Kimi Raikkonen completed the first laps with the Lotus F1 Team's 2012 challenger, the E20, this afternoon at Jerez in Spain.
The 2007 F1 world champion managed 22 tours in total, following a 'presentation' of the E20 to press and partners in an 'event' at the circuit. The E20 had been officially launched online on Sunday evening.
The laps were undertaken at non-race speeds for filming purposes, but nevertheless it allowed the Finn to gain initial impressions of the car under crystal blue skies at the 4.4 km test venue. It also gave the team an opportunity to validate that the assembly of the E20 was fully operational and all systems were working.
“It's great to see the E20 at a race circuit and even better to get behind the wheel,” said Raikkonen, who is returning to F1 after two years in the WRC. “It's always frustrating to be in a new car and not be able to drive it at maximum attack, but thankfully I will have that opportunity for the next two days.
“My initial impressions are good, I fit comfortably in the car and it feels great in first and second gear; now let's see what it can do tomorrow.”
Lotus plan to run on all four-days at Jerez, with Romain Grosjean taking over for days three and four on Thursday and Friday.
“The main purpose of the first test is to complete as many laps as possible with the E20,” added Lotus trackside operations director, Alan Permane. “This allows us to assess if all systems are working as they should and highlights if there are any areas requiring our attention.
“We monitor all systems to ensure that everything is operating within the correct temperature range, and functioning as designed. Although we have a very early version of the aerodynamic package here, we are able to validate the track data against our CFD and wind tunnel information.
“Assessing Pirelli's latest compound and construction tyres is another objective in Jerez. Although it is quite cold here in the morning, we expect representative track and ambient temperatures during the day, so we should get a good initial impression of their performance with the E20.
“Jerez is not a circuit we race on, but it is a good test venue with a range of high-speed and low-speed corners as well as a mixture of kerbs.
“Today's filming runs allowed us to perform initial systems checks; now the hard work begins,” Permane concluded.
TO SEE PICTURES FROM THE LOTUS F1 E20 MEDIA LAUNCH AND KIMI'S FIRST FEW LAPS IN THE E20, CLICK HERE