Old car set-up hampered Lotus Formula 1 team, says Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean has revealed that settings carried over from last year's Lotus Formula 1 car have held the team's new machine back in the early part of the 2014 season

Old car set-up hampered Lotus Formula 1 team, says Romain Grosjean

Lotus has suffered a disastrous start to 2014, after being in contention to finish third in the constructors' championship until the final race of last year.

Its twin tusk E22 was unreliable and off the pace across the first three races, but showed signs of improvement at the most recent grand prix in China, as Grosjean ran inside the top 10 before a gearbox problem forced him out after half-distance.

The Franco-Swiss driver revealed that Lotus only began refining the set-up on the E22 during Friday free practice in China, after previously heading down a blind alley with settings from last year's successful E21 design.

"We started a little bit on the back foot with baseline set-up, which wasn't the ideal for this year's regulations," Grosjean told AUTOSPORT.

"It was very difficult to drive and not very efficient.

"They [the rulemakers] changed tyres, aerodynamics and power unit and we kept the direction we had last year, which was very good with E21 but didn't quite work with the E22.

"We have ideas now on how to set up the car to make it easier to drive. We just have to keep working."

Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez revealed that Grosjean would have been even more competitive at Shanghai had he not encountered issues with the diffuser stalling and robbing the car of rear downforce.

'UNSTABLE AND UNPREDICTABLE'

Grosjean told AUTOSPORT he had not driven a more difficult car in his career than the pre-China E22.

"It was very unstable and unpredictable," he added.

"The front is less obvious on TV but it was both ends. We didn't even know which one was going to slide!

"It was down to last year's set-up not working for this year's regulations and the aero not working as we wanted. It's all linked.

"We had a big improvement in China, but it's not only one thing we changed; in the end it's a lot of things that make a good car."

With Lopez reckoning engine supplier Renault brought improvements to China worth two seconds per lap to Lotus, and more tweaks planned before next month's Spanish Grand Prix, Grosjean is hopeful he can return to the sort of form that carried him to six podiums last season.

"I'm sure there's more potential in the car than what we are seeing right now," he said.

"You never know. It goes quick in one direction and goes quick in the other [sometimes]. It's just work and getting things together.

"If we can move forward from there it would be nice to be back on the podium."

shares
comments
Nico Rosberg will bounce back against Lewis Hamilton - Niki Lauda

Previous article

Nico Rosberg will bounce back against Lewis Hamilton - Niki Lauda

Next article

Force India Formula 1 team revelling in McLaren's 2014 struggles

Force India Formula 1 team revelling in McLaren's 2014 struggles
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Romain Grosjean
Teams Team Lotus , Lotus F1 Team
Author Ben Anderson
Why Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash Plus

Why Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash

George Russell and Valtteri Bottas' collision at Imola on Sunday prompted fury in the Formula 1 paddock. But Russell's carefully-worded heartfelt statement later, acknowledging that his initial response was wrong, proved the right move

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for F1’s 2021 title fight Plus

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for F1’s 2021 title fight

In Max Verstappen's Formula 1 career to date, he has been cast as the 'pretender', an acknowledged top-line performer without the car to regularly challenge Lewis Hamilton. But that no longer applies in 2021, and the start to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was the most telling signal yet of what we can expect from their duel this year

Formula 1
Apr 21, 2021
How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve Plus

How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve

Daniel Ricciardo has found a new lease of life at McLaren – a move that’s been years in the making, as he explains to STUART CODLING…

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari Plus

The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari

Ninety years ago, Rudolf Caracciola became the first non-Italian to win the epic Mille Miglia. We look at how he stacks up to the most famous pre-war ace Tazio Nuvolari, one of the drivers he beat on that day in 1931

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Plus

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Plus

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021