Lotus drivers experience tricky grip levels along the track

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Singapore, Marina Bay Street Circuitsg

As the action returned to the track Fairuz Fauzy deputised for Jarno Trulli in FP1, whilst Heikki Kovalainen showed good pace in the humid conditions to finish the day’s two practice sessions in 15th and 19th places respectively.

Friday in Singapore began with a momentous announcement off-track when Team Principal Tony Fernandes confirmed that Lotus Racing will become Team Lotus for the 2011 FIA Formula One™ World Championship and beyond.

Heikki Kovalainen, Chassis T127-01:
FP1: 12 laps, best time 1.56.603, 15th
FP2: 30 laps, best time 1.51.878, 19th “It was a pretty good Friday practice and I’m pleased with where we ended up. Track conditions like today make it interesting for the drivers, especially on the dry tyres, as it’s slippery and wet in some places, then good grip in others. We’ve found a good direction with the set up today, particularly in the second session, and both of the tyre compounds worked well. The long runs seemed promising so I’ve got to say it’s one of the good Fridays!

“The track is improving too. The bumps are still there, but they feel less severe, and overall there’s a very positive feeling around the whole place. The heat doesn’t feel so bad this year either so I’m really looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”

Fairuz Fauzy, Chassis T127-04
FP1: 11 laps, best time 2.05.694, 24th
“The wet-dry track conditions meant we limited our running in the first session today, to avoid using up tyres, but when I got out on track it felt good to be back and we managed to get some useful data from the run. I’ll be back in the car in FP1 in Abu Dhabi and hopefully it’ll be dry there so I can get maximum time in the cockpit.”

Jarno Trulli, Chassis T127-04
FP2: 27 laps, best time 1.53.526, 22nd
“We did a good number of laps in the second session, but I had a few problems with the engine driveability and with braking – it’s really difficult to feel the car when you have these kinds of problems, but let’s wait and see what tomorrow brings.”

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer:
“Overall it was a reasonable Friday, although we couldn’t find the perfect balance on either car. Jarno in particular was not happy with his setup, so we will work on that tonight and see what happens tomorrow. It was good to see Fairuz back in the car, and with the tricky conditions this morning it was difficult for him but he did a good job, so overall we’re satisfied, but I think there’s more to come tomorrow.”

Tony Fernandes, Team Principal:
“On track, it’s been a reasonably satisfying day for all three drivers and the whole team. We think we have a lot left in the cars, and while Heikki was happier today than Jarno, we’re confident that in qualifying Jarno’s professionalism and experience will see him get what he wants out of the car, as he always does.

“Off track, today really was an exceptional day. There have been so many special days in our story so far, but for me it feels like the Team Lotus announcement we made this morning is all about the future. A year ago Mike and I were walking around Singapore talking about where we wanted to take a new racing team. Today we have established the future of our brand and we are thrilled about that. This is not about the legacy and the historic rights of Team Lotus – that is very well handled by Clive Chapman. His father Colin’s legacy is something we respect, and we are very proud to be part of it, but we played no part in creating that. Today’s announcement about Team Lotus was about solidifying our future, and moving forward under new leadership to try to bring more glory to a great name. We have a long way to go, and over the next few weeks more announcements will be made that will provide a clear view of our strategy for next year and beyond, but now it’s about our team rising up the grid and becoming a serious competitor. We have shown that we are a serious team, and that we are here to stay, and everything now is about our future being in our own hands.”