Fairuz Fauzy admits he was honoured to become the first driver to run in the new Lotus F1 car ahead of its official launch in London this evening.
The Malaysian driver, who will hold a test and reserve role this season, completed a private shakedown of the car at Silverstone earlier this week with the team joining its rivals for a first test proper next week in Spain.
Despite the fact that he was unable to drive the car in anger, Fauzy said his early impressions of the car were positive; adding that he felt the team was in for a good debut year in 2010.
“After 15 years Lotus has returned to the track; in the past great names like [Ayrton] Senna and all those other drivers raced for Lotus, and for me to be part of the history is amazing,” Fauzy told Crash.net Radio
. “Some of the mechanics and other people in the team were very emotional.
“It's a big step for my career – Formula 1 is always a dream for any driver, and I have already been there once before in '07, when I was a Spyker test driver. Now there are more restrictions with no fuel stops, which will make the cars heavier to drive. I think it's going to be a good challenge – not just for me, but for everyone.
“I must say I was very impressed with the car; everything was positive. We had no problems at all the first time out on the track, and that's a good sign for us. Of course, we need to work a bit more to fine-tune the car, but from the beginning I had a good impression and feeling about it – and I hope we can build upon that and become even more competitive. Of course it will be a learning year for us, but I hope it will also be a good year for Lotus F1.”
Fauzy's earlier role with Spyker ultimately came to nothing and the Malaysian insisted that he was keen to ensure that his role with Lotus wouldn't just be a single-year deal.
“That is my aim,” he said. “To be a reserve is already good for me – I don't see why I should start straight off as a race driver, and at least in this position I can learn new things and learn from more experienced drivers in my first year and gain a bit more experience with the car.
“This year, I have a feeling that we will be the most complete of the new teams; hopefully we can beat our rivals to be the best of the new teams, and of course we're going to try to move up and beat the midfield – and from there we're going to work to be at the top. Of course, we need to have a programme to work from, but I think with that we can achieve what we want to.”TO LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW IN FULL: CLICK HERE