Lotus F1 Team enjoyed a strong first day of running at the Shanghai International Circuit with team Third and Reserve Driver Jolyon Palmer running for the first time in a Grand Prix practice session. Jolyon ran in Romain’s car in the morning with Romain returning to the wheel in the afternoon. Romain ended the day as the fastest Lotus F1 Team driver, with a 1min 39.142 secs lap, the ninth fastest in FP2.
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director – Technical programme notes
Jolyon ran for his first FP1 session in the morning, conducting a normal aero and set-up evaluation programme, as did Pastor. Both cars ran with aero rakes early in the session.
The second session was predominantly focused on tyre evaluations, with Romain returning to duties alongside Pastor.
Pirelli’s medium (white) compound tyre was used in the morning session, the medium and soft (yellow) in the afternoon.
What we learned today:
Jolyon made a strong FP1 debut and the E23 Hybrid looks to have good potential in Shanghai.
Jolyon Palmer, E23-02
Free practice 1: P15, 1:41.967, 25 laps
Jolyon: “I’ve been waiting to get my hands on the E23 during a Grand Prix weekend and the experience didn’t disappoint. The track was quite green which provided its own set of slippery challenges and I had to learn the circuit quickly as I hadn’t driven in Shanghai before but overall I’m happy with P15. I was able to complete a decent tally of laps and test the limits of grip on a couple of occasions on the fresh track. It was great to be out on track and mixing it on a Grand Prix weekend.”
Romain Grosjean, E23-02
Free practice 2: P9, 1:39.142, 32 laps
Romain: “Obviously I’d have preferred to be in the car for both sessions but we had a good afternoon and we’re always happy to see a top ten lap time. We completed a good number of laps and the car feels basically pretty strong. As always, we’ve got some areas we can improve on but we’ve made a good start.”
Pastor Maldonado, E23-03
Free practice 1: P11, 1:41.335, 23 laps
Free practice 2: P11, 1:39.444, 30 laps
Pastor: “I didn’t feel 100% happy with the car for all of today, but we made good progress on getting the set-up where I want it so it’s been a good day. The weather’s been pretty good here and certainly better than some of the forecasts we saw earlier in the week. It’s a fun circuit to drive with some good challenges and I think we should have a strong car for tomorrow’s qualifying.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “A solid day for us with no issues to report. Jolyon did a great job for the first time in the car in an official practice session and ended the session just outside the top ten and only six tenths off of Pastor’s lap time so that was a strong first effort. Both Pastor and Romain made good progress with their set-ups and there’s further time to be found. We’re looking forward to seeing what’s possible tomorrow.”