Lotus: We’re certainly running with the leading group

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E21.
Kimi Raikkonen Lotus E21

Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean enjoyed successful 2013 season debuts in the E21 during the first day of the Australian Grand Prix weekend at Albert Park. Kimi ended the second of two afternoon sessions with the fourth fastest time, whilst Romain was fifth quickest. The team evaluated a new front wing and floor as well as running through its familiar Friday programme of evaluations over the course of 102 trouble-free laps.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director – Technical programme notes
– We evaluated a new front wing on both cars
– Kimi ran with a new floor in both sessions
– Pirelli’s medium (white) compound tyre was used in the first session, the medium and supersoft (red) in the afternoon
– The second session saw long runs on both tyre compounds
– We evaluated revised exhaust outlets on both cars

What we learned today:
– The E21 ran reliably, providing good data for determining our set-up for tomorrow.

Kimi Räikkönen, E21-03
Free practice 1: P6, 1:27.877, 17 laps
Free practice 2: P4, 1:26.361, 38 laps
Kimi: “It’s good for the season to start and the car felt pretty strong out there. I don’t think we’re the fastest but it’s a good start. It was nice to have a reliable day after spending some time in the garage during testing. The track was as I remembered it and there were no surprises from it or the car. We’ll have to see what happens tomorrow with qualifying as maybe it will be a bit cooler. I’m happy so far this weekend.”

Romain Grosjean, E21-01
Free practice 1: P10, 1:28.520 15 laps
Free practice 2: P5, 1:26.680, 32 laps
Romain: “It feels great to be out on circuit and on such a lovely day too. The track felt good and the car felt better. It took a while for the grip to come to us, but you expect that on a street circuit. We made good progress with set-up on the car over both sessions and I think there’s more to come which is promising.”

James Allison, Technical Director: “It’s been a steady start so far. The car has run reliably and reasonably quickly, but we feel there’s more to come from it. Broadly it’s been a successful day in terms of the programme we had in mind for these opening sessions, with both tyre compounds, our latest aero package and a few setup tweaks all given sufficient time for assessment. There’s still work to be done, but we’re certainly running with the leading group which bodes well for the rest of the weekend.”