Two senior figures at Lotus F1 Team have expressed their confidence that the team will bounce back to form at the Italian Grand Prix next weekend following a disappointing showing in Belgium last time out.
Team principal Eric Boullier is confident that the team will respond in the best possible fashion after scoring just four points at Spa-Francorchamps, with the Monza circuit being more suited to the car.
“Monza is a very different circuit from Spa and we have an equally different aerodynamic package for the car,” Boullier explained. “The weather is usually better in Italy than we saw in Belgium this year so that could help us. We certainly expect better performance and results than we saw last time out.”
For trackside operations director Alan Permane, the car has every element required to be quick at the high-speed circuit.
“There’s certainly nothing which jumps up and causes us any great concerns,” he said. “You need an aerodynamically efficient car – which we have – and a powerful engine which Renault supplies us with. You also need a car that has good change of direction for the interruptions to the straights.”
Therefore, the team could be in the running to claim its second win of the season next weekend, but all eyes are on Kimi Raikkonen as the Finnish driver appears to be seeking a way out of Enstone.
The race at Monza will also mark Romain Grosjean’s first grand prix in Italy since 2009, having been banned from last year’s race due to the start-line incident at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.
Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.
“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”
Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”