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11 September 2011

Team Lotus comments on Italina Grand Prix 2011

Friday, Free Practice 1 & 2
Karun Chandhok, Chassis T128-03 (FP1): "I'm pretty pleased with the performance this morning. The car felt OK from the first laps and it was good to get some more time under my belt in the cockpit. Friday mornings are always pretty limited running, particularly when the track's got that light covering of dust on it, but today I was focusing on some aero evaluation and we got through that program so I think I did ok today."

Heikki Kovalainen, Car 20 - Chassis T128-04: "That wasn't too bad but we can definitely improve. This morning's session was brought to an early end with a sensor issue on the gearbox and I was given the instruction to pull over when the engine temperatures started rising.This afternoon we worked on both sets of tyres and I think the softs are ok but we weren't really able to get the best out the mediums which gave us some areas to work on tonight on improving overall grip."

Jarno Trulli, Car 21 - Chassis T128-03: "That was a trouble free Friday afternoon for me but honestly I'm not all that happy with the balance of the car at the moment. There's quite a lot of understeer on turn-in and through the exit of the corners and we need to work on dialling that out to find more speed. There's definitely more to come and we've shown all season we can take good steps forward from Friday to Saturday, so I think we'll be ok tomorrow."

Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader: "This morning we worked with Karun on engine mapping and he did a good job for us collecting a lot of data we can use on both race cars this weekend.The chassis he was in, which reverted to Jarno for the afternoon session, completed decent mileage throughout both sessions, but this afternoon we struggled a bit with Jarno in the car, and we need to spend some time this evening to make sure we can progress for FP3 and qualifying."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "That was a bit of a difficult Friday for us. It started well this morning with Karun doing a good job running through an aero evaluation program and it was good for him to have a full session in the dry. For the race drivers, the main problem today was getting heat into the harder tyres and I think we may find that improves with increasing the downforce levels tomorrow. Both Jarno and Heikki were reporting that they could not find enough grip and as that is linked to both tyre performance and the downforce package the goal is to solve that for tomorrow and unlock the speed we know is in the car for qualifying."

Riad Asmat, Group CEO: "That was not one of our best Fridays. Despite completing a pretty decent number of laps we struggled to find grip on both cars all day so the main challenge now is for the engineers to work through the data that we have accumulated and improve our speed tomorrow. We know we can increase performance levels in all areas for FP3, qualifying and the race, and that is the focus now for the remaining sessions."

Saturday, FP3 & Qualifying
Jarno Trulli, Car 21 - Chassis T128-03: "I'm really happy with the job the team has done today and I think I got the most I could out of the car, particularly on the second run. There's only really one line here in Monza - it's not a particularly technical circuit but you need to be extremely precise and with the power steering system we had in Hungary back on the car I'm able to feel my way around the whole lap, which gives me the chance to put in laps like I did to get into the 1.26s. The car has definitely improved since yesterday - we found the balance we were struggling for in FP1 and FP2 and I think that puts us in a good place for the race tomorrow."

Heikki Kovalainen, Car 20 - Chassis T128-04: ""The car felt good today but I struggled a bit to get the ultimate lap time out of it this afternoon. I don't really know why so I'll have a look at the data with the engineers and see where we could find some time, but the good thing is that we have definitely improved since yesterday which shows we keep on going in a positive direction all the time. Even after that I think we didn't qualify too badly and are in a reasonable position to fight tomorrow. Jarno is strong here and it will be a good battle with him tomorrow. The important thing is to keep the gap to the guys behind us and look ahead, not behind. I think we'll be ok."

Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader: "It has been quite a good day for us. Overnight we quite substantially changed the setups on the cars which gave us a fair amount of work to do in FP3, but it looks like that has paid off as the feedback from both drivers has been much more positive today. Jarno was particularly strong on his home track in qualifying, and I think he and Heikki will both be in a good position to fight tomorrow."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "After yesterday I think that was a pretty good qualifying session. We finally found the performance we knew was in the car and with both drivers happy with the balance we can be pleased with the job we did overnight and this morning. Jarno in particular was much more happy with his car and he could have found a few more tenths on his quickest lap but for the traffic that held him up in the final sector. Heikki was not quite as happy with the balance of his car, but he also put in a good performance, as did the whole team, to get the best out of what we have today and now we look forward to a strong race and a solid two car finish tomorrow."

Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: "Firstly I am thrilled to be back on track after a few races away - nothing beats F1 and I am very pleased with the performance today. Last night I was a little nervous after a slightly disappointing Friday, but we had a good conversation with the whole team and I think we did very well today. This is the type of track where KERS plays an important role and without that this year we are always going to struggle, but to have kept a respectable gap to some of the teams ahead is quite pleasing. I noticed some of what Eddie Jordan said on the BBC this afternoon and I take that sort of comment as a positive - he is not alone in wanting to see us keep moving further up but Rome was not built in a day and our plan has always been worked out over the long-term. We cannot rush this and we always knew that securing tenth place in the first two seasons would give us the platform to build for a secure future, so we are on target to achieve that. Over the next few weeks we will unveil some more of the plans for next season and beyond, and having seen the development plan for next year's car I am confident the foundations we have laid will help us reach where we want to be. Hopefully in years to come people with the experience of Eddie will be proud of what we have achieved, and we will take his comments as a positive force for us to keep pushing on."

Sunday, race
Heikki Kovalainen, Car 20 - Chassis T128-04: "I had a great start, passing Jarno and then seeing the HRT coming into T1 in a pretty hardcore style so I avoided that and was then up into a good position early on. I managed to hold that place for a good number of laps and found the tyre degradation pretty easy to manage. The pitstops were really good today - the calls to come in were made at the right times and the whole crew did a great job to get me out so quickly, so thanks to them and the whole team for a good end to the weekend."

Jarno Trulli, Car 21 - Chassis T128-03: "For once I didn't have a great start but I managed to avoid the crash at the first corner and luckily Heikki and I were able to get through that and avoid damaging our cars. While I was racing Heikki, I think Massa got into trouble into the first chicane, so I had to go off track to avoid hitting him. When I rejoined the track he shut the door on me, so I went down the inside, kept flat out and managed to overtake him. Then, going into the first corner I had two faster cars behind me with KERS - they had just pressed the button and while going into the second corner Massa lost the car under braking and hit me which forced me into the car next to me, damaging the front end of the car and the front wing. It was really unlucky as I was basically in a sandwich and I was the only one that was damaged! The team did a great job to bring me in , change the nose and then rethink the strategy, switching me to one stop strategy pretty much straight away. From there my lap times were really good and I enjoyed the whole of the rest of the race. I'm really happy about the performance today and the pace was excellent all afternoon. In fact, throughout the whole weekend I have been very happy with the pace of the car overall and this morning's news about next year's contract has made this a fantastic home race for me - thanks to the whole team for that!"

Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader: "From the engine perspective that was a pretty tough race but one that we are very pleased to have finished so well. Jarno's pace today was really good - he was easily able to pull away from Timo once he passed him and to have both cars finishing so closely together after the incident Jarno had is a very positive result. Monza is extremely testing for the engines as the drivers spend so long at full throttle, but we managed to get both cars home without any problems so that is a good afternoon for us and the whole team."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "That was a great race for us. Both drivers managed to avoid the carnage at the start but then Jarno lost a bit of time early on after being hit by Massa. That incident meant we had to bring him in to change his front wing, putting him back a few places but we switched his strategy and put him onto a long stint on the soft tyres tyres before changing to the mediums. That change, and the fact he was pushing throughout the whole race, helped him get back in front of his direct opposition and he did well to finish 14th. Heikki was also strong all afternoon and was holding the places he had gained at the start as long as he possibly could - we are all delighted that he brought his car home in 13th without any issues at all as that was the primary goal for today. After a difficult Friday this performance was a great recovery from the team to show how we can bounce back from a difficult start to the weekend. It is been an extremely positive result which sets us up well for Singapore, so well done to everyone."

Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: "It has been a great day for Team Lotus and, for me, about the best race I have been to so far! To come 13th and 14th at Monza is way above my expectations so I am very proud of both drivers and the whole team. Obviously the race had a number of incidents which helped our final grid positions, but there are two key points for us to take out of today - we were there at the end to take the advantage of the positions that were available and our pace over the race distance was strong enough to keep up with a number of the established teams. Both Heikki and Jarno did an absolutely fantastic job throughout the whole afternoon and they were helped by the pitstop crew who performed brilliantly, and the engineers who made the right calls at the right times. Well done to all. This has been a pivotal few days for our team and we will be making anumber of announcements over the next few weeks that will show just how well we have laid the foundations for the future of our team. But now for me it is back to London and Loftus Road!"