Lotus Racing outclassed the other new teams in Saturday’s qualifying session at the British Grand Prix, Heikki Kovalainen finishing 19th and Jarno Trulli 21st, after an exciting session which showed the team’s upgrade package has kept them at the front of the pack chasing the midfield teams. The team enjoyed a royal visit just before qualifying, HRH Prince Andrew The Duke of York stopping by the Lotus Racing garage and being shown around by Team Principal Tony Fernandes and Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne.
Heikki Kovalainen (Chassis T127-01) Qualified 19th, 1.34.405, 9 laps “I’m pleased because I’m in the position I targeted for qualifying, but even though we’re the fastest of the new teams, that wasn’t my best qualifying session this year. It was pretty tricky out there today – it was windier than in FP3 and I found the balance wasn’t quite where it had been this morning. Nevertheless, we’re in a good position and good shape for tomorrow. The car feels good on the heavier fuel load, so I think we’ll be ok. I also want to say that Jarno did a great job out there – to be within half a second after the bad luck he’s had all weekend is great, and I hope we can get both cars home tomorrow. That’s the main goal, so let’s see what happens.”
Jarno Trulli (Chassis T127-04) Qualified 21st, 1.34.864, 10 laps “I’m pretty happy with my result to be honest – I managed to learn the circuit very quickly, almost having to do so during qualifying as the problems I had on Friday and Saturday meant I’ve had very little time on track! Qualifying was the first time I managed to really push the car, as a hydraulics problem had cut short FP3, so, overall, I’m happy and my position is better than I expected.”
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer “I have mixed feelings after qualifying. Again we had some mechanical problems with Jarno this morning, which meant that going into qualifying he had only completed 12 laps over the whole weekend on the new circuit layout, so he had a very difficult task in front of him and did a good job to be as close in time to his team mate as he was.
“Heikki had traffic on both his runs, which was a shame as he could have got a little more out of the car had he had a clear run, but he was ahead of the other new teams so that’s a positive. Overall it’s been quite a difficult weekend so far but we’re looking forward to the race tomorrow and are focusing on getting both cars to the finish.”
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal “We did as well as we could have expected with not a lot of running this weekend, but well done to Heikki who probably could have gone faster if he had not hit so much traffic. Jarno did exceptionally well, having only run a few laps all weekend, and that’s what his pace, experience and knowledge gives us. It was great to see the Lotus Racing flags in the crowd, and a lot of green and yellow shirts and caps. Tomorrow, hopefully, we can make them proud, bring two cars home and put on a show worthy of the efforts of the team.”