Romain Grosjean gave the Lotus F1 Team a great going away present in his final Grand Prix with the outfit before he moves to the Haas F1 Team next season as the Frenchman finished the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Bay circuit in ninth place. The result ensured that the Enstone outfit who have had a troubled season both on and off track end the year in sixth place in the championship.
Grosjean started the race from 18th place on the grid and made way through the field to finish the event just ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Daniil Kvyat. Speaking following an emotional weekend, Grosjean commented by saying:
It’s been an emotional journey for me and I’m so happy to be able to reward everyone at Enstone with points in my final race for the team. I had to push all the way and it wasn’t always plain sailing as there was a lot to manage on the car. The calls from the pit wall were great and my pit stops were fantastic. I owe a lot to this team and it really feels like a family to me. I hope to be back one day in the future. This has been the best season of my career.
In contrast to Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado’s race ended early however as he joked with the BBC’s Lee McKenzie not by his own doing this time as he was hit from behind going into Turn 1 on the opening lap by McLaren Honda’s Fernando Alonso. Speaking after the race, he commented by saying:
It’s sad to end the race in the first corner because we were looking good for the race. Today we had a good strategy to go with our better race pace, but anyway this is racing and it can happen. I didn’t see the contact I just felt it in the back of the car from Fernando. I tried to restart but then I saw the suspension damage. Imagine if that incident had been the other way round, it would’ve been big news then!
Lotus F1 Deputy Team Principal Frederico Gastaldi commented on the season by saying:
2015 has been an incredible year for us for so many reasons and I must say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported us through what has been a character-building season. The resolve of everyone at Enstone has been tested, but we have come through. Today’s race was illustrative of the fighting spirit of Enstone and Romain did us proud in his final race with us. Pastor was the victim of someone else’s incident so couldn’t end the season as he wanted. Our focus is now completely on 2016; watch this space, there’s plenty more to come.
The Enstone outfit’s Trackside Operations Director, Alan Permane commented by saying:
Romain drove a superb race and it’s a testament of all the hard work that’s been put in under difficult conditions over the year from everyone in the team that he could finish in the top ten in the final race of the season. Our relative pace today was much better than in qualifying and we were able to harness a strong strategy to move up the order. Pastor was very unfortunate at the start as he had looked strong all weekend here.
So where do the Lotus F1 Team go from here? It should be confirmed next week that the Enstone outfit have concluded their deal with Renault. Paddock Eye understands that despite a few hiccups with Bernie Ecclestone over historical prize money payments that a decision will be made next week that will see Renault regain control of Enstone with current owner and team principal Gerard Lopez staying on with the team.
We also understand that Renault personnel have already reported for work at Enstone, so the next few days should be very interesting. The on track action may be over for the year but all the attention now switches to what will happen off track.