With scheduled driver Kimi Räikkönen sidelined through illness, Davide Valsecchi and Romain Grosjean both took turns in the Lotus E21 for today’s test at the Circuit de Catalunya. Kimi's food poisoning of course hampered today's running for Lotus, but Grosjean's quick return still made it useful for the Enstone based team.
Vastly improved weather on day three in Barcelona meant that Davide made his E21 debut on a dry track, completing 16 laps of familiarisation and exhaust / aero assessments to set the eleventh quickest time of the day.
After a brief stop-over in Paris, Romain returned to take over for the afternoon; completing 46 laps and ending the day with the tenth fastest time.
Davide Valsecchi: “This morning was quite a rush to get everything ready as the call only came late, but the team were fantastic getting the car prepared for me. I only completed short runs today so I have a limited impression of the E21, however it’s clear that it’s a very good racing car. For me to be able to get immediately on the pace means that the car is certainly fast and competitive. It was a fantastic opportunity; I sat in the seat of a former World Champion so I knew that I’d be fast for sure.”
Romain Grosjean: “I certainly didn’t expect to be in the E21 again today so it was an interruption to a day off, but as interruptions go it was a pretty good one! The weather was definitely an improvement from what I’ve experienced so far and I was able to assess the new rear front wings; both of which feel improved over the initial versions. We ran with high fuel today so it wasn’t about lap times in the afternoon, but it’s all valuable data we’re getting for the car. I hope that Kimi is feeling better for tomorrow, but I don’t mind driving again if I have to.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “Obviously, our day was rather compromised because of Kimi being ill. We changed the car for Davide to gain valuable experience in the morning, then changed it over lunchtime to Romain’s settings. Despite the disrupted running, we still completed a Grand Prix distance worth of laps and were able to put valuable miles on our latest rear wing concept as well as evaluating a new front wing. Both look to be a step in the right direction so it’s likely we’ll use them in Australia. Davide did a great job at short notice and we know we can rely on him if he’s called upon again. If Kimi is well enough tomorrow, we will run him in the car, otherwise it will be Romain in action once more.”
Provided he is fit to return to the cockpit, Kimi will take the wheel tomorrow for the final day of pre-season testing.
Weather: Sunny, dry, ambient 9-17°C, track 11-24°C
Laps Completed: Romain: 46. Davide: 16. Total: 62