After watching Pastor Maldonado top days one and three and test driver Jolyon Palmer take to the track on day two, Romain Grosjean finally got his first running of the week around the Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday, and ended up with the fastest time of the whole week in his Lotus-Mercedes E23.
He felt positive about the progress made with the car, but despite the team ending three days with the fastest time, he believes it is still too early to make any judgements about where they will be in the final pecking order when the Australian Grand Prix gets underway next month.
Grosjean, who has only had two days in the car so far during the testing season, was happy to get out on track, even if conditions were difficult with the wind.
“It was great to get behind the wheel of the E23 once more,” said Grosjean. “Conditions were pretty tricky with quite a bit of wind, especially early on, but the car ran well, meaning we could complete the tests we wanted to – even if I had to modify my lines in the morning because the wind was pushing the car!
“We made some good improvements with the balance and set-up over the course of the day and it felt a lot better after we made changes for the afternoon.
“We completed a very promising mileage and it’s always good to see your name at the top of the timing monitors, even if it is far too early to know what everyone else is doing.”
Technical Director Nick Chester felt the four days in Barcelona were positive for the team with good mileage put on the E23, with positive feedback from all three drivers. He was also encouraged by the reliability of the new car, which compared to a year ago was like night and day.
“We’ve enjoyed a solid first test in Barcelona with good reliability and encouraging performance,” insisted Chester. “The biggest positive we have seen so far is the reliability of the E23 which is enabling us to push along with our assessments and evaluations over the course of 361 laps or 1680km.
“It was good to have Romain in the car so we could add his feedback to that we’ve already received here from Pastor and Jolyon. Today was particularly windy, making it harder to work on car balance assessments, but we conducted a productive race simulation in the afternoon as well as other performance evaluations.
“During this test, we’ve completed plenty of laps so we have plenty to be working on over the next three days before we’re back in action here.”