Lotus F1 Team enjoyed a strong first day of running at the Shanghai International Circuit with team Third and Reserve Driver Jolyon Palmer running for the first time in a Grand Prix practice session.
Jolyon ran in Romain’s car in the morning with Romain returning to the wheel in the afternoon. Romain ended the day as the fastest Lotus F1 Team driver, with a 1min 39.142 secs lap, the ninth fastest in FP2.
Palmer was given his first outing in an official Grand Prix weekend and clearly relished the opportunity.
“I've been waiting to get my hands on the E23 during a Grand Prix weekend and the experience didn't disappoint. The track was quite green which provided its own set of slippery challenges and I had to learn the circuit quickly as I hadn't driven in Shanghai before but overall I'm happy with P15. I was able to complete a decent tally of laps and test the limits of grip on a couple of occasions on the fresh track. It was great to be out on track and mixing it on a Grand Prix weekend."
He focused on aero and set-up evaluation, as well as Pastor Maldonado in the other E23. Both cars ran with aero rakes early in the session. The second session, with Grosjean and Maldonado behind the wheels was predominantly focused on tyre evaluations, with Romain returning to duties alongside Pastor.
Lotus' Trackside Operations Director, Alan Permane proved satisfied by Palmer's performance.
“A solid day for us with no issues to report. Jolyon did a great job for the first time in the car in an official practice session and ended the session just outside the top ten and only six tenths off of Pastor’s lap time so that was a strong first effort."
Looking ahead to the rest of the weekend, Grosjean proved a bit happier with the car than Maldonado, but it appears not to be a major concern for Permane.
"In terms of the rest of the weekend, Grosjean proved Both Pastor and Romain made good progress with their set-ups and there’s further time to be found. We’re looking forward to seeing what’s possible tomorrow.”