Abu Dhabi Young Driver Test Day 1 – Lotus Renault GP

Abu Dhabi, Tuesday 15 November 2011

Robert Wickens remained in Abu Dhabi for day one of the Abu Dhabi young driver test as he clocked up 78 laps for Lotus Renault GP.

Driver: Robert Wickens
Chassis: R31-04
Fastest Lap: 1:42.217
Position: P3
Total laps: 78

What we learned today:

  • The focus today was for Robert to gain experience with the R31.
  • We used the day to good effect to do some testing. Robert drove well and consistently.
  • Robert gave very good feedback, we had some new systems on the car so we have a lot of good information; his consistent driving helped us.
  • We ran a set of Pirelli 2012 tyres and this will give the Pirelli Engineers some data to look at.

Robert: “I’m pleased with what we achieved today. I learned so much with everything, and Lotus Renault GP did an amazing job. The car really feels fantastic to drive. It has been fun and I can’t thank Lotus Renault GP enough for the opportunity they gave me to drive for the team. I’m glad I was able to drive in a car that put me towards the top of the grid. I was hoping to be in the top three today and to be third is really good. Obviously you can always find ways to improve but I’m sure that will come. I was surprised how different the Pirelli Prototype 2012 was compared to the normal 2011 tyre – I did a long run at the end with heavy fuel and I was able to do a very consistent 20 lap run towards the end of the day on the soft tyre, which is a good sign for next year I think. It’s the first time I’ve been able to do consistent, long runs and to really start understanding the tyres. I trained very hard all season, prepared for this young drivers test and I’m very proud of myself. I just wish I could stay a couple more days.”

Alan Permane’s technical programme notes

  • It’s been a productive day. We had a little bit of a slow start because we had a slight problem with the front suspension, but we quickly got over that and continued with the rest of the programme. The day has run pretty smoothly.
  • It was more about mileage for our new parts rather than performance, so we are looking at the reliability and collecting some data on a few changes.
  • Robert drove and worked well with the Engineers and he gave us good feedback.