Lotus News Article

Back on track in Suzuka

Monday, October 10, 2011 - 10:00

Lotus Renault GP got both cars in the top ten in qualifying, which must have come as a relief after all the head-scratching in Singapore?

It was uncomfortable to watch the pace in Singapore. They weren’t as competitive as they should have been, but things were back on track in Suzuka. Qualifying was impressive, and this is at one of the most demanding circuits ever built. So that’s encouraging but based on where they started I was disappointed with the result. Ninth and 16th: I expected a little better.

What did you make of the fact that neither driver drove a Q3 lap in order to save tyres?

You can’t blame the teams for wanting to conserve tyres, that’s intelligent, but the regulation should change to prevent the cars from just sitting in the pits because it can be disappointing for the spectators.

By starting on the medium tyre, while those around them had the soft, both drivers struggled at the start - would you have started them on softs?

I don’t think it’s that simple. The team has all the data, they process all the scenarios with the drivers and come up with the best gamble. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. In this case it definitely didn’t work for Bruno because he was baulked by traffic. Vitaly faired better. It’s easy to say it was the wrong decision, but the car on soft tyres with a full tank wouldn’t have worked either, often it’s advantageous to try something different.

Sebastian Vettel became the youngest back-to-back champion in F1 history. It’s been a stunning year for him, hasn’t it?

Congratulations to him, and let’s not forget about Jenson Button who took a brilliant victory. For Sebastian, I know he wanted to stand on the top step but third was more than enough. He only needed one point, so the suspense wasn’t huge and he knew that if he didn’t become World Champion this weekend he could do it next weekend. His whole season has been fantastic – fantastic speed, fantastic behaviour – he really deserves to win this title, and I have the utmost respect for what he has achieved these past two seasons.

He’s only the ninth back-to-back champ. Given his dominance this year, do you think Vettel will go down in history like Senna, Clark, Schumacher and Fangio?

He is still so young, just 24-years-old, and having two titles in his pocket plus a very competitive team for next year we can imagine he’ll break many more records and win more titles. But you know how it is in motorsport: The car is so important, and we need to see how the other teams are for next year.