Kovalainen Has ‘Very Encouraging’ Day In Jerez

Heikki Kovalainen sounded very positive after completing 61 laps in the new Team Lotus T128 on Day 3 of the second pre-season test in Jerez.

“Today was very encouraging and I really enjoyed driving the car,” said the Finn, who was on his first day of testing duties in Jerez today. “I still have the same feeling that I had in Valencia – it’s fundamentally a good car and there’s a lot more to come from it. We managed to make very good progress today, even though we had a problem with the exhaust we still managed to get through most of the programme. The guys worked well to fix the problem, and by the end of the day we had made a number of setup changes, run through all the tyre compounds and had run on a variety of fuel loads.

“This morning we tried the DRS in race mode and even though I had thought the procedure to initiate it might be pretty complicated it actually all worked easily. Once you get used to it the system is pretty simple. I used it in both race and practice mode and it returns to position well so I have no problems under braking and am very happy with how it all works. By the time the day ended we finished right in the mix so we’re all pretty happy with the day’s work.”

Sporting Director Dieter Gass echoed the thoughts of his driver, and said that the team continue to make progress with the new car. “I think we are all quite pleased with how the day went,” he said. “The morning and late afternoon sessions were good and even though we lost some time on track around the middle of the day with the exhaust problem we were still able to learn a lot more about the car and complete most of the programme.

“One of the key learnings from today is with the tyres. I think there we have a lot more work to do to really understand how to get the best out of the tyres but we have definitely taken a step forward with Pirelli today. We also tested the DRS in race conditions today and it was our first chance to try the proximity system – that worked very well and it was good to see that in action as it will be used in race scenarios.”

Kovalainen will be back in the car tomorrow for the final day of testing in Jerez.