Tuesday 15th November 2011
Driver: Rodolfo Gonzalez (VEN)
Best time: 1:44.022
No of laps completed: 87
Jody Egginton, Chief Engineer: “It was a good day today for Rodolfo and the team. We completed the full run plan which is excellent for a young driver who was last in an F1 car a year ago. This morning we focused on getting the driver used to the car and reacquainted with the circuit and then ran an aero programme, which all went to plan. In the afternoon we ran a tyre programme, testing the 2012 Pirelli tyres with all the other teams. For the last run of the day we put the soft tyres on and gave Rodolfo the chance to measure his progress on track and put in some final quick lap times.
“He performed very well all day and did not put a foot wrong. His lap times came down throughout the day and I think he is pleased with what he has achieved today. He seems very happy with the car and gave good feedback throughout all his runs which is also reflected in his performance.
“The next couple of days will be a similar run plan, spending time with the drivers to get them used to the car and that programme will stay constant throughout the three days. We will also be taking a look at some new dampers and conduct more tests for Pirelli, including some longer runs which have been requested by them. There will be a number of other background items that we will run, but the main thing is getting the drivers used to the car and getting clear and valuable feedback from them.”
Rodolfo Gonzalez: “We did a few runs in the morning so I could get used to the car which I found very useful and it really helped to improve my style of driving. We ran some aerodynamic tests which took half of the morning, with many small adjustments and set-up changes, and then ran tyre tests on the 2012 Pirelli tyres. I’m very happy with the car, and the team have been absolutely fantastic and given me a lot of help today.
“I drove the T127 last year which is this car’s predecessor and I can really see the difference and improvements in the T128 and across the whole team. Obviously the Renault engine and Red Bull gearbox play a big role in the change of the car, but overall it feels as though it has more downforce and is smoother to drive. The rear end is also more stable which gives me the confidence to push into the corners and to get on the power early on the exits.
“It’s my dream to drive in Formula One so I’m really very thankful for this opportunity. I think I’ve showed I have potential with the lap times I did, and am pleased with my times overall. I’ve proved I can do the job and have really enjoyed this experience in the car and learned a lot for my future.”