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Lotus impressed as Raikkonen hits track

24 January 2012

Lotus team boss Eric Boullier and trackside operations engineer Ian Permane admitted they were impressed with Kimi Raikkonen after the Finn completed the first day of his return test with the team in Valencia.

Raikkonen is spending two days at the wheel of a 2010-spec Renault R30 to get reacclimatised to F1 machinery after two years in the WRC, with the run in older machinery being allowed under F1's testing regulations.

The Finn enjoyed a trouble free opening day as he completed nearly 300km around the Valencia circuit, and Boullier said he was impressed with his quickly his new driver had settled into the team.

“I must say today was very positive,” he said. “You can see that the whole team is pleased with Kimi's feedback, and Kimi himself seemed very happy to be back behind the wheel. He got the feel of the car very quickly and it's good to see him building a strong relationship with the team.

“Obviously, the R30 is different to the new car, but he is clearly excited to get started at the first test in Jerez. Our team is made up of true racing people, and Kimi fits into that very well.”

Permane was also pleased with Raikkonen's performance and said the team was looking forward to working with the former champion during the year ahead.

“The day went pretty much as we planned, which is great,” he said. “Kimi was on the pace we expected straight away. He completed around 300km, going through three sets of tyres. It leaves us with four sets for tomorrow, meaning we can run a bit longer. We worked on getting him comfortable in the car, giving him a feel for the setup changes, and helping him get to know his engineers.

“It's always great to work with a top driver who is not just quick, but professional, and Kimi has all of those characteristics. His feedback is excellent, his requests are concise and to the point.
We're looking forward to a good season with him.”


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