The final round of the FIA 2013 F1® World Championship competition got under way today, and in luckless form delivered the Lotus F1® Team’s first point-less weekend of the year at São Paulo’s Interlagos circuit. Heikki Kovalainen dropped three positions from his eleventh placed grid slot whilst team-mate Romain Grosjean retired with an early engine failure just four laps into the race having begun in sixth.
Romain’s impressive run of results during the final third of the season came to a premature end with the Frenchman’s RS27-2013 engine failing in spectacular fashion on the final appearance for the V8 configuration power train. Movement amongst the midfield throughout a two stop strategy race was not enough to aid Heikki in recovering from a slow getaway; the Finn eventually crossing the line to take fourteenth place.
Kimi Räikkönen’s absence from the last two races of the season sees him fall to fifth place in the final Drivers’ Championship standings on 183 points. Romain takes seventh position with 132 points. For the second consecutive season the team finishes fourth in the Constructors’ Championship; a total of 315 points the final tally.
Romain Grosjean DNF E21-04 “At this point in the season I think everyone needs a holiday, but apparently my engine decided to go on vacation early! Of course, that’s not the way we wanted to end the year but it’s been a fantastic season for the team and I think we can be really proud of what we’ve achieved together. We’ve proven this year that we are a top team, and I’m certainly proud of all the guys in the garage and back at Enstone. Today was obviously disappointing for everyone as they deserved more from this final race after all their hard work, but now it’s time to get a little bit of rest and then focus on making sure we head into 2014 and the new regulations as one of the top teams once again.”
Heikki Kovalainen P14 E21-05 “It has been a great opportunity to drive for Lotus F1 Team and I’m upset that I was not able to score any points for them today. I think the car is great, but I was not able to unlock the pace and make the most of it. I made some mistakes – probably through lack of routine – but I was anticipating it would be easier to come back and race competitively. My starts both here and in Austin were really poor, with procedural issues both times meaning I wasn’t able to keep pace with everyone off the line. That was disappointing as it’s such a big part of the race and it’s very difficult to recover positions. I’d like to thank everyone at Lotus F1 Team for all their support during these two races.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal “Clearly this is a disappointing way to end what has been a strong season for the team in often difficult circumstances. Our goal at the start of the year was to improve on last season’s fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship, and although we may have just fallen short of that target, it has certainly not been through a lack of effort. Fourteen podium finishes and 315 points is a commendable improvement on our 2012 performance, and I am extremely proud of everyone who has worked so hard to keep us right at the front of a very competitive pack until the very last weekend of the season. In Kimi and Romain we have had one of the strongest line-ups on the grid, and I would like to congratulate them both on some fantastic performances throughout the year. From Kimi’s memorable win at the opening race to Romain’s recent run of podium finishes, they have both been superb. It’s going to be a busy winter preparing for the challenges of 2014, but for now we wish everyone a good few days of well-earned rest.