Romain Grosjean has said there are 'plenty of encouraging signs' for Lotus as the team gears up for the third and final 2013 F1 pre-season test at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.
Grosjean tested on days three and four last week in Spain and while the final day was something of a washout – and he only did 41 laps, less than half of that managed the previous day - he was still very upbeat about the test and the progress made by the Enstone-based operation, even if team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen had been hit by a gearbox problem and telemetry issues on his two days behind the wheel.
“I've been very lucky in that every time I've jumped in the car things have gone well, but the main thing is that the team has managed to get some good mileage on the board which is what we need at this point in the season,” Grosjean told the team's official website.
“We completed a full race simulation and a bit more on top of that during my first day on track [on Thursday] without any issues which was a big positive. Also, when you compare our performance during that long run with the other teams the pace looks competitive, so there are plenty of encouraging signs so far.
“I also spent a lot of time in the car on Friday, but this time it was in the garage and not out on track!” he continued. “It was cold and slippery out on the circuit and the conditions were worse than we would expect during the season. This at least meant [though] it was a good test of the performance of the wet and intermediate tyres. I'm happy that we had no issues [again] and the balance of the car was good in these conditions.
“I'm really looking forward to getting more laps in the car this week [now] and seeing the latest upgrade package as I'm feeling very positive with everything I've seen so far.”
Meanwhile, when asked about the tyres, Grosjean agreed that the 2013 Pirellis are 'throwing up a few surprises'. He also admitted that they are still trying to fully understand how to get the best out of them.
“The main thing we've noticed is that the tyres suffer from heavy degradation with graining on both the fronts and rears, whereas last season it was mainly just the rears and not to the same level. In the first stint of our race simulation I spoke to the engineers on the radio after just a few laps to tell them that the tyres were pretty much gone, but of course there were 66 laps to complete so you just have to adapt your driving style and try to get the best out of them,” he explained.
“They're not easy to manage for sure, but the conditions here didn't help; the temperatures and track conditions are not really representative of what we can expect during the season and that makes a big difference to the way the tyres behave. They're quite different to what we had last year and I think everyone will have to adapt a little to make them last.
“We've still got a bit of work to do before we fully understand the tyres, but with a good number of laps in our pocket we at least now have a better idea of what we need to do to make them work for us,” he concluded.