Race Malaysian GP report: Lotus Renault
Romain Grosjean finished in eleventh position after a hot and humid Malaysian Grand Prix, whilst Pastor Maldonado was forced to make an early retirement to prevent damage to his Renault Sport F1 power unit. Pastor was caught by contact in the opening lap and suffered from an unrelated issue concerning the turbo intake system. Romain made strong progress from his fifteenth position start to be challenging for points, however diminished downforce from his rear diffuser in the final eight laps left him defending from behind rather than attacking those ahead.
— Romain started from fifteenth position on new medium tyres, changing to new medium tyres on laps 12 and 25 and new hard tyres on lap 40.
— Pastor started from sixteenth position on new medium tyres, before being called into the pits to retire on lap 7.
“Eleventh place is good for all the guys at Enstone and at the track, and it’s good for me too. Finishing the race was our first objective and then we wanted to see where we were with our car. It’s not perfect yet but it’s good to be where we are at this stage. I had a big loss of downforce around eight laps to the end especially in the rear of the car which made things difficult, especially when I had to defend. Without that issue, I’m sure we could have finished higher. It’s good to be back and close to the points so it’s a positive for all of us. It was a good battle at the end. I kept remembering our past battles to make sure Kimi couldn’t go through!"
“After the start we were losing a lot of power so we’ll have to investigate later to see what the issue is and analyse the data. This problem meant I had to retire in order to protect the engine. Despite that, this weekend has been clearly a step forwards. Since Saturday, we’ve been able to run far more with the car and Romain was able to finish the race. Today obviously was not so good for me, but we’re not the only ones with issues so early in the season. This is all related to all the complex packages in the car, but we have learnt a lot this weekend and will make progress for the next."
Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal
"Today Romain drove a great race to be in with a shout of points and finish the team’s first race of 2014. That he was able to defend his position for the last eight laps despite his rear diffuser not working properly shows his determination. This determination is shared by the entire team as we now look to extract more performance from the E22. Pastor was very unfortunate with an issue which could have damaged his engine. We needed to retire him so that we can ensure better performance later in the year. We head to Bahrain as determined as ever to find more improvements in performance and reliability.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director
"Today was a big step forwards from Melbourne, and every time we run the car we can see we are making progress. Romain had a decent race, getting the car to the finish and giving us plenty of valuable data and feedback to enable us to deliver improved performance. He suffered from some damage to his diffuser on lap 48 and subsequently was losing around a second and a half in terms of performance per lap. This considered, he did a very good job indeed to stay in front of Kimi. Pastor had a problem with the intake to the turbo, which was evident from the start of his race. Unfortunately, as well as limiting performance it was potentially damaging to the engine so we had to make the difficult decision to retire him. Overall, we’re optimistic that we can improve further next weekend in Bahrain."
Julien Barbieux, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader
“Getting to the finish and in the points was the aim this weekend and we just missed out on the top ten. This gives us a good foundation we can build on in the next races. Pastor retired in order to prevent damage to the power unit as the team picked up an air leak that could have hurt the turbo. Put simply, we had to play it on the safe side. We’re making progress all the time on the package and this race finish gives us so much more information to feed back into the programme.”