Romain Grosjean will leave China lamenting his bad luck after suffering a gearbox failure during today’s Grand Prix.
The Frenchman was challenging for points for the first time this season after qualifying in the top ten, until a gearbox issue saw him lose fourth gear. After struggling to continue, including a deep trip into the gravel at turn 11, he was told to pit to retire the car.
“We started by losing fourth gear but it got worse and essentially we lost all gears,” Grosjean said after the race. “It’s the first time we’ve had a problem like this so we’ll have to understand what happened.”
However, the Frenchman took solace in the fact that they had been competitive before the issue: “It had been quite nice in the race as we’d been fighting for ninth position so we were in the points, which is a good improvement from before.”
His thoughts were echoed by Laurent Debout, the Renault Support Leader with Lotus, who said, “We’ve made some real progress this weekend and for the first time since Melbourne we could show we had the pace for points, which is why today is so disappointing.”
Speaking about the issue, Lotus Trackside Operations Director, Alan Permane said, “Obviously, this is not ideal and we’re investigating the cause. It’s a shame as Romain had been running reasonably well in the points and able to race his rivals, and a points finish was realistic.”
Pastor Maldonado brought the other Lotus to the chequered flag, finishing fourteenth after starting twenty-second. He suffered an engine issue during the Saturday morning practice session, and the efforts to repair it meant that he failed to set a lap in Qualifying.
Image courtesy Lotus F1 Team.