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25 March 2011

Australian GP 2011 - Team Lotus comments


Friday 25 March 2011

Karun Chandhok: "I'm obviously disappointed to have had such a short run for my first time in the Team Lotus car, but I put my hands up to it and totally accept it was a combination of a slippery track and less grip than I expected from the tyres that combined to put me out so early. I'm just pleased the guys could get Jarno out in the afternoon session and it shows what a great team this is that they could get the car fixed that quickly to ensure Jarno could get a decent number of laps under his belt in FP2."

Heikki Kovalainen: "It was one of those days. We had a couple of problems the guys worked hard to resolve, and once we had got through the issues we managed to complete most of the program so we have some good data to work through tonight. There is obviously more pace to come from the car so let's see what happens tomorrow."

Jarno Trulli: "The team worked really well to get the car ready for the afternoon session but we struggled a bit with a few issues that meant I couldn't really push. We'll work tonight on setup options and there are definitely some areas to look at where we can find some pace so I think tomorrow we'll be ok."

Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader: "Engine wise it was quite a good day because we managed to carry out a number of tests we had not completed in the pre-season running. We have had some positive feedback from the drivers from those tests, for example with the blown-floor strategy, so this has been a pretty encouraging day for us."

Mike Gascoyne: "A difficult first day in Australia, although we managed to complete some good work at the end of FP2. At the start of FP1 Karun was caught out by the slippery conditions and made a mistake which unfortunately curtailed his running. In the second session we had a fuel pressure problem on Jarno's car and an electronics issue on Heikki's car, both of which limited our running, but we were able to solve those issues and work through most of the afternoon's plan. For tomorrow there is a lot more to come from the car. We are clearly not quite where we expected to be in performance terms but we understand the reasons for that - it is proving quite tricky for us to get the best out of the tyres but we will work on that tonight and when we improve I am confident we will move up to where we expect to be in qualifying tomorrow."

Tony Fernandes: "It is good to be back racing and very satisfying to see our green and yellow vision coming together on and off the track. It was one of those days that are not so good for us but this is a continuous journey and while we have work to do I'm confident we are moving in the right direction for the year ahead. It is a real mark of where we are now that the comments from the rest of the team are expressing disappointment with today. As a Team Principal it is actually very pleasing to hear that a performance that a year ago we would have been thrilled about is now being seen as us not meeting our targets, and that shows us all just how far we have already come. The team may not see it right now but this is huge progress, so I am happy and looking forward to the rest of the weekend."

Saturday 26 March 2011

Heikki Kovalainen, Car 20: "Unfortunately the rear wing was stuck in the high downforce configuration for the second run which definitely masked the real pace there is in the car. We've also struggled with getting the most out of the tyres all weekend but I think the increased temperatures tomorrow will suit the car much more and we'll be in good shape to show what we can really do in the race."

Jarno Trulli, Car 21: "I've had a few issues with the power steering in practice but the team worked well to resolve that for qualifying and the car definitely felt better than it had this morning and yesterday. We'll clearly be much quicker when we can get the tyres up to full temperature so it'll be an exciting race for us tomorrow and I think we'll be in good shape to push the guys ahead who we were much closer to in the warmer conditions in pre-season testing."

Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader: "Firstly I want to say that the atmosphere in this team is very good. This means we are all able to work together very well and it's important that we can do that to get the best out of the car this year. From the engine perspective I think we are ok on usage and the drivers' feedback has been very good. Obviously to maximise the performance of the car the whole package can work better and I'm sure we can unlock the true potential of the car when we have worked through areas like the tyre usage."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "Both drivers did a very good job in qualifying today, despite both of them being hampered by issues - Heikki had a rear wing problem whcih meant he couldn't improve on his second set of tyres, and Jarno reported loss of grip on his second set so we clearly were not able to maximise the car's real performance today. However, I think that we have definitely taken a step forward in qualifying. We have been struggling to get temperature into the tyres all weekend, and have had some issues with the power steering, but we made significant progress in qualifying. On the positive side the tyre warm-up issues will be much better in the race and looking ahead I am very confident that we can get back to the level of performance we showed in winter testing as we continue through the early part of the season."

Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: "I am happy with qualifying. Obviously we are paying the price of the limited running we had in testing, but I have to admit I was a bit nervous before the session and having seen where we ended up I am pleased with what both drivers produced today. We continue to learn all the time and as this is essentially a completely new car we have to work hard on a number of areas to help us achieve our full potential, particularly on tyre management - the car looks like it has Malaysian blood as it clearly prefers hotter conditions! Despite that we are all looking forward to the race tomorrow, and with much more development to come here, in Malaysia and China, before we head back to Europe, I am happy with where we are today."

Sunday 27 March 2011 - The race

Heikki Kovalainen, Car 20 - qualified 19th, DNF: "Until the retirement I was very pleased with my own performance. I had a good start and was then staying with Alguersuari and Perez until the water leak brought my race to an end. I think this has been a bit of a tricky weekend for us, perhaps more difficult than we had anticipated, but we have some time now to analyse why the pace wasn't quite where we had expected it to be and to work on the reliability before we get to Malaysia. We're all ready to put in the hard work to make sure we keep moving forward, and these are still early days in the life of Team Lotus so we'll put in the hours and look for an improved performance in our home race in Malaysia."

Jarno Trulli, Car 21 - qualified 20th, finished 15th: "It was really good to finish the race and to show that there is some pace in the car, despite some of the problems we have had to work through this weekend. We now have a lot of very useful data we can use to help us move ahead in Malaysia and China and I think once we have got through these early teething troubles we will show that we have taken the step forward we want to this year."

Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader: "That is a good result for us. We were not able to finish the race with Heikki but with Jarno we saw some encouraging signs from the car's behaviour and I think we will be able to extract more performance from it in the next race after we have been through the data in more detail. For the first race with a Renault Sport F1 engine in a Team Lotus car this is a good day."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "After a pretty tough weekend I am very pleased with both Jarno and Heikki's race performances. We had an issue with water leak on the radiator on Heikki's car and soon after his pitstop that unfortunately brought an end to his race. He had been very strong on the options so that was a shame, but he had looked good until that point which is obviously encouraging. Jarno struggled early on with the prime tyres so we swapped him onto the options and he quickly found his pace. Our speed in the race was much more representative of the pace we had shown in testing so for Malaysia the target is to make sure we achieve that level throughout the whole weekend. In summary it was good to get one car to the end with solid pace and thank you to the whole team for some very good work all week."

Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: "I am happy. After a tense day to see Jarno have a strong finish in 15th and show good speed in the race is very pleasing. We knew we had a potential issue with the radiator on Heikki's car so when he had to pull over it was not a surprise, but the main thing for me today is that the pace we showed in the pre-season tests is back. We were able to stay with the midfield teams and that has been the stated target for this year so now we know we have a base to build on for the season ahead and some time to fix the radiator issue before we go home to Malaysia for the next race. With the work ethic and spirit in our team I am confident we will take another step forward in Sepang and we are all very excited about coming home again for the next race."