Lotus HVM Racing Better at Barber
Leeds, AL (Sunday, April 1, 2012) - Timing and scoring doesn't give you the true story of the highs and lows Lotus HVM Racing experienced at today's Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. With a disappointing 21st place start, driver Simona De Silvestro was aggressive from the start.
After losing a spot early, De Silvestro settled in and drove a strong race, making several passes on track to gain positions. At one point the Swiss driver had climbed up to 17th place.
"I'm pretty happy we finished the race. I think it's good for the team," De Silvestro said. "We had a pretty solid car actually. Tire run was really good; tires didn't fall off too much. The good thing is that we finished and we can go to Long Beach with what we learned from this. We had a couple of boo-boos and a bad timed yellow, which didn't help us, but I think we had a solid car and drove pretty well. We really just have to take the positive out of this weekend and go even better next weekend."
While those errors in the pushing the fuel window and then a yellow caution cost her, she never gave up. She pushed hard and passed Tony Kanaan with less than 10 laps to go for position. She was still gaining on the cars in front of her when the checkered flag dropped and would likely have moved past a couple of other cars if she'd only had a few more laps.
Team owner Keith Wiggins was disappointed with the final outcome feeling that the team missed a chance to finish well. "It's good to get to the end," he said, "but it's a bit disappointing not to do as well as what we could have. We didn't take advantage of what we had and the yellow went against us: we just missed some opportunities."
One of those missed opportunities was late in the race when the team pitted just prior to a yellow flag. Had they been able to stay out another lap, the day would have ended better. Unfortunately, De Silvestro was low on fuel and actually ran out just as she was entering pit lane for her third stop. Luckily, she made it to her pit box limiting her losses.
Team Manager Shane Seneviratne wants the team to learn from their mistakes and build on the progress made here at Barber. "First I'd like to congratulate Team Penske and Will Power for a great job," he said. "The IndyCar series has done a great job with the new car my hat's off to them. As a team I think we made some progress. We finished the race. I'd like to thank Lotus for the progress. We're just going to keep building from here on. I think we'll have a much better result in Long Beach."
While it wasn't the result hoped for, the team's guests from AREVA enjoyed their weekend at the track. Making progress throughout the weekend, the team expects to continue moving forward in two weeks when the IZOD IndyCar Series hits the streets of Long Beach.