Interview with Lotus' Pastor Maldonado
4 June 2014 – Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado reflects on Monaco and looks ahead to the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve...
Pastor, Monaco was definitely one of your shortest races. How frustrating was it?
I was very disappointed because I was expecting to be in the points and the car did feel strong performance wise. The chances in Monaco are always very high and I was ready to do a great race, but unfortunately it was not to be. As you saw, we were not the only team to have technical problems at the last race, however we just need to work harder to try to solve all of the small issues and get better with each race. They are frustrating, absolutely, but we are getting stronger and stronger each time the car goes out on track.
In terms of performance, the E22 didn't seem to like low speed corners?
It didn't in Monaco, but that is such a unique track. But, yes, we need to work very hard in the low-speed corners. In medium and high-speed corners, such as at Barcelona, we were very competitive. It was only in the last sector in Spain that we were losing a little bit against the other teams because it is the slow part of the circuit. Top speed and slow corners are probably the weakest points of our car now.
Unfortunately Canada has long straights followed by low-speed corners…
It could be a difficult weekend for the team, for sure. We are not expecting to be at the top, simply because of the type of track and how we understand our car and its performance strengths and weaknesses. It's not very aggressive on the tyres either, so we'll see how it is when we head out to track. Anything can happen and our guys are all working very hard to adapt the car to find more traction in the slow corners and squeeze out some more top speed.
Do you like the Montreal track?
It's amazing and I always enjoy being there. Canada is a great race not only because of the track but because of the people who come to support it. There is a great atmosphere all weekend and the city is quite close to the circuit which means there is a great vibe all round. There is also a lot of history to the Grand Prix as well and it has been around for a while - it is one of the great GPs during the season.
You seem to be keeping calm despite the difficult start to the year?
When you have a hard time it is vital to be completely focused on trying to solve the problems. I'm trying to do better from my side and also to help the engineers improve the car. This is a crucial moment for the team, approaching the middle of the season. We need to push very hard to recover what we lost at the beginning. We always knew it was going to be tough to start with, but the key is not to panic, we'll just keep our heads down and quietly work harder, do more and do better to catch up, and overtake the other teams. We're capable of it, there's no doubt about that, and while it's always frustrating not to be on the podium where we belong, this is part of the story. It's very easy to just give up, but I think it will make us stronger in the end. There's a cool quote I heard – 'there's no shortcut to any place worth going'. That's pretty true I think.
How good was the Barcelona test in terms of seeing the potential of the team?
It was super good. To be honest it was my first real test with the team and it was great to work through the full programme and see what the team is capable of in a normal situation. Everything ran well. I felt more confident with the car just because of the mileage and I think the team felt more confident. Monaco wasn't reflective of how much the team has progressed and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to really show how strong we're becoming.
Which other circuits do you think will suit the E22?
Circuits where you need a lot of downforce like Silverstone, Budapest, maybe Hockenheim as well. These kinds of circuits can be more efficient for our car. We're improving every day, so with more time we will be back at the sharp end of the grid and not only at preferred tracks.
What do you want in Canada?
I think it would be good to have a trouble free weekend and finish the race strongly in the points. With the variable weather we've seen there in the past, anything can happen in Montreal, however I would like to see us bringing home some good points for the team. It will be tough as it's going to be such a tricky track for us, however if we can put in a solid performance and get the most out of the car then I think we could be in a good position.