The car has already proved to be competitive on different tracks
Three races in, Nick explains how he’s been settling into the team since his arrival.
Nick, three races in, can you summarise your feelings on how things have been going so far this season?
It’s been a bit up and down. On the positive side, the car is very innovative and it is quick. It is also responding well to set-up changes, it has got a good straightline speed and has already proved to be competitive on different track layouts. We’ve already achieved two podiums from three races, which is a real plus. But on the other side, we haven’t yet fulfilled our potential and I hope both we, as a team, and I can improve on that. The first three races gave us a good picture of our strengths and weaknesses, and with the break we’ve just had we’ve been able to analyse where we can improve further.
I don’t particularly like things which artificially aim to improve racing
Do you feel you are coping well with the new additions to F1 this season, namely the Drag Reduction System (DRS) and the return of KERS?
Well, like with everything, the more you use it the easier it gets but we’re still working on getting the perfect switch positions which we should have ready for Turkey. I think it’s all working fine and going to plan, even though I’m not a fan of the rear wing because I don’t particularly like things which artificially aim to improve racing. The biggest difference is the tyres. With the rear wing active and the car in front having similar tyres, overtaking might still be difficult which is exactly as what was planned with DRS, however if you have fresher tyres it might be much easier to overtake. I think we’ve seen far more overtaking than in the past.
How are you settling into the team?
Everything has gone so fast since February, which means that it’s been a very quick learning process. I joined the team for most of the winter tests and then went straight to the first race. It’s an ongoing challenge to have everything working perfectly at once but having said this, I’m impressed by the quality of the relationship we’ve built up over just a few weeks. People at Lotus Renault GP really want the driver to feel comfortable in the car and they give you a lot of confidence. They’ve really listened, as have I, and this has helped us develop constructively as a team. Above all, I’m really enjoying this open, two-way approach that we have.
Looking ahead to Turkey, you’ll no doubt be looking to come back strongly?
Definitely, yes. I think we’ve shown over the first three races that we have a good car and Istanbul could be very interesting because it is the first European race and a lot of teams will bring updates, including us. Hopefully we’ll be able to give a good performance again.
Source: Lotus Renault