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8 April 2011

Team Lotus - Malaysian Grand Prix 2011

8 April 2011

Davide Valsecchi: "It was nice, so nice and such a good feeling to be in the car here in Malaysia. My lap times weren't incredible as I had a bit of an issue on the last run, so I didn't have the chance to test the car with the different tyre set up which would have given better times. It's hot and a bit humid, which never makes it that easy, but the track was fine. The car felt really good but with the limited time I had it was important to take it easy and not push the car to the limit. Heikki gets back in this afternoon and I'm sure he and Jarno will do a good job for the team, so let's hope for a good race this weekend."

Jarno Trulli (car 21): "We managed to get through most of the program but the fact the traffic held up my quickest lap I think masks how we're really looking in outright pace. It's a bit tough as we have had a great build-up to the race here, and the support we have had from the fans and the media in Malaysia has been just great, so we'll work hard to make sure we put on a good performance tomorrow and on Sunday."

Heikki Kovalainen (car 20): "That was just one of those days. I went out in the second session and felt something go at the rear so came straight back in. It looks like a differential problem and despite the fact the guys worked really hard to try and get me back out the time beat us. However, we'll work on it overnight, and on the data Davide and Jarno have collected today and get back on with it tomorrow."

Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader: "I think we have done a good job today. We have learnt a lot about the engine behaviour here at Sepang and that puts us in a good position for qualifying and the race. We have completed a lot of work on the qualification maps and we have had some good feedback from the drivers on that part of the program. With all of this in mind I think we will be able to extract more performance from the engine in qualifying tomorrow so we'll look to confirm that in FP3."

Mike Gascoyne: "Today really was a day of two halves. This morning we had a pretty good session, with Davide having his first run in the car here at Sepang and he did a good job for the team, although his last run was cut a bit short. With Jarno we tried both the hard tyre and the development tyre and have good feedback on both. This afternoon we had what looks like a differential problem on Heikki's car which meant his afternoon was cut short, so apologies to him for that. With Jarno we managed to complete most of the program, despite changing his power steering, but unfortunately when he was on the soft tyres traffic held him up which meant he wasn't able to extract the maximum speed from the car. Despite this it is clear that the pace of the car is closer to the midfield than we were in Melbourne and now the onus is on us to make sure the reliability issues are solved and give the drivers a chance to show what the car can really do."

Tony Fernandes: "The day started very well off track, with the announcement that Dell has upgraded their relationship with us to become an official Technical Partner. When a company of the stature of Dell wants to increase their partnership with us it is a clear sign that we are going in the right direction, so that was very positive. On track it was a day of mixed fortunes. It started well but ended up fairly mediocre, but there are still many positives that have come out of today. If Jarno had not had traffic issues we would have been much closer to being able to show our true pace than we were in Melbourne and even though we keep being dogged by reliability issues we are still very excited about the weekend ahead and what will happen in qualifying tomorrow."

9 April 2011

Heikki Kovalainen, Car 20: "That was a great session for us and I'm really pleased with how we've performed. After yesterday, I didn't really know what to expect going into today's sessions but the guys have done a great job to give me a car that is totally different to yesterday. As soon as I went out on track this morning I could feel there was a huge improvement in every area and we have had no reliability issues at all today so I was able to really push. I've enjoyed the whole day and I felt like I was able to get the best out of the car in all the runs. There's still a bit more to come so I think tomorrow will be a really interesting race for us, particularly when you see how close we are to the midfield, and with the pace we know the car has in race trim."

Jarno Trulli, Car 21: "Today's performance is obviously a lot more positive for the whole team. We had no issues with the car in either session and I think we got pretty close to showing what the car can really do. FP3 was very useful and we have also taken some good data from qualifying itself as we tried to get the best out of the car. The plan for tomorrow is to keep consistent and reliable, take our chances when they come and be there at the end. It is a long and very hot race where anything can happen but I think we are ready for it, so let's see how it goes."

Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader: "That was a much more solid performance from the whole team, particularly compared to Melbourne where we were not able to show the true pace of the car. We have looked strong all day, especially in qualifying, and I think that we have found improvements in a number of areas that have contributed to the step forward today - cooling, engine mapping and the car behaviour in general, I think this is a good result all round. The improvements are very encouraging for us and I think that seeing it here at Sepang is particularly pleasing as it is tough on everyone's engines, so for us that goes down as a good day."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "A very very good day for the team, however we are left feeling a little disappointed because we felt we had a real chance of getting into Q2. We had no problems on the cars at all today which meant we were able to show the true level of performance that we had seen in winter testing, and ultimately we were very close to Q2 on merit. The drivers did a great job and the whole team has worked very hard to turn everything around from yesterday, and from Melbourne.

"In Heikki's last run he made a couple of small mistakes and we could have been even closer, but, looking at the positives, we are all looking forward to the race tomorrow. Tyre degradation will be very important here - it will be an interesting Sunday for the whole grid and at last we have a car with which we can go and take the fight to the midfield."

Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: "Words cannot express how happy and overjoyed I am right now. To see 18 months of hard work come good with us finishing within a couple of tenths of teams that have been around for a long time, and less than a second away from the midfield pack, that is an amazing achievement. It is made even more satisfying after what has been a pretty hard winter test program, taking on the issues we have been working through and, honestly, not a great start to the season - but this is a great feeling. Both Heikki and Jarno know there's more to come from the car, and we feel good about the race this weekend. The aim is to keep our reliability and bring two cars home. I am really proud of the team, particularly after such a hard winter, so I take my hat off to every single one of them for keeping up the progress and helping us reach where we are today."

10 April 2010

Heikki Kovalainen, Car 20 - qualified 19th, finished 15th: "That was a pretty good race all round. The balance was good on both sets of tyres and I think the strategy worked well for us - we pitted at the right times and we didn't have any problems all afternoon. I think we can be pleased that after a difficult Friday we showed the sort of performance that the winter tests had given us hope we could do so now it's about continuing development of the car and keeping up the pressure on the guys ahead. China will be a good test of how the car behaves in cooler conditions so the goal will be to repeat this kind of performance there and keep on pushing."

Jarno Trulli, Car 21 - qualified 20th, DNF: "Unfortunately a clutch problem brought my race to an early end which is pretty bad luck as we were looking ok at our home grand prix. I had a tricky start with the anti-stall kicking in but I recovered and then after the first pitstop I locked a front wheel coming out and had to make up ground again. I got past Timo but then the clutch gave up, which is a shame as we looked like we have started to show what the car is really made of."

Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader: "It was a good day today, especially for the overall package of the car. Although only one car came home at the end of the race, it was a good result as engine wise it was not easy this weekend - this track is particularly hard on engines due to the very high temperatures so overall we are pretty pleased. We fixed the issues we had on Friday and we are going in the right direction. We have had some great feedback from the drivers this weekend and I am sure we will find some more lap time next week, and looking ahead to China we will be able to make some positive changes based on the results we have from here."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "A very strong race from both drivers although unfortunately Jarno stopped in the garage with a clutch sensor problem. We looked to do a two stop strategy with both cars. We might have struggled with Jarno as his tyre degradation was slightly higher, but it worked well with Heikki. Overall our pace was very good at the end, particularly when we were with the leading cars, and we were very close to passing one of the Torro Rossos as we came over the line which shows how we have progressed. This weekend has been by far our strongest race performance since we came back into Formula One, so it is good to be racing again."

Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: "Well I think we can officially say we were racing today! It was a real shame about Jarno as I really wanted two cars to come home but Heikki drove a fantastic race and was really pushing the Toro Rossos in the final few laps - maybe with a couple more laps he would have passed one of them. He kept pace with cars that were much faster than us during qualifying so I'm thrilled that we have recorded 15th at what was a very tough circuit, so huge congratulations to the whole team and well done to everyone."