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Lotus vow 'a lot more to come' after 'difficult' first day

Having anticipated a significant leap up the pecking order in F1 2011, free practice in Melbourne only yielded more of the same for a frustrated Team Lotus - but all concerned are convinced the potential is there
Team Lotus has vowed that there is 'a lot more to come' from the T128 following a 'difficult' first day of practice for this weekend's F1 2011 curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, with a crash for Karun Chandhok, a variety of technical gremlins and problems in getting the optimum performance out of the Pirelli tyres limiting the team's running and frustratingly stymying progress.

Having shown encouraging potential with its new car during pre-season testing – threatening the established midfield contenders for pace on more than one occasion – that promise suddenly seemed to evaporate on the opening day Down Under, with Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli completing proceedings respectively just 20th and 21st on the timesheets, almost five full seconds shy of the benchmark and one-and-a-half seconds adrift of the driver directly in front of them.

The tone for the day was in truth set when recently-confirmed test and reserve driver Chandhok managed a mere three corners of the Albert Park Street Circuit in FP1 before losing control on cold tyres and dumping Trulli's car heftily into the Turn Four barriers, necessitating quite a repair job. To say that the likeable Indian was mortified at his embarrassing error would be something of an understatement.

“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,” the 27-year-old reflected. “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.”

Trulli himself echoed those sentiments, although both he and Kovalainen acknowledged that a number of factors outside of their control had conspired to make life far from easy for them.

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

“It was one of those days,” added a phlegmatic Kovalainen. “We had a couple of problems that the guys worked hard to resolve, and once we had got through the issues we managed to complete most of the programme, 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.”

On the positive side, Renault Sport F1 support leader Thierry Salvi reported 'encouraging' feedback on the engine front following the completion of a number of tests left outstanding from the pre-season – and whilst recognising that it was not the start to the campaign that they had either wanted or anticipated, Team Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne and team principal Tony Fernandes were keen to stress the positives.

“A difficult first day in Australia, although we managed to complete some good work at the end of FP2,” stated the Englishman. “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.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Tony Fernandes (MAL), Team Lotus F1
20.02.2011- Mike Gascoyne (GBR), Lotus F1 Team, Chief Technical Officer
25.03.2011- Friday Practice 2, Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Team Lotus, TL11
25.03.2011- Friday Practice 1, Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Team Lotus, TL11
25.03.2011- Friday Practice 2, Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Team Lotus, TL11
25.03.2011- Friday Practice 1, Karun Chandhok (IND), Test Driver, Team Lotus, TL11
09.03.2011- Jarno Trulli (ITA), Team Lotus, TL11
19.02.2011- Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Team Lotus, TL11
12.02.2011- Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Team Lotus, TL11
25.05.2017 - Free Practice 2, Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12
25.05.2017 - Free Practice 2, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.05.2017 - Free Practice 2, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.05.2017 - Free Practice 2, Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40 retires from the free practice 2
25.05.2017 - Free Practice 2, Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
25.05.2017 - Free Practice 2, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.05.2017 - Free Practice 2, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.05.2017 - Free Practice 2, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
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OMG - Unregistered

March 26, 2011 8:21 AM

P19 P20 same old, for a team that forcast Podiums and beating Williams, Torra Rosso and Force India they have gone backwards 6 seconds off,and all that with a Renault engine and Red Bull gearbox the car must be sh1t. I can see DNQ against them in the future, and Fernandes says he is happy with the quali result how stupid does that make him. Fernandes comments on another web site prove he is just a show man and knows only what Gascoyne tells him about motor sport. Fernandes is desperate to attrack new investors and on this showing he wont get them.

Azrai - Unregistered

March 26, 2011 8:34 AM

Fernandes BODOH, Fernades tweet the car looks like it has Malaysian blood , nothing Malay about this car or this team. It belong Gascoyne. Fernandes just Pelyan stick to Air Line business before that goes broke, BODOH

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