Faster pit stops a priority for Lotus

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Lotus have admitted they need to sharpen up their game in the pits having been over a second off the best last weekend.

Race team manager Paul Seaby admitted the crew “lost our mojo a little over the Malaysia weekend”.

“On Friday our practice stops were as good as they ever have been, but from Saturday onwards we were struggling to string good stops together,” he explained.

“The switch from wet to dry conditions and subsequent front wing flap adjustments didn’t help, but even taking that into consideration it still wasn’t our best weekend.

“We have to take that on the chin, put everyone through their paces with some more practice at Enstone, and work hard to get back to where we should be and deserve to be. Similar to a football team; when we are good praise is due, and when we aren’t we need to face up to that as a unit, work hard together and get ourselves back on song.”

Lotus’s best complete pit stop during the Malaysian Grand Prix was Romain Grosjean’s on lap 25 of the race. He was in and out in 21.8 seconds – over a second slower than the quickest stop of the race, performed by Red Bull.

Kimi Raikkonen’s first visit to the pits on lap six was particularly slow, almost six seconds off the benchmark time.

However the race also demonstrated the dangers in trying to push for that last second in the pits. Force India introduced a new ‘captive wheel nut’ system designed to shave vital tenths off their stops, but a problem with securing the wheel meant they had to retire both cars.

Usain Bolt, Bill Clinton among headline guests for USGP at COTA

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The Circuit of The Americas paddock ahead of the United States Grand Prix may have been busy with teams and drivers preparing for lights out, but much of the attention lay with a number of headline guests including former presidents and Olympic champions.

As part of its plans to up the excitement levels ahead of Sunday’s grand prix and mirror other sporting events, F1’s new owner, Liberty Media, announced plans a couple of weeks ago to link up with iconic boxing announcer Michael Buffer and eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt for the pre-race festivities.

Ahead of today’s race in Austin, Buffer will introduce the drivers in a number of groups before offering the call for drivers to start their engines, similar to the pre-race procedure for the Indianapolis 500.

Honorary race starter Bolt, who competed in his last athletic world championship event in London earlier this year, will appear on the start line to complete his signature victory pose before waving the green flags to launch the formation lap.

Bolt was also treated to a hot lap around COTA by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton before the start of the formal pre-race build up program in Austin.

Liberty issued a list of celebrities and other public figures who are confirmed to be attending today’s race, including Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden and actor Owen Wilson among others.

One name that wasn’t on the list? 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, who quickly became a focus for the paddock upon arrival three hours before lights out.

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET today.