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.

INDYCAR: Josef Newgarden quickest again in second practice at Road America

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Josef Newgarden continued to be quickest around Road America, first this morning and again this afternoon in the second practice session for Sunday’s KOHLER Grand Prix.

Newgarden had a best lap in the second session of 1:42.6279, followed by rookie Robert Wickens (1:42.9025), Sebastien Bourdais (1:43.0020), Will Power (1:43.0545) and teammate Simon Pagenaud (1:43.1599).

Sixth through 10th were Graham Rahal (1:43.1995), Scott Dixon (1:43.4212), Ryan Hunter-Reay (1:43.4755), Takuma Sato (1:43.5410) and Marco Andretti (1:43.6221).

One significant incident of note occurred during the session when Alfonso Celis Jr., making his IndyCar debut this weekend, lost control coming out of a turn and slammed into the tire wall, causing damage to his suspension.

The third and final practice session of the weekend will be Saturday at Noon E.T., followed by qualifying later in the afternoon.

The race will take the green flag on Sunday shortly after 1 p.m. ET. It will be televised live on NBCSN.

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