Feb.22 (PVM) Vitaly Petrov had his first taste of his new Caterham team at a race track and by all accounts he and the team were buoyed by what was an all round positive induction day for the Russian.
Last year Petrov was a driving for Lotus of black and gold variety, today he was at the wheel of the former Lotus team of green and yellow variety – now of course the Caterham F1 team and his first day in the CT01, thus very much a familiarisation exercise for him.
After setting the ninth fastest lap of the day, and racking up 69 laps Petrov reflected, “I think that was a pretty positive day. We completed 69 laps and got through most of what we had planned. This morning we had a couple of issues with the seating position and the brakes, but you expect that from a new car and they were little things that we were able to fix quickly. In the afternoon we put in a few more long runs and that’ll give us a lot of data to work on.”
The last time Petrov drove an F1 car was at the Brazilian GP last November. He missed the Jerez test altogether but this did not seem to affect him on his day back in the hot seat.
“Physically I feel really good. It’s obviously been a while since I’ve been in a car, but I’ve kept up my fitness levels and I enjoyed myself on track, so it’s a good first day back. One thing I have noticed is that this car behaves a little differently from my previous experience and I think I may have to adjust my driving style to get the best out of it – I’ve been quite aggressive before, but I think this car responds better to smoother inputs, so that’s something I can work on, and work with the engineers on,” explained the 27 year old Russian.
Caterham’s technical boss, Mike Gascoyne summed up the day, “A very reasonable first day with Vitaly in the car. We spent some time this morning getting him acclimatised, focusing particularly on the brakes, but he has settled in well and did exactly what we asked of him today. We have a few points to work on tonight, one of those being to understand how to give him a setup he feels most comfortable with.”
Caterham Group CEO, Riad Asmat said, “A good way to introduce Vitaly to the team on track. He acquitted himself well today, putting in a decent number of laps and working well with us to fine-tune the basic setups we need to give him so he’s comfortable in the cockpit. As first days go this was pretty much faultless, and that’s exactly what we wanted from him.”
Petrov will be competing in his 39th grand prix when he lines up on the grid in Melbourne for the 2012 Australian Grand Prix.