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26 September 2011

Team Lotus comments on Singapore Grand Prix 2011

Free Practice 1 and FP 2, 23 September 2011

Heikki Kovalainen, Car 20 - Chassis T128-04: "I was pretty pleased with where we ended up, but obviously we wanted more running in P1.The fire this time was much smaller than last year, and with brakes at the temperatures they run it's not uncommon to see them catch like that, but it wasn't a major issue at all and we got where we wanted by the end of the day's running. I think we can keep getting more from the new package here - there's definitely a couple more tenths in there so let's see where we are tomorrow night."

Jarno Trulli, Car 21 - Chassis T128-01: "I didn't have the best runs today, but I'm still relatively happy with where we finished. We were able to get good temperatures into both compounds, but traffic and the red flags ruined both my quick laps so I don't think we really showed what's in the car yet."

Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader: "The disruption this morning meant we could not learn as much as we were aiming to in FP1, so the pressure was on in FP2 to complete as much of the programme as we could. The data we accumulated in that session will help us make sure that we can give the drivers the best maps we can to maximise traction and fuel economy at a track which is pretty hard on engines, and I think we will be ok for tomorrow and Sunday."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "That was a pretty hard day's work for everyone in the team. The first session was obviously disrupted before it even started and then the red flags affected the whole grid. Jarno's programme suffered from the stoppages and Heikki had a small off on his third run in FP1. Once he came to a halt the high brake temperatures meant he had a small fire in the front right but it was not a big issue and once we had the car back it was sorted out quickly. With Heikki's car and some changes to Jarno's setup the team had a lot of work to do during the break to turn both cars around and worked extremely well to have both cars ready for FP2. The second session was more productive and we were able to evaluate the aero updates we have brought here and it looks like we have made another small step forward. We will know more after going through the data tonight and then look forward to a good qualifying session tomorrow.

Riad Asmat, Group CEO: "I think everyone up and down the pitlane had a disrupted FP1 with the track issues just before the session, and with Heikki stopping out on track we were looking to make sure we completed as much mileage as we could in FP2. I am not too sure what it is about Heikki and fire here in Singapore, perhaps our Finn thinks it is not quite hot enough for him here in Singapore, but the car was pretty much unscathed this time and the guys worked well to clean it up and get him out for FP2. We are reasonably happy with where we ended up - there is more to come on the super softs and both drivers are giving us positive reports on the updates we have brought here, so I am pretty happy with where we ended up."

FP 3 and Qualifying, 24 September 2011

Heikki Kovalainen, Car 20 - Chassis T128-04: "I'm pretty pleased with that. I got held up on my second run but still managed to get within a second of the car ahead and I think I got close to getting the most out of the car I could. We definitely improved in FP3 and the wear rates weren't too bad so I think we're in good shape for tomorrow. It's a long race, and one where the safety car will probably play a role in how it all ends up, so the aim for Sunday is clear - make sure we get both cars home to the end and put ourselves in a position to take advantage of what happens ahead."

Jarno Trulli, Car 21 - Chassis T128-01: "Honestly I've struggled with the car all day and even though I managed to get much closer to Heikki in qualifying I'm still not all that happy with where we are. The guys in the garage have been working really hard all weekend to fix one or two problems we've had, and I want to thank them for getting the car to the point where I could get that quick laptime out of it, but now it's about getting to the end of the race tomorrow in one piece."

Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader: "We worked very hard last night on improving the driveability of the engines and the braking stability and give ourselves the right choice of engine maps for qualifying. The results prove we made the right choices and as this track has such specific demands on the engine, in terms of traction and maximising fuel economy, I think we have put ourselves in the right place to be able to push tomorrow. This is one of the hardest tracks on fuel economy in particular, so even though we are already good in that area, we have a specific map for the race tomorrow that I think will give the drivers a chance to push when they need to, and help to make sure they can both finish the race."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "A reasonable effort from us in qualifying today. Jarno was not happy with his car in either session today so we need to look at why that has changed since yesterday. With Heikki his first qualifying lap was good but on his second run he was compromised by the cars ahead when he would have definitely gone quicker, so it is encouraging to know there is still more outright pace in the car than we extracted today. The aim is the same as it always is for us on Sundays - have a strong performance, bring both cars home and do the best we can to push the cars in front."

Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: "I am encouraged to see that the upgrade we have brought here has pulled us a little closer to the cars ahead but qualifying tonight was possibly not our smartest day in the office - we sent Heikki out just behind Liuzzi which definitely compromised his quickest lap, but on the positive side the changes we made overnight helped us to retrieve the couple of seconds we seemed to have lost yesterday. We know that we can mix it with a couple of the established teams on race pace so we need to make sure we have a good start, use whatever chances we can to overtake, something that is particularly difficult here, and get both cars home across the line."

Race, 25 September 2011

Heikki Kovalainen, Car 20 - Chassis T128-04: "I'm really pleased with the performance today and we should all be happy as it was a great race from the whole team. The pitstop strategy worked out well for us and the boys worked brilliantly to get me out quickly each time, helping me make sure I could stay ahead of Petrov at each stop. The car felt balanced throughout the whole race and the tyres worked well so I was able to pull away from Petrov and ended up finishing strongly in 16th. It's also good that the upgrade we've brought here has helped us take a small step forward and I think we'll see more from that in Suzuka where it will come more into its own. After a race like today I can't wait to get back in the car, so we leave Singapore feeling pretty good about the last few races of the season."

Jarno Trulli, Car 21 - Chassis T128-01: "I had another really good start and was ahead of both Renaults and the Toro Rosso. They were pushing me but the car felt great and I was able to keep ahead of them pretty comfortably, coming out of the first stop still ahead and feeling good on the second set of tyres. Then Jaime hit my left rear and I had to come which was pretty disappointing - it's just bad luck really, but that meant I had to try and fight back which I did my best to do until the gearbox problem meant I had to pull over. I'm pleased for the team that we were able to fight from the start and I think it's a good sign that we could do so well in the race, but now we move on to Japan and I hope we can keep pushing on there."

Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader: "I think we can be pleased with how we Heikki finished but again the luck was not with Jarno. Another good start put him in a very good position early on and even after his first pitstop he was still in good shape. After that the puncture meant he had to give up the positions he had won at the start which is obviously very bad luck but it was fortunate that Heikki was able to push throughout the whole race and finish in front of the Renault. I think that is a good car and it shows that our car is getting better and better. Engine wise it was all ok for us. We managed the temperatures the pressures well and had no issues on either car so I think we can be pretty happy with how it ended."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "Mixed reactions from me because that was possibly our strongest race performance, particularly early on, but it obviously did not end for Jarno as we would have wanted. Jarno drove a very good first stint and by switching the strategy and stopping Heikki early we were able to control the cars behind us that we were racing at that point. When we pitted Jarno we got him back out in front of the cars he was racing but unfortunately Alguersuari hit him, causing a left rear puncture and ruining his race. He kept pushing when we got him back out but finally he had to stop with a gearbox problem. Heikki drove a very strong race and it was good to beat one of the Renaults on pace today, both on track and in the pitstops. It is a shame we could not get both cars to the finish, but this was still a very good performance from the whole team."

Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: "For me that is probably the best race we have had in our short life in Formula One so far. Heikki drove an outstanding race and was able to keep pace with a lot of the cars around him, and pull away from the cars behind, and he made the most of the new package we brought here to finish very well. Jarno again suffered from bad luck and maybe the strategy we gave him was not the best, but we called it as we saw it and I am sure we will learn from how his race worked out. I am delighted for everyone back at the factory to see their hard work on the upgrade work out well on track, and I think we can look forward to a strong end to the season, knowing we can fight with established teams around us when the opportunities arise."