2 February 2015
Jerez F1 Test: Maldonado ’positive’ after first day with new Lotus
Pastor Maldonado is optimistic that the Lotus F1 team will be able to banish the memories of last season after an initial run in the new E23 at Jerez.
Having not been expected to appear on track until late in the day at best, Pastor Maldonado was naturally happy to have got 41 laps under his belt with the new Lotus-Mercedes E23.
The Venezuelan gave the car its first run on the morning of day two at Jerez and, despite some niggling teething troubles that interrupted the day, was positive that the Enstone team had a better car on its hands than in 2014.
The day consisted largely of installation and functionality checks, before finally being cut short by a drivetrain issue during the afternoon, but Maldonado was optimistic that it was already heading in a more positive direction than lat year.
“The new car is looking good, but it is difficult to say anything else as we've only done a few laps today,” he noted, “It's looking completely different to what we had last year in terms of reliability and how the entire package is working, so quite a positive day.
“The mechanics and engineers did an amazing job to bring the car here today and 41 laps is.... maybe we were expecting to run a little bit more, but we had a small issue with the car, which is normal because we have changed a lot. We have a new engine, a big revolution in the car - it is another car, not a continuation of what we had last year - so it is quite positive.”
Dismissing the drivetrain issue as 'not a serious problem, and nothing that we cannot solve quickly', Maldonado admitted that it was too soon to make any real comparison between the Mercedes engine and the Renault unit it struggled with in 2014.
“[The Mercedes engine] is different, just different,” he opined, “It is difficult to compare them because we were more focused on mileage than performance. We're still looking at some programmes and taking aero data, so it is not the moment to release something about engine performance. For sure, it is different and working in different ways, so we are happy.”
After the tricky E22, the new car is already handling more to Maldonado's liking, even if, once again, he was reluctant to divulge too many details.
“[Driveability], for sure, is different,” he smiled, “The engine is working so good and it is amazing how the entire package is working with this engine, but it's still too early to say anything else about it. Mileage is the priority for this test, getting the engine to work with our package. We have a lot of new things on the car, so we need to test all of them and try to be more ready for the next test.
“We weren't looking for any performance and ran with a lot of fuel. We didn't touch the set-up, but the car seems to be consistent, quite reactive, easy to feel. The sensations are good, so it was a good first day.”
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