Romain Grosjean is heading into his second weekend in a row without the benefit of the latest upgrades which Kimi Raikkonen has on his car.
Lotus technical director James Allison said only Kimi Raikkonen had the newest parts for the E21, as was also the case in Melbourne.
Asked about Grosjean’s performance in the opening race Allison said: “He’s not had an easy weekend either here or there because we haven’t got, we haven’t been able to provide, two cars of exactly the same configuration on either occasions.”
“So in Melbourne on Friday he was running a step behind Kimi in terms of his aero package and then he had the upgrade for Saturday morning but Saturday was disturbed by the weather as we all know.
“And here once again we only have one set of kit and we’ve chosen to run that with Kimi and Romain is disadvantaged for that.”
Raikkonen ran a new exhaust and outlet package on his car in practice today. Allison added they preferred to bring updates for both cars simultaneously: “It’s a feature of not having in-season testing that you try to upgrade the cars as fast as you can.”
“Generally speaking that means you’re always going to have one set of kit ahead of the second set and that almost inevitably means that one drivers gets to try it before there is a second one available. We’ll always try to get two sets available, but not always possible.
“So he’s had a difficult set of circumstances and he’s also up against a team mate who’s really firing on all cylinders.”
Allison praised Raikkonen’s “incredibly patient” performance in Australia: “I think he knew he had a good car under him.”
“He knew he didn’t have to scamper up behind the group in front. He looked after the tyres, only going quickly when he needed to. Just a very mature and smooth and fast race.”
Grosjean finished in tenth place, over 80 seconds behind Raikkonen, but Allison has no doubts about his potential:
“Romain showed us over and over last year that he is a driver with a lot of pace,” he said. “It’s the one really valuable community a race driver has and he’s got that.”
2013 Malaysian Grand Prix
- Horner: Vettel and Webber have a “healthy rivalry”
- Webber wins Malaysian GP Driver of the Weekend
- Red Bull gives up on team orders as Vettel admits he would defy them again
- Malaysia retirement no concern for Alonso
- Massa: Red Bull’s team orders not “intelligent”
Image © Lotus/LAT