83 laps for Gonzalez at Abu Dhabi

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F1 Test, young drivers test, Yas Marina Circuitae

The sound of Formula One™ engines returned to Abu Dhabi today as Lotus Racing’s young driver test began with Venezuela’s Rodolfo González at the wheel of chassis T127-03. After a full day in the cockpit Rodolfo completed 83 laps with a best time of 1.44.924.

Rodolfo González: “What an incredible day. As I pulled out for my first lap I could not believe I was finally at the wheel of a Formula One™ car. Since I started karting at the age of five it has been my dream to get behind the wheel of an F1™ car and today it came true. It has been 18 years of hard work and sacrifice to reach this point and I want to say thank you to Lotus Racing for giving me this opportunity. I have been preparing for today for a long time and even though I completed 83 laps to be honest I am surprised I lasted that long – after 30 laps I was already feeling it and by the 82nd lap my neck was beginning to suffer so I thought it was time to stop. That is normal for anyone who makes the step up to F1™ but I am really pleased with how the whole day went.

“Since I arrived here the whole team has been just great. They have all given me real confidence and said I did not have to try to impress anybody, you have already impressed people anyway so just do a good steady job and you will be fine. Mike Gascoyne told me today was not about proving I am ready for F1, but it would show if I am not ready so I just wanted to do the most intelligent job I could. I have learnt a huge amount over the last couple of days and tomorrow I hope I can continue to progress on track and put in another good performance.”

Jody Egginton, Chief Race Engineer: “Rodolfo did a good job for us today. He gave good, clear feedback, took a measured approach and spent the right amount of time learning his way around the car. This morning he drove steadily and started picking his pace up this afternoon when we moved to some more performance biased runs. The fuel loads and setups he was running would compare with a normal Friday at a race weekend, so he had the experience of both high and low fuel and a range of run types. He worked well with the engineers all day and studied the data in depth so I think for his first time in an F1™ car he has done a pretty decent job overall.”