Heikki Kovalainen was fastest of the new team’s drivers in Friday practice for Lotus Racing as he finished the day nineteenth. Teammate Jarno Trulli was twenty-first.
Unexpected rain this morning in Abu Dhabi meant that the track was slippery for the first 90-minute practice session. In this session Kovalainen was replaced in the car by Fairuz Fauzy, who struggled on the damp surface. “I'm pretty satisfied with how it went today but it was tricky for the first few laps,” said the Malaysian rookie. “After the rain, which I think took everyone by surprise, the track was quite damp in places, and combining that with the fact I could only use one set of tyres, meant I couldn't really push. Despite that it was great to be back in the car, and I think I did a good team job today.”
Kovalainen was back in the car for the second session, and seemed happy with his performance as he finish ahead of the Virgin car of Timo Glock. “It was good for me today,” said the Finn. “As soon as I went out this afternoon the car was on the pace which was an encouraging sign for the weekend. Fairuz had set up the car very well this morning and with no issues all day we were able to get through the whole programme and finished in a strong position ahead of Timo.”
Trulli had the luxury of being in the car all day and also reported no issues. “It was a pretty smooth Friday for me, with no problems in either session,” he explained. “We did some good work evaluating the tyres and saw pretty high degradation so I think we'll need to keep an eye on that for the race. The balance of the car was good – we still have to improve it but all in all it was a positive day.”
Mike Gascoyne agreed that the team had a successful Friday in Abu Dhabi, and is hoping this continues into the rest of the weekend. “Two good Friday sessions for us at the last race of the season,” said the Lotus Chief Technical Officer. “We had no mechanical issues all day which we hope to carry through the whole weekend. Fairuz drove for us in FP1 and gathered some useful data from his run and both Jarno and Heikki put in some good mileage this afternoon which sets us up well for the weekend.”
And Team Principal Tony Fernandes also had some very positive words as Lotus prepare for the final qualifying session of the 2010 season. “It was a good day for us and it's always satisfying to finish at the head of the new teams,” he said. “Fairuz did a good job this morning, particularly bearing in mind he has had very limited running all season.
“Both cars completed a decent number of laps in the morning and afternoon sessions which allowed us to complete all the setup work we had planned and, despite this being the last race of the season and after a long journey from Brazil at the weekend, the whole team looked good today.
“Everyone is ready for the final push and I think it will be an exciting weekend for us and for the whole grid.”