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MOTORSPORT: Lotus looking to Mercedes power
12:00pm Wednesday 9th July 2014 in Sport
Lotus are poised to change to Mercedes engines next season.
The Enstone-based team is in the final stages of agreeing a deal to switch to the German manufacturer from Renault.
Mercedes have the dominant engine this season, with a significant performance advantage over the rival units from Renault and Ferrari.
Renault has undergone a management reshuffle after its disappointing performance.
McLaren’s switch to Honda engines from next season has freed up a supply, and Lotus has walked away from the three-year contract with Ren-ault, signed at the start of the season, in the hope of better performance.
Meanwhile, Lotus’s wret-ched season continued as they again finished out of the points in Sunday’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Romain Grosjean was 12th, while teammate Pastor Mald-onado retired late on.
The race was stopped for nearly an hour to repair a barrier after former Lotus ace Kimi Raikkonen crashed on the first lap.
“It was a difficult first start to the race for me,” said Grosjean.
“I had a switch problem which meant limited power, but despite that we had a good first lap.
“I avoided the incident with Kimi (Raikkonen), but my visor did get damaged by some debris.
“The restart went pretty well for me and the car felt alright. Towards the end of the race, on medium tyres, our pace was much better.
“We came close to the points, but we’d started the race from too far down the grid.”
Maldonado felt a collision with Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez did not help.
He added: “My first start felt good, but after the restart we struggled for power so I wasn’t able to fight with the cars around me.
“I still pushed as best I could but making progress was difficult.
“There was contact from Esteban (Gutierrez), the result of which I’m told looked spectacular, but in the car it was over very quickly and we kept on racing.
“We’re not sure if this added to the cause of my retirement, certainly the rear wing was moving about more than normal, so we don’t know yet what other damage there was.”
Deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi said: “Our performance was short of where we want it to be, but both drivers gave their all.
“Once more the team demonstrated great teamwork over a challenging weekend.”
Kamui Kobayashi from the Leafield-based Caterham team finished in 15th, while teammate Marcus Ericsson was forced to retire from the race with engine trouble.