Gascoyne happy as Lotus complete testing programme
Norfolk-based Lotus are happy with their Formula One testing progress as they turn attention to the start of the season in two weeks' time. Hot weather in Barcelona provided the backdrop for the final day of the final four day pre-season testing session, before the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 14 opens proceedings for the 2010 campaign - Lotus' first in 16 years.
Norfolk-based Lotus are happy with their Formula One testing progress as they turn attention to the start of the season in two weeks' time.
Hot weather in Barcelona provided the backdrop for the final day of the final four day pre-season testing session, before the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 14 opens proceedings for the 2010 campaign - Lotus' first in 16 years.
Finnish driver Heikki Kovalainen took the Lotus Cosworth T127 completed 65 laps yesterday in the five month old challenger, after two days of work from his experienced Italian team-mate, Jarno Trulli.
Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne said on yesterday's test: "It was a game of two halves as they say; we had a good morning where we were able to complete all our plans but a problem with the programme change on the gearbox delayed us in the afternoon, which meant we weren't able to do as much running as we wanted.
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"Overall, however, the test has been extremely productive - in general we've had very good reliability, and the team is in very good shape going to the first race.
"Considering the length of time we've had to work on the project it's a fantastic effort from the whole team. Everyone has worked exceptionally hard over the two tests and we now have to work on the pace of the car and improve that, but it's been a tremendous effort from the whole team and I'm very proud of them."
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Lotus admit consistency and completion of races are the key goals for the first four rounds of the new season, with the team hoping aerodynamic updates scheduled for the Barcelona Grand Prix will improve the pace of the new car.
Kovalainen was 11th from Sunday's runners, nearly five seconds off Lewis Hamilton's pace-setting McLaren, while Lucas Di Grassi brought up the rear for Virgin Racing, a further 0.9sec back.
Briton topped the timesheets in Barcelona as Hamilton, 2008 world champion, racked up 134 laps around the 2.875-mile Circuit de Catalunya with his best time of one minute 20.472 seconds 0.02sec faster than Mark Webber's Red Bull.
Less than 0.1sec covered the top three as Ferrari's Felipe Massa finished third. Fourth place went to the Force India of Adrian Sutil, the German once again displaying the sort of place which indicates the Silverstone-based team could be top-10 contenders come Bahrain.
Sebastian Vettel, who shared driving duties with Webber at Red Bull on the final day of testing, posted the fifth-fastest time from his 76 laps this morning, while Michael Schumacher was sixth for Mercedes. Rubens Barrichello suffered a spin on his way to seventh for Williams, ahead of Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber), Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso) and Robert Kubica (Renault).