The Grand Prix of China lay vast and full of promise for the Lotus F1 team as they once again pack their bags and embark upon a journey half way around the world. The team, while finding itself on the short end of the stick for the first two races of the 2015 F1 season, remain positive that both the E23 and their drivers are capable not only of scoring some points but also reaching the podium.
In both Melbourne and Sepang the team experienced unforeseeable challenges that created DNFs for one, or both, drivers. Team Technical Director Nick Chester has, on several occasions, expressed confidence in his team, his car, and both Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado. Now as they head to Shanghai, Chester remains positive. While Malaysia had proven to be hot and humid, making it wearing on drivers and cars alike, China has the potential for cooler weather and faster speeds. It is a track, however, that can be difficult to manage. Finding the right set up is a task even in the best of situations and the cold in China lends itself to tremendous understeer, leaving drivers and teams alike unsure of what they’ll get into until they are into it.
Grosjean, however, feels confident his team can handle it saying, “we have a lot of tools at our disposal to try to make our car work well and I’m sure we’ll have a good race.” The E23, while experiencing some hiccups, has proven already to be a much faster, more reliable car. Both Grosjean and Maldonado seem to have taken to it well and it has consistently been quick in practice and qualifying. Even in the wet, the car has shown itself to be more solid than its predecessor and with the weather being somewhat unreliable in Shanghai that can certainly work in the team’s favor.
As the team prepares for the long flight to China, and the back to back race in Bahrain, they carry with them a burgeoning sense of optimism. While they have been unable, thus far, to land in the points, they are confident it is only a matter of time before they do so. The challenges the team has faced in the previous two races have only served as lessons by which they were able to learn and move forward from, enabling them to pursue points and podiums alike.