Wet conditions in Jerez greeted Lotus Racing as the team arrived on track with Heikki Kovalainen taking over driving duties for Thursday and Friday. First out on track at exactly 9am, Heikki completed his installation lap and returned to the pits to give positive initial feedback to the team about his first drive in the Lotus Cosworth T127.
30 laps later and a small mistake saw the Finn leave the track, bringing the team’s day to an early close, but not before useful data had been accumulated and more insights into the car’s performance had given Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne reasons to be positive. “Unfortunately a small off and a lack of spare parts curtailed the amount of laps we were able to do today, but fortunately we’ve got spare parts arriving this evening. Up to that point we had got on top of some reliability issues from the previous day and the car was running very smoothly. Although we have lost some track time, the changing conditions made it very difficult, so we haven’t lost too much and we’ll be ready to continue with Heikki in the morning.”
Heikki added his thoughts, saying: “My initial feeling from the car is good – it fundamentally feels right. I’m disappointed the day came to an early end, but feel good about the team and I’m looking forward to getting back in the car tomorrow.”
Team Principal Tony Fernandes made his first visit to the Jerez test to see the Lotus Racing team in action and left feeling very positive: “Still a great day in many ways. You get the highs and the lows and you get the reality but overall I’m happy. The team is very motivated, there’s a lot of good morale and, while it’s unfortunate Heikki went off, these things happen. Something else I’m very pleased with is the reaction from the public to Lotus Racing. We’re going out there to tell the world what we’re up to and, judging by the phenomenal Twitter response we have had, we have already made an impact on the fans.”
[press release from Lotus Racing]
Lotus Racing has enjoyed a successful first day of testing at Jerez with driver Fairuz Fauzy completing 76 laps without problems, and completing the 300 kms needed to gain his Super Licence, subject to FIA approval.
The team was among the first cars on track in wet conditions, and, despite a lack of power steering, due to supplier issues, Fairuz successfully fulfilled all his and the team’s objectives for the day.
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer, said “It’s been an excellent day for the whole team. Firstly I want to say a big thank you to Fairuz who did an excellent job today with the first proper day of running. With so much going on, such as doing systems checks, it can be a pretty disjointed day for the driver. When you add into that the changeable conditions, and also the fact we were running without power steering today, it could have been a tricky day for Fairuz but he didn’t put a foot wrong so well done to him and a big thank you.
“With the car we had no major reliability issues – a few niggles with overheating which were quickly solved and then the car ran pretty faultlessly. The power steering issue will be fixed for tomorrow so all in all a very successful first day and a busy evening ahead preparing the car for tomorrow.”
Fairuz Fauzy was also delighted with his first day behind the wheel of the Lotus Cosworth T127, saying “First of all I want to thank the team. To arrive here and complete 76 laps is fantastic. It was a big challenge, both to complete the 300kms I need for the Super Licence, and with no power steering it was difficult to drive in the dry, not so bad in the wet, so I was driving a bit conservatively but I am just very pleased.”
Finland’s Heikki Kovalainen takes over driving duties for the next two days (Thursday and Friday) before Jarno Trulli joins the action on Saturday.
[press release from Lotus racing]
Lotus F1 Racing became the latest Formula 1 team to launch its 2010 challenger, as the wraps officially came off the new car in London on Friday. The new car – named T127 – carries the same colours as the original Team Lotus cars from the 60’s and 70’s.
“The launch of the car is a very proud moment for the design team and the whole team,” said Paul Gascoyne, the technical chief of Lotus F1. “This one is very special for me personally for two reasons – firstly the Lotus name coming back into F1 is something very special. I grew up in Norfolk, went to school five miles down the road from he original factory. I grew up in era when Lotus was winning races and championships, so the opportunity to work with this team is very special. But also it is the challenge of bringing a new team and a new car into F1 in such a short space of time.”
Added team owner Tony Fernandez: “We know we have a huge burden on our shoulers, standing on the shoulder of giants – Clark, Moss, Hill, and Mansell. We know we have a tremendous journey in front of us, we are honoured and cherished to be a part of history – we will leave no stone unturned in our efforts and we will do our best to return Lotus to its glory days.”
[via Autosport, pictures from Lotus F1]