Boullier: Balance but it’s fragile

Date published: April 26 2011

Eric Boullier believes Lotus Renault are finding a “balance” in their new driver pairing of Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld…

Eric Boullier believes Lotus Renault are finding a “balance” in their new driver pairing of Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld.

Renault were forced to change their line-up in the weeks leading up to the start of the season after Robert Kubica was seriously injured in a rally accident.

The team called up the Pole’s former team-mate Nick Heidfeld, who quickly impressed in pre-season testing.

However, it was Petrov who claimed Renault’s first podium of the season, finishing third in the Australian GP. Heidfeld followed suit one race later in Malaysia.

But, given the success of the two drivers, there are many wondering just where Renault would be if Kubica was able to compete this season.

“With the word ‘if’ I would be World Champion… so I don’t want to think about it,” Boullier told Autosport.

“I think we need to not underestimate the progress of Vitaly. My job is to make sure my drivers feel confident and that they improve over the year – so you have this spike of performance.

“Mentally, it is very important for them to feel they can do better and that the team is here to support and give them the tools to do even better.

“So as a team we have to be careful about the environment – and to make sure that we can put the drivers in a situation where they can deliver more and more. Robert was clearly in this positive loop, and this is something we have also created with Vitaly.

“However, starting with a rookie you need some time to do it and for him to deliver. I think he is now starting to deliver, although he is still also making some mistakes.

“In the case of Nick, he was in a different place, so we have to put him back in this positive loop. And that will not come in a few days. With experience he can go faster than Vitaly, but we need time to go and catch the final tenths.

“It is all about a team effort – it is the noble way. The team is pushing, the driver is pushing, and everybody is pushing each other. You need to keep this balance, but it’s a fragile balance.”