Gastaldi delighted with progress at Lotus in 2014

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Lotus deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi has expressed his happiness with the progress that the team has made since the beginning of the season ahead of the first European race in Spain next weekend.

After financial problems blighted progress during the off-season, the team has since bounced back and is now on the verge of scoring its first points of 2014. In China, Romain Grosjean was on course to score his first points of the season, only for a gearbox failure to force him to retire.

“Yes, we were running in the top ten and there were many green shoots of recovery made evident over the course of the last race weekend, we didn’t get the points we wanted,” Gastaldi recalled. “Romain’s gearbox issue was something very rare for an Enstone team and we’ve quickly identified the issue and taken preventative measures and we are working hard to ensure Pastor has the car he wants underneath him.”

Like all of the other teams, Lotus has a raft of upgrades planned for the race next weekend, but Gastaldi is hoping that all at Enstone can continue their rapid rate of progress since missing the first test in Jerez.

“It’s true, you always face a moving target in Formula 1,” he said. “Just finding improvements in your car over the course of the season is not good enough; you need to find more improvements than your rivals do. We certainly have made tremendous gains in absolute and relative terms since we started the year. Definitely, we had the most gains to make, but we still look to be very much on an upward trajectory.

“We won’t be satisfied until we are on the top step of the podium! We are all racers and that is what we all want. Even then, not everyone will be satisfied, as you can only ever have one person on that top step!”

Although a victory for Lotus is unlikely in the near future (or, for that matter, this season), some points in the next few races are certainly possible, and it would be no less than Grosjean deserves after some spirited drives so far this season.

Toyota victorious in Bahrain on Porsche’s LMP1 swansong

Toyota Motorsport GmbH
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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Toyota denied Porsche a swansong victory in its final LMP1 appearance in the FIA World Endurance Championship by taking a commanding win in the 6 Hours of Bahrain on Saturday.

Porsche started from pole in the last competitive outing for the three-time Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid car, only to lose out to Toyota’s Sebastien Buemi within the first half an hour of the race.

Porsche lost one of its cars from contention for victory after an errant bollard got stuck underneath Timo Bernhard’s No. 2 entry, leaving Nick Tandy to lead its charge in the No. 1 car.

Tandy moved into the lead just past half distance after a bold strategy call from Porsche to triple-stint the Briton after a fuel-only stop, vaulting him ahead of Anthony Davidson in the No. 8 Toyota.

Tandy’s win hopes were soon dashed when he tangled with a GTE-Am backmarker at Turn 1, sustaining damage that forced Porsche into an unplanned pit stop that put the car a lap down.

With the No. 7 Toyota losing two laps following a clash with a GTE-Pro car earlier on, Davidson, Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima went unchallenged en route to the car’s fifth victory of the season.

Porsche rounded out the podium with its cars, with the No. 2 leading home the No. 1, leaving Toyota’s No. 7 car to settle for P4 at the checkered flag.

Vaillante Rebellion clinched the title in LMP2 after a stunning fightback led by Bruno Senna, with the Brazilian securing his maiden motorsport championship win in the process.

GTE-Pro saw AF Corse complete a hat-trick of titles in 2017, with James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi wining the class’ first world championship recognized by the FIA, while Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda sewed up the GTE-Am title.