Abu Dhabi not kind to Lotus Renault
Lotus Renault may now have the Norfolk marque all to themselves in Formula One from next season, but they will be keen to improve on the track after another disappointing weekend.
Last week the Hethel-backed constructor confirmed it will be the sole Lotus outfit in F1 from 2012 – but in this season's penultimate round at Yas Marina, Lotus Renault endured an awful Abu Dhabi.
'Let's be honest here – there's not a crumb of comfort to take from that performance,' said Bruno Senna, who came home 16th.
'We suffered from a Kers failure, drive through penalty and a car which was not on the money at this particular track. Put those together and you see why I finished where I did.
'There was lots of lost time to make up and, strategically, we took a gamble that didn't pay off. I certainly think that overall this weekend my pace was as good as it could have been. Maybe for Brazil we will have a better baseline, and let's hope we have a better race weekend.'
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Team-mate Vitaly Petrov had similar problems with his DRS and his pace only took him to 13th at the flag.
Enstone team principal Eric Boullier said: 'That was not what we were looking for today. We knew that this weekend would not be our finest of the season; the trend of slower tracks not clicking with the R31 has repeated itself over the past three days.
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'The boys have put in a big effort this week to try and give us something to smile about at this fantastic venue – unfortunately it was not to be and it will be all eyes to Brazil to try and finish the season on a high.'
Hingham's Team Lotus, who will run as Caterham next season, did as has become expected in 2011 – finishing well ahead of their fellow new teams from last season, but not having the pace to really trouble the rest of the field.
Heikki Kovalainen had threatened a better finish before settling in 17th, a place ahead of team-mate Jarno Trulli who did well to recover during the 55 laps.
Chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne said: 'A solid race for us and good to see both cars across the finish line with no problems all afternoon.
'Jarno lost some time at the start but he pulled some of that back with a strong middle stint but was then hit by the number of blue flags that he had to slow down for.
'At the end of the race Heikki was once again chasing down the (Lotus) Renault but just was not able to get past him with the laps he had left.
'Now we move on to the last race of the season in Brazil where we will be focusing on the season's number on goal – securing tenth place and giving ourselves the platform we need to keep building for the future.'