Lotus F1 Team’s 2012 challenger, the E20, topped the times during the first day of testing at Jerez with Kimi Räikkönen at the wheel. The Finn completed 75 laps around Jerez, setting a best time of 1:19.670.
Kimi Räikkönen: “It was a positive first day of testing and everything went almost to plan. We had no major issues and I got a good feel for the car and the tyres. The tyres were more of a challenge in the afternoon when we ran with a scrubbed set, but overall it was a positive day. The lap times don’t matter today. I’m happy with the balance of the car, which feels good, and the fact that we didn’t have any major issues. Also, I did more than a race distance today and did not have any physical problems at all, which is good. I’m looking forward to making further progress with the car tomorrow.”
James Allison, Technical Director: “It was a flawless morning with a slightly interrupted afternoon as we changed the second of the KERS batteries which we ran today. Overall it was a very promising day in terms of reliability and it gives us a good springboard for the rest of the test. So far Kimi’s feedback on the car has been complimentary in terms of the balance, the braking and other features. The steering is slightly heavy for his liking at the moment, but we already have a different steering rack being completed which he will use in Barcelona
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “We enjoyed a strong first day with the E20 in both performance and reliability and this is a testament to all the hard work done by everyone at Enstone over the winter. It’s always nice to be top of the timesheets, but the main encouraging factor from today is the car’s reliability; apart from a small KERS problem this afternoon it was fautless. We ran on the medium compound Pirelli tyre all day and it seemed to hold up pretty well, showing similar degradation to that we saw last year, so I think there’ll be exciting racing once more in 2012.”
Kimi will complete his running in the E20 at Jerez tomorrow, before handing the car over to team-mate Romain Grosjean for the Thursday and Friday sessions.
Weather: Sunny, air 5-17°C, track 6-25°C
Programme: Systems checks, temperature monitoring, data correlation, evaluation of the performance of the car with its initial aerodynamic package.
Classification: 1st, 1’19"670.
Interruptions: KERS battery change in the afternoon.