Korean Grand Prix Preview – Team Lotus

Heikki Kovalainen, Car 20 – Chassis T128-04: “Last year was obviously the first race in Korea and while we had a pretty interesting race day, it was good to be in another new country and keep taking our sport to new places. This year I’m sure the whole event will step up another level and be even better and I’m looking forward to getting back there to see how the track has progressed, and how we’ll do now we have a car that gives us a chance to fight in the race. The circuit itself is interesting – it has the classic long straight with a tight turn at the end that gives a good chance to overtake, and Pirelli’s tyre choice of the softs and the supersofts and the high degradation levels we expect to see will make strategy even more important.”

Jarno Trulli, Car 21 – Chassis T128-03: “Having Japan and Korea back to back is pretty tough on the whole team, but as a driver we train to deal with this sort of schedule, so physically it’s not too hard. Korea is one of the few track that run anti-clockwise and while that doesn’t really affect the set-up it can have an effect in the cockpit by pushing muscles that aren’t always stressed at other races, but as I say, we just get on with it and you get used to it pretty quickly. The track is a bit stop-start – you don’t really get a chance to build up a proper rhythm, not like you do at somewhere like Suzuka, but I still enjoyed myself there last year, even though my race came to a pretty early end, so this year I want to make sure we get to the end and keep pushing towards the end of the season.”

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: “This is our second visit to Korea but if it stays dry on Sunday it will be a bit of a leap into the unknown as last year’s race was run in such wet conditions. The tyre choice there and the strategies we deploy to manage the degradation levels, particularly on the options, will determine how our qualifying and race will run, but we have already completed a good deal of work back at the factory running simulations so despite what happened in 2010 we still have a good idea of what to expect on Sunday.
“The track itself is one of the typical modern circuits. It is a mix of low and medium speed corners with a long straight out of T2 leading to a very tight right-hander at T3 that presents an obvious overtaking opportunity, so we have to set the cars up with the right balance to suit the differing needs of each sector. The long straight means top speed is important but even though the track evolves over the weekend, it is still relatively low grip, so the cars tend to be set up more for understeer, to help deal the drivers deal with that lack of grip.”
Tony Fernandes, Group CEO: “The whole team is looking forward to going back to Korea, and while I will not be at the race itself this year, I will be watching every session from Europe and I am sure the team will keep fighting to secure that all important tenth place in this year’s championship.
“I was delighted when I first heard that Korea had been awarded its own race – it is an important location for AirAsia and last year we were given a very warm welcome, despite the weather! I am sure that as Formula 1 keeps breaking new ground, especially in parts of the world like Asia where there is so much passion for our sport, and so much talent for us to unearth, that we will be seeing more new venues following Korea’s lead and establishing themselves on the F1 map and the fact that our team is part of that is a source of great pride for me, and the whole team.”