete with me and make me try to beat him. I hope he was not wrong.
Marie: How is the relationship between drivers and the rest of the team?
I think F1 is probably the biggest team sport in the world because to win a race you have 500 people working behind you to get your race car, to get your strategy, to get development, to get your food to get everything working, and if everything is not 100 per cent then you won’t win. People don’t realise this, they just give the credit to the drivers but the drivers are the last piece of the puzzle. They are very important at the same time because a good car won’t go anywhere without a good driver, but similarly a good driver won’t go anywhere without a good car and that’s why it’s always very, very important to be in the right place at the right time.