Romain Grosjean and the Lotus team took time out to address the press and sponsors at the base of Burj Khalifa, Dubai. Jaime Puebla / The National
Romain Grosjean and the Lotus team took time out to address the press and sponsors at the base of Burj Khalifa, Dubai. Jaime Puebla / The National

Bloom time by Barcelona for Lotus car, says owner after Emaar deal

DUBAI // Lotus owner Gerard Lopez is confident his Formula One team can recover from a ruinous start to the season in Melbourne last week, although he warned it could take up to four races before their cars are running to their full potential.

The Luxembourg-born businessman appointed himself team principal following the departure of Eric Boullier during the off-season, but having watched Lotus struggle in testing, he then saw the team's two Renault-powered cars fail to finish the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

“We got caught on the back-foot,” Lopez said. “The first race was like a half-length testing session for us.

“The car is nowhere near where it should be and yet, even then, had we finished the race with an adequate performance level, we could have been top 10. That is not catastrophic, but it is also not where we want to be.”

More difficult times lie ahead as Lotus await Renault solving the engine issues that have hampered several F1 teams’ development this year.

Lopez is confident his team can turn it around and expects to be back fighting for podiums by the time the F1 fraternity touch down in Europe for the first time this season, at the Spanish Grand Prix on May 11. That means lowered expectations in Malaysia, Bahrain and then China.

“The big one for everybody is Barcelona,” he said. “We already have a new rear wing, new front wing and new floor for this weekend’s race in Malaysia, so we are pushing, but we must be cautious too.

It’s a bit odd to be improving on a car that is yet to show its full potential, but any huge things will happen around Barcelona and when they happen we want to be exactly where we want to be, rather than trying to get there.

“We don’t want to be left behind. By Barcelona, we must be absolutely performing.”

For the track guides, team profiles and the latest standings see our interactive F1 2014 graphic here

Lopez, speaking in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa as Lotus announced an extension to its deal with Dubai-based sponsor Emaar, said he had not been surprised by his marque’s poor start.

The Oxford-based outfit finished last season strongly, with Romain Grosjean taking podiums at four of the final six races.

A regulations overhaul and a switch from V8 to V6 engines has left teams fighting the clock to find optimum performance in time to race.

“Like everyone else, we had a major switch in technology and engines this year,” Lopez said. “At the next two races, we will do everything we can to do a good performance, but we are also very cautious about what to expect.

“We have yet to do a full race distance. We will first try to finish, then score points, then score podiums. We know the car is competitive, so as soon as the engine is ready we should be back to where we believe we should be. We are definitely still looking to take podiums eventually, but we appreciate it could take some time.”

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Three trading apps to try

Sharad Nair recommends three investment apps for UAE residents:

  • For beginners or people who want to start investing with limited capital, Mr Nair suggests eToro. “The low fees and low minimum balance requirements make the platform more accessible,” he says. “The user interface is straightforward to understand and operate, while its social element may help ease beginners into the idea of investing money by looking to a virtual community.”
  • If you’re an experienced investor, and have $10,000 or more to invest, consider Saxo Bank. “Saxo Bank offers a more comprehensive trading platform with advanced features and insight for more experienced users. It offers a more personalised approach to opening and operating an account on their platform,” he says.
  • Finally, StashAway could work for those who want a hands-off approach to their investing. “It removes one of the biggest challenges for novice traders: picking the securities in their portfolio,” Mr Nair says. “A goal-based approach or view towards investing can help motivate residents who may usually shy away from investment platforms.”
23-man shortlist for next six Hall of Fame inductees

Tony Adams, David Beckham, Dennis Bergkamp, Sol Campbell, Eric Cantona, Andrew Cole, Ashley Cole, Didier Drogba, Les Ferdinand, Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard, Roy Keane, Frank Lampard, Matt Le Tissier, Michael Owen, Peter Schmeichel, Paul Scholes, John Terry, Robin van Persie, Nemanja Vidic, Patrick Viera, Ian Wright.


Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Women’s World T20, Asia Qualifier, in Bangkok

UAE fixtures Mon Nov 20, v China; Tue Nov 21, v Thailand; Thu Nov 23, v Nepal; Fri Nov 24, v Hong Kong; Sun Nov 26, v Malaysia; Mon Nov 27, Final

(The winners will progress to the Global Qualifier)


July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Empires of the Steppes: A History of the Nomadic Tribes Who Shaped Civilization

Author: Kenneth W Harl
Hanover Square Press


Keep up with all the Middle East and North Africa athletes at the 2024 Paris Olympics

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