Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Lotus almost as good as Alonso's Renault at his best days

The new Lotus car, E20 built for Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean, is so good that it is even dared to compare to Renault R25 car in which Fernando Alonso got his first world championship in 2005 - against Räikkönen in McLaren.

Technical Director James Allison and track operations manager Alan Permane were Alonso's trusted men in Renault at the time.

Prior to testing the new car both of them named R25 the best car which they have worked with.

- It looked cool and aggressive from all point of view. I really liked the color, all the appendages, additional wings, exhaust pipes in the chassis, and about all that current rules, unfortunately, no longer permits, Allison praised.

- R25 was a fantastic car. Very easy to setup, predictable and fast. Drivers loved it, Permane pointed out.

- While last year we went wrong, we now know we have done a good car for this season. Not only aerodynamically, but also mechanically E20 is highly functional package.

Räikkönen and Grosjean have one after each other praised the good feeling the car has given from the beginning.

Grosjean took the new car immediately to third position on the grid, and Räikkönen proved it's competitive strength by raising from 17th in the grid to 7th at the finish.

- When tyres of other cars started to slip at the end, our just improved all the time. If there had been more laps, I would have been able to improve the place even more than I had time to do at the final lap, Räikkönen calculates.

Lotus ready to prize fight

Perman assured the team have enjoyed co-operation with Räikkönen when the Finn immediately took over the situation in his first visit to the factory at the end of November.

- I don't see that Kimi was anyway rusty after his break from F1, but if so, the last of it was shaken off in Australia. After the break, it's always good to get one race done. Kimi can continue to be better prepared for Malaysia, Permane said.

What can we wait from Lotus at the weekend then?

- That we get both of our drivers clearly to top ten in qualifying and then to fight for podium finishes. Our cars will certainly work very well in Sepang. Both of drivers are similarly fast and belongs to the top, Permane acknowledged.

Räikkönen was annoyed when changing the helmet together with driving little wide caused the setback of losing the possibility for pursuing the podium finish in the opening race.

- The result would certainly have been better than seventh place, if the qualification had been normal. We had no problems with speed, and it should have been easy to go up to Q3.

Räikkönen has won in Malaysia in McLaren (2003) and in Ferrari (2008). In addition, during his 2007 championship season, he became third.

- Australia is not among the best from the point of view of racing. I hope the car works just as well as in Malaysia, because there we can drive more real track race. At least so far, it seems to be going well in every way, Räikkönen considered.

Turun Sanomat, Kuala Lumpur


Courtesy: reppo

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