Back in Europe at the Spanish Grand Prix and the first action on track saw Lotus Racing complete 85 laps in total, and finish the day closer to the midfield than in the first four flyaway races, demonstrating for the first time that the team’s upgraded car has taken the hoped-for step forward in performance.
Comments from both drivers and Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne after the sessions reflected how the updates have helped both Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen push on track:
Jarno Trulli (Lotus Cosworth T127-03: 20 laps, 19th, 1.26.244 / FP2: 26 laps, 19th, 1.24.209)
“First day back in the car in Europe and I’m really happy with how we have progressed with the car. Obviously it’s still too early to assess it properly, but as soon as I got out on track I could feel that we had taken a major step forward. We have solved a number of the issues we had and we’re definitely in the right direction, so I’m really pleased for everyone in the team as they’ve put in a great effort to get us here.
“This afternoon we continued with the program and everything went really smoothly, on both the hard and the soft tyres. I must admit that I’ve been really pleased with the speed gain we’ve seen in the car and, again, that’s down to the work the team have put in with the car - all I need now is a little bit of luck, and a trouble free weekend!”
Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus Cosworth T127-01: FP1: 17 laps, 18th, 1.25.329 / FP2: 22 laps, 20th, 1.24.984)
“I’ve been really looking forward to being back in Europe and particularly here in Barcelona. It’s been great to see the grandstands already busy, and I’ve seen a load of Finnish flags out there. On track, this morning was a really good session and I’m very encouraged by the updates – they’re immediately working like we’d hoped. The car feels better to drive, the high-speed stability especially is better, and that’s what you get when the aerodynamics of the car improve.
“In the afternoon session it again went pretty well. There’s a couple of things we need to have a look at, but it felt good on both tyres and I think the upgrades have worked so we can be very happy about where we are.”
Mike Gascoyne: “Basically it was a good day’s work. The drivers have been very happy with the updates and we’ve been making adjustment to the improvements on the cars throughout the day to help us fine tune the updates. There’s a fair bit more time to come from the new package, and everyone in the team has worked very hard to get us to this point, so it’s great to hear such positive feedback from the drivers. Now we’re looking forward to building on this performance tomorrow and seeing where we are in qualifying.”