After a top ten qualifying performance in Shanghai, Lotus Deputy Team Principal Federico Gastaldi expects another step forward in Barcelona where the 2014 Formula 1 World Championship season resumes.
It was close but no cigar in Shanghai?
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. 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 that Pastor has the car he wants underneath him.
How difficult has it been for the team to keep improving in absolute and relative terms?
It’s true, you always face a moving target in Formula 1. 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.
How satisfying has it been to see the improvements come?
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! Certainly, seeing improvement is always a positive and our outlook is good. When you look at how our pace – particularly our race pace – has improved relative to our rivals, there is a lot to shout about.
Is there a temptation to switch focus to next year’s car?
It’s still early in the year and we are determined to achieve good results in 2014. Of course, even last year we started looking at the 2015 car and we always look far in advance. All the signs are still that the E22 is a great car wanting to come out, and we’re pushing progress and development so that everyone will see this.
Is it good for the team to move to races in Europe?
Logistically, it’s certainly easier and you don’t miss not having the long-haul flights. For me, Barcelona is a fantastic place and we missed not visiting Barcelona in the pre-season testing this year. Spanish is my first language and I have lived in Spain for many years so you could certainly say I’m a fan personally. Formula 1 always receives good support in Barcelona and it’s certainly one of the busier events on track of the season.
How are you enjoying [your] new role now that you have four races under your belt?
I have been humbled since my appointment as Deputy Team Principal by the amount of support I have received for the team from the world of Formula 1. I’ve also been very busy, that is for sure. The role is a good one, and the team is fantastic to work with – which is something I’ve always known. Of course, it is a challenging time for all teams and for the sport, but we all keep pushing hard.
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