Lotus Renault returned to the track today for the second pre-season test in Jerez after a difficult few days for the team.
Renault and all their rivals had the Polish phrase ‘Szybkiego powrotu do zdrowia Robert’ added to their various liveries to show support for Robert Kubica, who was severely injured in a rallying accident on Sunday.
Vitaly Petrov was in the R31 today as the team concentrated on evaluating the new Pirelli tyre compounds, testing aero performance, and tweaking Petrov’s set-up. The Russian finished the day eighth fastest, and completed 57 laps.
“Things were much better for me today compared to Valencia and at least we managed to do quite a lot of laps,” said Petrov. “We still lost some time because the car had an oil leak in the middle of the day, but we made the most of the time on track and I managed to do some set-up work in the afternoon.
“At the moment it's important to understand how the tyres are working and we found there was quite a lot of degradation with the rears, and that's one of the reasons why it's difficult to find the right set-up. I also continued using the KERS and moveable wing today and that went well with no issues.”
Team principal Eric Boullier explained that Petrov lost some time early in the day, but said that he and the team were pleased to be back testing. “After a difficult few days, it's good for the team to be back at the track and to have our minds focussed on developing the car,” he said. “Things went pretty well, but it's early days and there is still so much for us to learn about the new car, especially at a track like Jerez with some high-speed corners. We had a small oil leak on the car in the morning, which kept us in the garage for a while, but the aero programme went well today and has taught us some useful things.”
Kubica’s condition continues to improve and he has today been moved from the Intensive Care Unit to the Department of Orthopaedics. He will undergo surgery on his humerous and foot tomorrow.