Heikki Kovalainen was first driver to test the new Pirelli tyres as he rolled out of his Lotus garage early on Friday morning for the first day of the two-day tyre test in Abu Dhabi.
On a busy day, the Finn completed 88 laps of the Yas Marina circuit, but is disappointed that he must now hand his car over the team-mate Jarno Trulli for the second day of testing. Overall though, Kovalainen said that his first day with Pirelli tyres was a positive one.
“It's good to welcome Pirelli back into our sport and we had a good day on track, completing the whole programme and the balance of the car felt very comfortable all day,” he said. “Honestly, I would like to drive the car again tomorrow but now we have a long break until testing starts again in a couple of months and I can't wait to get back in the car next year.”
Mike Gascoyne explained how the team approached a day spent gaining valuable experience of the new Pirelli rubber. “An interesting and very useful first day of testing with Pirelli,” said the Lotus Chief Technical Officer. “We had no mechanical issues on the car and managed to complete our full programme in 88 laps. The car was ballasted up to the 2011 weight limit for the day and we ran a series of fundamental tests within the parameters we could change with the tyres and in the afternoon we found some clear and useful setup directions for the engineers to work on.
“We set our quickest lap of the day at the end of the session on a pretty worn set and all of the data gives us very useful information that we will carry over to tomorrow when Jarno is back in the car for his first taste of the new Pirelli tyres.”
Saturday, the final day of the Pirelli test, marks the end of on-track action in 2010. Teams return to testing on 1st February 2011.