After initially hoping to get their first meaningful running on Tuesday after arriving at the circuit late on Sunday afternoon, the Lotus F1 Team were able to complete 41 laps of the Circuito de Jerez on Monday with their Mercedes-powered E23 Hybrid in the hands of Pastor Maldonado.
Although the day’s running was curtailed early when a drivetrain issue caused the Venezuelan driver to stop on track and cause the only red flag of the day, it was a very satisfying day for the entire team, including Technical Director Nick Chester.
“Seeing the E23 Hybrid on track for the first time was very satisfying and we owe a great deal of thanks to everyone at Enstone and everyone here at the circuit for the long hours which have been put in recently,” said Chester. “We also say thank you to our partners and suppliers for assisting us with what has been a very ambitious build programme.
“We had predicted that we’d probably just be able to complete a couple of shakedown laps today, but thanks to some fantastic work overnight we were able to run the car from this morning. The feedback from Pastor has been positive at what is a very early stage in the car’s test programme.
“We had a drivetrain issue this afternoon, but didn’t lose out on too much running as it started raining shortly afterwards. We can’t wait to get back out on track tomorrow.”
Maldonado admitted he was happy to be able to take the E23 Hybrid onto the track on Monday, and feels there is some potential in the car. He finished sixth fastest, almost five seconds off the pace, but feels ready to extract more from the car when he gets back into it on Tuesday.
“It was fantastic to get behind the wheel for the first ever lap of this exciting new car,” insisted Maldonado. “Even though it’s early days we achieved a lot today. It was already exciting to feel the potential of the car and I can’t wait to get back in the car tomorrow.
“We did stop running early, but then it started to rain so everyone else came in too so it was not a big drama. The car certainly looks fantastic and I know we have a lot of potential for the season ahead.”