Lotus technical director Nick Chester is pleased with the team’s recent form as it prepares to return to the track at the Belgian Grand Prix next weekend.
After enduring a miserable 2014 season, Lotus has bounced back this year thanks to an overhaul of the chassis and a new engine partner in the form of Mercedes.
Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado have both been regular points scorers in the first ten races of the year, lifting the team to sixth place in the constructors’ championship.
Grosjean finished seventh at the last race before Formula 1’s summer break in Hungary at the end of July, showing a race pace that Chester was very pleased with.
“Looking back, we were pretty happy with our race pace,” Chester said. “We had a very mixed up race and could have come further up but in the end we had two undamaged cars and six points.
“Given how busy this race was, it could have been a lot worse! In terms of analysis, we look at all our lap times in qualifying and in the race and we pull apart how we were performing. We do that at every race, and this one is no different.
“Sometimes there are a lot of laps which can’t be used for analysis because you were in traffic – you just have to pick the clean laps and look at what you’re doing.”
Chester also spoke about the challenge that engineers will face at Spa-Francorchamps next weekend, one of the most unique circuits on the F1 calendar.
“There’s a significant variance between the first and third sectors – where it’s not beneficial to run high downforce thanks to the long straights – and the middle sector, which is a mix of high and medium speed corners where more downforce is needed,” Chester said.
“It’s a real balancing act between taking wing off to ensure we are quick on the straights and managing the car through the corners where it could easily feel too light due to a lack of downforce.
“It can make it a little bit difficult to get the best out of the car there but that’s the challenge for Spa and it always makes it interesting from a set-up point of view.”