Eric Boullier on the Spanish GP - "I like the fact our drivers weren’t fully happy on the podium; they knew we could have won”
After a strong Bahrain Grand Prix with both drivers on the podium, Eric Boullier reflects on the result and looks ahead to what could be possible for the rest of the season…
Eric, what image spontaneously comes to your mind when thinking about the Bahrain race?
First of all, the joy of the race team when looking at the podium. The guys had not seen our two drivers up there since 2006. But, most of all, I remember the face of Kimi and Romain. I liked the fact that they were relieved, but not fully happy. We had just achieved a great result, but they already wanted more. They knew we could have won. Instead of simply enjoying the moment, they were trying to figure out what went wrong and why they were not standing on the first step of this podium. It says a lot about our team’s spirit right now.
Were the last three weeks busy?
Quite busy, yes! First of all, we got all the chassis’ back in Enstone for the first time since they’d left for Australia. They deserved a full service, including respray. They’re like new now. We then had to prepare ourselves for our full scale wind tunnel session in the United States, as well as for the Mugello test. We’ve also started calibrating our new simulator which is another exciting development for the team.
Are you looking forward to racing in Spain?
The first race in Europe is always the start of a new adventure. In this respect, yes, we¹re all looking forward to this challenge. It also makes the life of the team easier in terms of logistics: we¹re not that far away from home any more. This said, Barcelona is a special track because we always test there in the winter so it will be interesting to see the gaps between the teams; it might be even tighter than what we have already seen.
Are you optimistic?
Well, we’ve been able to look after our tyres quite well during the races so far but the Barcelona track is very abrasive, especially for the front left tyre. Maybe we’ll do a better job than our rivals in this area. The only question mark is our performance relative to the temperature. A pattern started to emerge over the first four races, where we seemed to be more and more competitive in hot conditions. We’ll see.
We were testing in Mugello last week. Has it been useful?
Yes. Even when the weather wasn’t great, we were able to try some combinations that we would not normally go for during a race weekend, as they take quite a lot of time to set up. We’ve learned a lot about the car. Also, our Windshear session had given a lot of positive results. We know that the E20 will be even quicker now. But performance is a relative concept. Let’s wait and see how our opponents have improved.
Barcelona is the next stop on the Formula 1 calendar as the European phase of the season gets underway next weekend.