Disintegration – 2015 Spanish GP, Friday

Friday 8th May

Lotus F1 Team experienced a mixed first day of running for the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The team ran with three drivers, with Third and Reserve Driver Jolyon Palmer running with Pastor Maldonado in FP1 and Romain Grosjean returning to the cockpit for FP2 alongside Pastor. Romain ended the day as the fastest Lotus F1 Team driver, with a 1min 29.086 secs lap, the twelfth fastest in FP2.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director – Technical programme notes 

  • Both cars ran aero and set-up evaluation programmes in the first session with Jolyon evaluating a new rear wing and brake drums.
  • Pastor experienced a minor gearbox issue which stopped his session early.
  • The second session was predominantly focused on tyre evaluations, with Romain returning to duties alongside Pastor.
  • Romain’s car required a replacement of its engine cover after a bodywork fastener failed and the bodywork broke on track.
  • Pirelli’s hard (orange) compound tyre was used in the first session, the hard and medium (white) in the afternoon.

What we learned today:                       

  • The E23 Hybrid showed good potential to be well balanced with scope for improved pace.

Jolyon Palmer, E23-02
Free practice 1: P13, 1:29.676, 21 laps

Jolyon: “”It was probably my best FP1 so far from a driving perspective. 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 and I was in a nice rhythm. I’m certainly comfortable in the car and improving every time I get out on track so another valuable session for me and the team”

Romain Grosjean, E23-02
Free practice 2: P12, 1:29.086, 14 laps

Romain: “It wasn’t the best day for me as I sat out FP1 then we had a dramatic looking bodywork issue during the course of FP2. This means I’ll have quite a lot of work to do in FP3 ahead of qualifying tomorrow. Of course, we all know this circuit very well, but you always want as much track time as possible. On the plus side, we know there’s good potential in the car so if we can have a clean day tomorrow we’re capable of good things this weekend.”

Pastor Maldonado, E23-03
Free practice 1: P18, 1:30.110, 7 laps
Free practice 2: P14, 1:29.217, 34 laps

Pastor: “This morning was frustrating as I watched most of the session on the TV screens, but this afternoon was much more productive and we completed a good long run. We know this circuit can work well for our car and the weather is looking good so I think there’s potential for a strong day tomorrow then an even better day come Sunday.”

Nick Chester, Technical Director: “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.”