Lotus car updates given green light
Kimi Räikkönen went eleventh fastest whilst Romain Grosjean set the thirteenth quickest time as teams throughout the paddock got to grips with the Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas for the very first time.
Lotus evaluated new rear drums on both session on Grosjean's car and the latest exhaust evolution on Raikkonen's with both cars running reliably throughout the two 90 minute practice sessions. Kimi Raikkonen will continue tomorrow by testing the latest front wing in FP3.
The team used only the hard tyre in the morning and both available compounds in the afternoon, and given the amount of data gathered, Lotus also confirms that it will use the new exhaust update and the new brake drums on both cars for the remainder of the weekend.
Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05:
Free practice 1 : P14, 1:41.880, 23 laps
Free practice 2 : P11, 1:40.166, 32 laps
"It's a nice circuit to drive ; the sectors are quite different so there's a good challenge there. Of course,like with any new track there was no grip at the start of the day which doesn't give you a very good feeling, but as the grip improves it will be more fun to drive for sure. This morning was very slippery, this afternoon less so but you still can't really push and it's a bit tricky to find the limit. There's a lot of improvement to come - from the track surface and from the setup of the car - so qualifying will be pretty interesting."
Romain Grosjean, E20-03:
Free practice 1 : P15, 1:41.998 27 laps
Free practice 2 : P13, 1:40.286, 32 laps
"The most noticeable thing about the circuit at this stage is the lack of grip ; it's really, really slippery out there. The layout itself looks very nice but we're a long way off being able to push the car anywhere near the limit, particularly through Turns 7-9 and towards the end at Turn 19 where it's tricky to predict how the car will behave. The good thing is that the car felt comfortable on long runs with the hard tyre so we have a good starting point, but there is still a little bit of work to do with the mediums. We still have tomorrow morning and I think the track will continue to improve right until the end of the weekend, so qualifying will be interesting for sure."
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director :
"Despite being an all-new track, it's been a fairly normal Friday for us. The morning session delivered the expected low levels of grip with the surface improving hugely later on making any comparison tests very difficult. This meant we concentrated on keeping the cars balanced and spending as much time out on track as we could. FP2 was a mix of setting the cars up and then carrying out high fuel work, however both struggled to get a clear lap on the medium tyres. Neither driver was particularly happy with their set-up so we've got a little bit of work to do. Our high fuel pace looks okay, and we're confident we can deliver more on low fuel tomorrow."