Monza. The name itself resonates, a hum as certain as the unceasing thrum of tyres across the blacktop. It is a track that, in the best of situations, is one of the most challenging on the Formula 1 circuit. Now, however, with new cars and a reduction in downforce, teams found themselves struggling with the track like never before. This was certainly the position Lotus found themselves in as they fought and clawed their way through the weekend, battling various issues in the never ending quest for points.
Lotus Italian GP Review:
Qualifying, and practice before it, brought challenges in abundance for Lotus. Romain Grosjean experienced a coolant leak that forced the team to work frantically to get him out on the track to qualify. Furthermore, Grosjean had trouble with the lack of downforce and found himself in the gravel and run off areas on more than one occasion. Grosjean, while admitting the problems faced during practice and qualifying were difficult, also added how impressed he was by the mechanics who did everything possible to help him get out on the track, saying the “team spirit is there!” Alan Permane seconded that, going on to say that “the crew did a great job to ensure he got out for a run.” Pastor Maldonado also experienced problems of his own. A small hydraulic issue sidelined his car for a period of time during qualification, yet Maldonado stated that he “remains confident” the team will get the kinks worked out and gain points in the Constructor’s Championship.
By race time, Lotus was concerned that one, or both, of their cars would experience what they went through during the race at Spa. Neither of the cars had finished that race and an ominous feeling was almost tangible in the garages. Maldonado made a good start, getting past both Saubers on the first lap. He was unable to gain any further positions, however. Nonetheless, Permane was not unhappy with the performance, mentioning that Maldonado drove a solid, consistent race. Grosjean had a harder time as he lost some ground on the start and was therefore bogged down in traffic. He also lost part of his sidepod, furthering disrupting his race. Moreover, Grosjean went through downshifting issues later in the race that complicated his drive. Both drivers, however, received the chequered flag, giving the team valuable experience with the new setup of the cars at the historic track.
Determined to put a positive spin on things, Permaine pointed out that “Both cars were reliable. We took a small step toward understanding the car this weekend.” Hopefully that understanding will translate into more points and a more successful race weekend as the team looks forward to the race in Singapore.
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