Lotus F1's Romain Grosjean will be starting the German Grand Prix five place adrift of his qualifying efforts due to a gearbox change. The Frenchman suffered a gearbox problem in the waning laps of the British Grand Prix which forced the team to make the change. That change is met with an FIA penalty of five grid spaces. Technical director James Allison said:
"It was a gearbox problem and we are very fortunate that Romain didn't have the problem earlier in the race," Ellison said.
"Unfortunately for Romain it means he'll take a five place grid penalty at Hockenheim, but he certainly showed at Silverstone that dropping down the order won't stop him challenging at the sharp end."
Grosjean hasn't shown great struggle in coming from the back so look for the five grid-space penalty to be marginalized by a great start or quick pace of the Frenchman. Five places is a challenge and that leaves the teammate Kimi Raikkonen carrying the torch for a good result in Germany. Raikkonen feels up for the challenge in one of his more talkative moments:
"We've got a good car, we understand the tyres quite well, we've shown that we can be fast and race well... there's no reason why we shouldn't be fighting for another podium," he said.
"Some hot weather would be good. Usually in Hockenheim it has been very hot and everybody has had problems with the tyres going off. Obviously, for us, the hot weather suits the car fine. Our car prefers the hot temperatures and in the long runs it's not that hard on tyres. Let's have some real summer weather in Hockenheim."
Hot weather, high tire temperatures and a motivated Finn behind the wheel could equal good results. Team boss Eric Boullier takes solace that the team seem on the right track for progress:
"Winning could be seen as a reasonable target considering our recent level of performance. This said, a podium could also be a fair goal to envisage. I think we should concentrate on the operational side of things and make sure that our preparations are perfect. Our car has not been the most reliable since Montreal, with KERS, differential, alternator and gearbox issues" Boullier said.
"We're doing our best to fix this situation. At Silverstone we dramatically improved our pit stops thanks to new procedures and new parts. In Hockenheim, some interesting development parts will appear on Friday. We're pushing, you see. We leave no stone unturned and want to have a much better second half of the championship".
The team also tried out their new upgraded wheel guns, nuts and sockets. Allison said those worked well and did help with pit stop times:
"I'm really very pleased with those. We didn't do the quickest stop of the weekend, but all of our stops were good. We are now on the same playing field as the other properly competitive teams in this important part of the race. I think as the season unfolds from here we'll be banging in a few really impressive times".
The team are moving int he right direction and set the fastest lap of the race in the British Grand Prix, can a win be far off for the Enstone-based Formula One team?