Maldonado: Lotus must learn from its mistakes in 2015


Pastor Maldonado is confident that Lotus can enjoy a more successful and competitive campaign in 2015 if it can learn from the mistakes made in the last F1 season.

After winning grands prix in 2012 and 2013, Lotus dropped towards the back of the field in 2014, scoring just ten points thanks to the uncompetitive nature of the E22 car.

However, the team has renewed faith for the 2015 season, with Romain Grosjean saying that he felt a positive step forwards with the new car during testing. Maldonado is similarly optimistic, believing that Lotus can be far more competitive this time around.

“It’s going to be a very interesting season for us,” Maldonado said. “We’ve been working very hard through the winter to improve the performance of the cars, and I’m very happy to be back again to drive.

“We are hoping to have much better performance than last year for sure. We’ve been working quite hard to improve some of the problems we had.

“You need to learn from the mistakes as a team and start from there.”

Maldonado said that the goal for 2015 is to get the team back up the grid and into the points, having only joined for the miserable 2014 campaign after three years at Williams.

“We are always high-spirited, and we must be very competitive,” he said. “Every time we go out on track, we must deliver 100% which is very important.

“We expect the E23 to be a much more competitive car than last year. Very solid in terms of reliability, speed and performance, and very consistent through the season.

“My goal is to get the team back to where it was before I came here. We have the tools, we have everything in the right place to be competitive again and to win. This is the main target again: to win.”

Hunter and Jett Lawrence walk a delicate balance between winning races and favoring the fans

Hunter Jett Lawrence fans
Align Media

ANAHEIM, California – Hunter and Jett Lawrence are two of the most popular riders on the Monster Energy Supercross circuit, with fan bases that established and grew immediately when they came to America to ride for HRC Honda. Connecting with those fans came naturally for the charming Australian brothers, but it has not come without cost.

“It’s cool they’re there and it’s one of the things we try to do is give the fan that interaction,” Hunter told NBC Sports during Supercross Media Sessions ahead of the 2023 season. “It’s why we do ride days, meet-and-greets, press conferences  – all that stuff, because it’s exciting for them. We are trying to bridge the gap so they get personal interaction. Because that’s all they’re after. It’s all about getting that fan to think, ‘I know that guy. I didn’t meet him, but I get him. I get his humor.’ ”

There is no artifice in either brother. Their fan appeal is directly attributable to who they are at their core. And it’s that very genuineness that has throngs of fans standing outside their hauler, waiting for just a moment of their time.

“It’s about being yourself – talking to people,” Hunter said. “It’s not like I turn it on or turn it off; it’s just about being yourself. This is who we are, this is who you get and this is how it will be. You can’t portray something you’re not. If you keep saying you’re an orange, but apples keep popping out, it’s only a matter of time [until they figure it out].”

The key word is ‘throngs’, however. One person wanting just a few moments of time is incidental. Dozens are an entirely different matter.

“It’s tough in Supercross because it’s such a long day,” Hunter said. “The recovery side of it’s tough to do everything. We get stuck outside the grid; we can’t be there for like 10 minutes. We’re stuck there for like an hour. It gets overwhelming at times.

“You feel bad because you want to sign everything, but you’re still here for a job. Every race day is like that. We do the best we can, but there are so many people who wait out front. They’re screaming for you. Even when we’re coming off the sessions, they’re already yelling before you put your bike on the stands. You don’t even get time to take you helmet off.”

It can be a double-edged sword. Personality is only one part of the equation. A much bigger part of the brothers’ fan appeal comes because of their success. Hunter finished second in the last two Supercross 250 West title battles and third in the past two Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships.

Jett won the last three titles he competed for, including last year’s 250 East Supercross Championship and the last two Motocross contests.

“I think they expect me to have nothing else to do on a Saturday and that I have unlimited energy,” Jett said. “But, I’m trying to recover for the next race.”

It’s a matter of timing. Jett has gained a reputation last year for handing out hundreds of donuts before the races during Red Bull fan appreciation sessions. And after the race, once the business at hand has been settled, Jett is equally available to the fans.

“After the race it’s fine; I’ll stay behind.” Jett said. “My job is done on the racing side of things, but until that last moto is done, my main thing is dirt bikes. The fans come along with it. The fans are part of the job, but main job at hand is the racing side of things. After the race, I’ll stay there for an hour or so. It’s a lot calmer.”