Interview with Lotus' deputy boss Gastaldi
3 April 2014 – Lotus F1 Deputy Team Principal Federico Gastaldi reflects on Malaysia and looks ahead to this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix...
Federico, what’s the outlook for Bahrain?
We head to Bahrain still with lots of work to do, but with clear evidence that we are heading in the right direction. We’re at a very early stage in the understanding of our car’s performance and we’re still having to fight reliability issues; no doubt you will find us in Bahrain with plenty of work to do!
Seeing Romain [Grosjean] cross the finish line in Sepang must have been a good feeling?
After the start we have had to this season, of course it was a great feeling to complete the Malaysian Grand Prix. That said, we’re not here as a team to celebrate a non-points finish. Our performance in Sepang represents a step in getting to where we want to be, and we have quite a lot more steps to make. The positive is that we are seeing progress so we are going in the right direction.
He was very determined to keep eleventh position?
Hearing him on the radio and speaking to him afterwards, he was very determined to do much better than that! The problem with rear downforce for the last eight laps of the race really meant he was fighting with one hand tied behind his back but he was still trying to fight for the positions ahead before he had to deliver a strong defensive drive. It was great stuff to watch.
Not quite the same relief over in Pastor [Maldonado]’s side of the garage?
Pastor had a very trying weekend with more than his fair share of problems, yet the fantastic thing has been that he hasn’t let this dishearten him. On the contrary, his response has been fantastic and motivating for everyone. He is a very uplifting guy and will always share a joke with the crew in the garage or the team back at the factory. You can see the determination and focus in his eyes, but he certainly hasn’t given any indication of being the kind of driver who will throw his toys out of the pram when things aren’t going his way.
How’s the motivation of the team?
I still say it’s stronger than ever. We have an even higher mountain than usual to climb so we are up for the challenge. It’s incredible how relentless everyone at the track and at Enstone is in their focus and approach to getting us to where we want to be.
When can the team be fighting for points?
Romain was unlucky that he wasn’t in the points in Sepang so it wouldn’t be a lie to say that we have already been fighting for points. We are still at such an early stage of extracting performance from the E22 that our potential for improvement is very good.
What’s the short term plan for progress?
We are targeting reliability as that enables us to better understand the car. Equally, we are bringing new aerodynamic and performance parts to every race. When we get more track time we have more understanding of the car and more information for our engineers to work on.
Now it’s two races into the 2014 season, what are your thoughts on the racing spectacle?
Aside from the results from the team so far, I have enjoyed the last two Grands Prix. The cars move about a lot and there have been some good wheel-to-wheel moments which is always great to watch. The fascinating aspect is the knowledge that we are all so early in the understanding of how to race to these latest regulations. This means we will see the racing evolve a lot over the season as the teams all develop their cars and race strategies and the drivers understand better how to extract maximum performance from them. It’s going to be a great season.
Interview provided by the Lotus F1 Team press office