Lotus press release
FREE PRACTICE ONE
Grey clouds and damp conditions greeted the teams as the Formula 1 circus rolled into Albert Park this morning, with intermittent showers resulting in limited running for the majority of the paddock
At just after 12:30 local time, Kimi and Romain launched their E20s out onto the circuit in flying formation, the former opting for intermediate tyres and the latter the full wet option.
With the install lap and various related tests completed, the drivers jumped out for a brief break before their first full runs. Unfortunately for Kimi the break proved to be slightly more elongated than originally planned, as the mechanics sprung into action to investigate an issue with the steering. While things ran more smoothly for Romain, the mixed track conditions did not provide an ideal scenario for the Frenchman to get to grips with the Albert Park circuit – a venue he had yet to experience in his racing career to date.
Nevertheless, Romain got his head down and completed 16 laps, with a best time of 1:30.515 putting him in 16th place.
The steering issue now resolved there was just enough time for Kimi to complete one short run before the chequered flag dropped. His best time, a 1:29.565 set on his last flying lap, proved good enough for 9th place despite the Finn notching up just 8 laps.
With blue skies starting to break through and the Aussie V8 race now underway, hopefully track conditions will prove more favourable for the second Free Practice session scheduled for 16:30 local time this afternoon.
FREE PRACTICE TWO
With rain dominating the second practice session at Albert Park this afternoon, the opening day of the Australian Grand Prix proved to be useful if not spectacular for Lotus F1 Team
The team completed limited running today due to the inclement weather conditions. With forecasts suggesting that both Saturday and Sunday will be dry, there was little to be gained and potentially a lot to be lost by running on a wet track, and so it was decided that discretion was the better part of valour on this occasion.
The session was not a complete waste however, as in the narrow window of dry running time the team used each of the allocated Pirelli tyre compounds allocated for this event; medium / soft dry tyres, and intermediate / full wet tyres.
The combination of wet and dry running also showed positive results in a number of key areas, demonstrating that the E20 has a solid baseline wet set-up, and works well on high fuel loads in dry conditions.
The standings at the end of the session placed Romain in P14 with a best lap of 1:32.822 from his 11 attempts, while Kimi ended the day in P18 with a best lap of 1:34.275 from just 7 attempts.
Despite a stop-start opening day here in Melbourne, the atmosphere in the garage is decidedly optimistic as the team heads into the first real test of the season tomorrow afternoon, when the qualifying sessions will reveal the true running order at this early stage of the season.