Former Lotus drivers Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti, and Nigel Mansell watched on as Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen qualified 20th and 21st for tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
Jarno Trulli said the position was reasonable, but his main goal in tomorrow’s race is just bringing the car home. “All in all not too bad considering the amount of running we had this morning. We had some bad luck this weekend but the team has operated very well, in a very professional way, and we just need a bit more time to make the step forward we need in terms of performance. Tomorrow we need to try and finish the race, collect some useful data to find out more about what is right and wrong with the way the car behaves, and make that our main aim – finishing.”
Kovalainen shared the sentiments of his teammate, and thinks the car should perform well the race distance. “The car was very reliable, which is good, and the performance was roughly where we knew we'd be. I'm reasonably happy – it probably isn't the best qualifying lap I've ever done, and maybe I didn't get everything out of it I should have done, but we have a good base to work from tomorrow. In practice yesterday the car felt like it would be good over long runs, and with the good reliability we have had we'll see what happens tomorrow. The most important thing is to finish the race, and then we'll see where we are.”
Mike Gascoyne was disappointed that the Virgin of Timo Glock will start ahead of his two drivers tomorrow, but is confident in the reliability of the Lotus. “It's a little bit mixed emotions today – we wanted to be the best of the new teams, and we just missed out on that by a fraction, but as the last of the new teams to have been given an entry, only six months ago, it's a fantastic effort by the whole team to have finished our first qualifying session. We now look forward to the race and with the strength of our reliability, and two very experienced race drivers, now it's all about finishing.”
Team Principal Tony Fernandes was also at the track – and he had nothing but positive comments for the team. “I'm happy, very very happy. It was fantastic to see Lotus back on the grid after a 16 year absence, and with the potential for so many things to have gone wrong, it's just great to have finished our first qualifying session. Jarno broke the two minute mark and that's a great achievement in itself.”
He also had something to say about the Formula 1 royalty that visited his team. “It was great to see Emerson, Mario and Nigel today. It shows we have credibility and it's a great endorsement from these legends that they see what we're doing and, in whatever way, want to be a part of it. The dream continues and long may it last!”