The Lotus F1 Team head to the Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit this weekend amid continuing reports about the Enstone outfit’s future in the sport. A deal for the team to be purchased by Renault is set to be confirmed soon as senior management from both Lotus and Renault held talks over the Singapore Grand Prix weekend.
Speaking ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix deputy team principal Frederico Gastaldi took part in Q&A and was asked:
The team has just confirmed Pastor for 2016. What can you tell us about this?
We have an existing multi-year deal with Pastor so it was time to publically confirm he will be driving with us as part of this deal in 2016. Whilst it is true that Pastor has experienced a difficult season in 2015, from working with him we know his strengths very well. This year has certainly been a trying season for many reasons, but Pastor is always positive and always delivering to the best of his ability. He is a pleasure to work with and we will both benefit from the continuity of the relationship continuing into its third season.
What’s the current situation with Romain?
We expect an announcement about Romain’s future will be made very soon too. It’s a case of watch this space.
What’s your evaluation of the race weekend in Singapore?
It was a race weekend which showed the depth and strength of character of everyone at Enstone. We struggled for pace early in the weekend but dug deep and were able to fight back. We attacked the race with a strategy designed to work us up the order and go for any points. Ultimately, it didn’t work for Pastor or Romain on this occasion, but it is a measure of the team that we never give up.
What can you tell us about developments at Enstone?
Certainly circumstances are forcing us to pursue a rather unusual approach to this season but we’re getting near to a resolution. Certainly, we have been subject to an unbelievable amount of scrutiny and it’s impossible to speak to five different people in the paddock without getting five different versions of what might be about to happen! There’s no point trying to dance faster than the music!
How much is the team looking forward to racing in Japan?
Competitively, we can’t wait as it’s the first opportunity to put our no points score in Singapore behind us and get back into our championship fight. Then there’s the aspect of racing in Japan itself. There is a huge appetite for motorsport so it’s really a special experience being there. We have the added stimulus that Honda has re-joined the sport after a period away. Whilst we have all seen they have experienced some growing pains in their first season back, we all know the amazing motorsport history they have and it’s good for Japan and good for Formula 1 to have them competing. The Japanese fans are among the most special in terms of their knowledge and devotion to the sport. So it is very important for us to be racing here and also to have a good weekend on the track. The whole nation of Japan gets tuned in to the F1 groove and it is good for the country and for F1. Suzuka is also a great challenge for the drivers and they will be hungry to deliver. Like Spa, Monaco and Silverstone, I don’t think anyone dislikes going to Suzuka. It has everything that makes F1 great; an incredible track, great fans and somewhere that the drivers and engineers really learn a lot about the car. For many reasons, we all hope to be able to enjoy a sake after a positive Japanese Grand Prix in 2015.