Trulli and Kovalainen to sit out first practice

2011 Chinese Grand Prix

Davide Valsecchi, Lotus, Sepang, 2011

Davide Valsecchi, Lotus, Sepang, 2011

Lotus will run two reserve drivers in the first practice session at Shanghai.

Regular race drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli will be replaced for the first session by Liuz Razia and Davide Valsecchi.

Valsecchi also drove in the first practice session at Sepang. Razia has previously driven the car in pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya. The pair race in GP2 for Lotus’s sister team Air Asia.

Chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne said it would be important for the team that the two drivers complete as much running as possible:

“In China we will all be in slightly unknown territory with the tyres and the cooler temperatures will mean the most important goal for us will be to maximise our track time on Friday and Saturday morning, getting the cars set up properly for qualifying and bridging the gap to make it into Q2.”

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43 comments on Trulli and Kovalainen to sit out first practice

  1. BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th April 2011, 10:13

    Sounds like a very sensible idea to get the most out of the car and close in on the mid field teams. Insert not as deemed fit.

    About as sensible as FI giving Huelkenberg time in DiRestas car in FP on tracks he doesn’t know.

  2. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 13th April 2011, 10:14

    “In China we will all be in slightly unknown territory with the tyres and the cooler temperatures will mean the most important goal for us will be to maximise our track time on Friday and Saturday morning, getting the cars set up properly for qualifying and bridging the gap to make it into Q2.”

    So why junk both of your race drivers for a whole 90 of the allotted 240 minutes? That’s over 1/3 of track time for them gone.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 13th April 2011, 10:18

      Completely agree. I just do not understand the logic behind having both your reserve drivers on track at the same time for an entire practice session, especially in ‘unknown’ territory for the team.

      • Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 13th April 2011, 10:38

        No logic. Just sponsors’ demands.

      • Sound_Of_Madness said on 13th April 2011, 11:51

        Maybe they want to evaluate them both at the same time, in order to choose the one who will participate in future FPs and, maybe, replace Trulli next year?
        That is the only logical explanation I can see, not a needed move IMHO just when they showed that, maybe, they could outpace a few of the established teams.

        • Bren said on 13th April 2011, 23:49

          why trulli? id keep him as long as possible. he isnt as fast as he was but he is good enough for the team where they are now.

          it would be a shame if hekki has to spend another season at the back tho. he might want to move on.

          i was thinking the other day, how is Timo going to recover his career???? he could of gone to renault in for 2010!! look where he is now. such a shame.

  3. RIISE (@riise) said on 13th April 2011, 10:15

    How pointless, do Lotus want to move forward?

    • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 14th April 2011, 6:18

      Exactly. The reason you hire experienced drivers like Trulli and Kovalainen is to ensure they can get the most out of the car and develop it at a good pace. Lotus will essentially loose out on 3 hours of set up time…

  4. Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 13th April 2011, 10:17

    Oh dear, how desperate are Lotus for money? I always assumed they had a decent budget, but I suppose spending so much time in the High Court ain’t cheap…

  5. ??? if everyone is in “slightly unkown territory” wouldn’t it make sense to try and keep at least one variable constant and use your very experience race drivers? bizzare

  6. Ghali's Monkey said on 13th April 2011, 10:26

    They’re lucky their car is so much faster than the Virgin. And Luiz Razia? Luiz flippin’ Razia? Any old Charlie, aye?

  7. Cash injection needed?

  8. Matthew said on 13th April 2011, 10:42

    Team Lotus have no real updates for china, as i understand it they trying to resolve some reliability issues so there will be no disadvantage in running reserve drivers in p1. hey if they need the money to pump into there development program or to offset court fees then so be it. heikki and jarno will have all the data for tyre deg and be well rested with the quick turnaround for this event.

  9. Oliver said on 13th April 2011, 10:46

    Stupid decision. This would have made sense if it was one of the European tracks both drivers and test drivers are familiar with. But on a track these testers are probably just coming into contact with, a new car and tyres, I don’t see what contribution these testers can make other than using up sme tyres and engine life.

    For such a new team trying hard to catch up with the midfield, track time is important irrespective of its state friday morning.

  10. TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 13th April 2011, 10:48

    How are they going to move up the grid when they are letting two newbies have a little practice?

    Testing is precious time in F1 these days and wasting an hour and a half for two guys to ‘have a go’ then they really need to reconsider.

    Surely this is a shout out to the FIA to allow more young driver testing days?

    • james_mc said on 13th April 2011, 19:12

      I agree, or perhaps a 3rd car running in FP 1/2 for drivers who have completed less than x Grand Prix? Or an additional Free Practice, e.g. FP 1b?

      • brendan said on 14th April 2011, 7:04

        or doing what moto gp does, staying on an extra day at some tracks for a days testing. they the cars and the tyres are already there. so cant be that much more expensive.

        but only allow drivers who didnt race in the previous GP to run.

  11. snowman said on 13th April 2011, 10:57

    Agree, the team is making excellent progress but feel it necessary to now handicap both their drivers. So what if it brings bit of extra sponsorship or whatever the reason, surely it will be more than lost when it costs them points money at end of year.

  12. Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 13th April 2011, 11:02

    Lotus really are pathetic. They talk like a midfield team but act (and perform) like backmarkers. It would suit them far better to stop rabbiting on about how they’re going to deliver and actually start doing it.

    • Did you not see their performance in Malaysia? They qualified 0.4s off Q2 despite Kovalainen making errors on his fastest lap and in the race Kovaliainen finished the race all over the back of a Torro Rosso. They’re genuinely on the back of the midfield now rather than being just being the first of the new teams.

  13. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th April 2011, 11:02

    Lotus may well be committed to giving their reserve drivers a certain amount of track time.

    They’re bringing a significant exhaust upgrade to Spain so perhaps they’re getting these two out of the way to have Trulli and Kovalainen in the car for all the sessions at Catalunya?

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 13th April 2011, 13:07

      I don’t think it’s such a bad decision. The car is the same and they can analize its behaviour anyway, and this is what test drivers are for.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 13th April 2011, 18:33

      Oh, that is also a good explanation – since they are unlikely to have updates for China that they didn’t have in Malaysia, the tyres are the main thing they need to work on, and maybe those runs can be done reasonably okay by the test drivers.

  14. Bleu (@bleu) said on 13th April 2011, 11:12

    Thinking that GP2 drivers would not take part in the rounds GP2 is supporting, their next opportunity after this would be Canada, and after that Singapore.

    Of course Chandhok doesn’t have those duties so he might drive in some European rounds, but from Barcelona onwards I expect Kovalainen and Trulli to drive most FP1 sessions too.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th April 2011, 11:27

      Ah, I think you’re right there.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th April 2011, 11:38

        That does sound logical, and combined with what you wrote above about the exhausts that makes perfect sense.

        Still a front running team would not be doing this right now, would they?

        • phildick (@phildick) said on 13th April 2011, 12:43

          Still they’re not a front running team, not even close ;)

          Of course it’s not good for Jarno and Heikki, but they know the circuit well and they probably know that without some decent upgrades they won’t challenge the midfield (I hope it’ll be third time lucky for Williams this time), and they’re faster than the two-you-know-which teams.

          As I remember they signed some about four(?) test and reserve drivers, and as Keith pointed out they probably have some commitments, so it looks strange now but may turn out like very sensible move.

  15. Alistair Rumbold said on 13th April 2011, 11:43

    I thought this track was little used and therefore dusty, so why not put the two into the cars in p1 as road sweepers? Also get them to do the engine mapping and data collection.

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