Friday’s Free Practice sessions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya presented the team with a few challenges and it is now concentrating on preparations for Saturday’s Qualifying session. Third and Reserve driver Jolyon Palmer drove in FP1 alongside Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean was back at the wheel of the E23 Hybrid for the second practice session. The French driver ended the day fastest of the Lotus F1 Team drivers with a 1min 29.086 secs lap, the twelfth fastest in FP2.
The team today concentrated on its usual Friday programme which included aero and set-up evaluations in the morning. However, Pastor’s first session came to an early end as he experienced a small gearbox issue which was then solved and he was able to continue and complete his programme in the second session of the day.
Pastor said: “It was frustrating to miss some of the session this morning but in the afternoon we ran without problems. Maybe the balance of the car could have been a bit better but perhaps that was because we lost a bit of preparation time earlier in the day.” “I’m hoping for a good day tomorrow,” concluded Pastor.
For Jolyon the morning session ran a bit smoother and the Brit was satisfied with his running in FP1. “It was probably my best Free Practice so far from a driving perspective,” commented Jolyon. “It was helpful knowing the track well and I could push early on but there wasn’t a lot of grip with it being the first session of the weekend. It was quite windy as well but I got down to a good pace," he continued.
Romain was at the wheel of the E23 Hybrid for Free Practice 2 in the afternoon. Early on in the session a bodywork fastener failed and bodywork broke whilst on track. The issue cost the French driver some valuable track time. “These things happen and it certainly looked quite impressive on track,” said Romain.
“The car balance is not yet exactly where I would like it to be but we have some ideas and we are working on them with the engineers. The objective is still Q3 for tomorrow and to give our very best”, he continued.
Technical Director Nick Chester shared his thoughts and remains positive for the weekend ahead: “That was something of an interesting day for us. Jolyon had a straight-forward and productive FP1, whilst Pastor’s car suffered from a minor gearbox issue which curtailed his running. Pastor then enjoyed a good FP2 including a long run, whilst Romain’s car suffered from the failure of a bodywork fastening and the resultant bodywork disintegration and dispersal. Despite the two maladies we’ve collected good data today and even ended our FP2 session with a 2.1secs pit stop so the crew are clearly fired-up for the weekend ahead.”