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. Robbie (@robbie) said on 13th April 2011, 13:22

    I think much of the reason for this decision lies with the abscence of in-season testing…it’s quite ridiculous how little time some F1 drivers get particularly on the lesser teams (who can’t afford or attract the top drivers) before they are racing in anger…there is no option but to run them on Fri and Sat practice sessions if one wants to develope young up and comers…

  2. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 13th April 2011, 13:42

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

    Of course. That’s sensible.

    Oh…no it’s not as neither will be competing in the race.

  3. verstappen said on 13th April 2011, 14:02

    Looking at the comments above, I think giving Razia and Valsecchi track time before the GP2 season and before the new exhaust comes, seem to explain the sanity of the decision.

    There might be two things more on Lotus’ list:
    – They expected their car to be faster, so this could be a good moment – when the car is the same – to start on a new track with another visison on set up and see where that brings them.
    – Maybe they’re not only reviewing Razia and Valsecchi, but also putting a bit of pressure on Trulli and Kovalainen?

  4. alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 13th April 2011, 15:35

    This is so stupid; so much for jumping Toro Rosso or Force India / Williams this weekend!

  5. smifaye (@smifaye) said on 13th April 2011, 17:40

    Complete contradiction! Need to get a good set up so we can get into Q2! Not like this I’m afraid, what are they doing?!

  6. tomforpresident said on 13th April 2011, 17:51

    maybe one of their reserve drivers will be a proper driver for the team next year, surely giving them as much time in the car this year will set them up better for the start of their f1 career.

    we are at a place in f1 where it is an extremely hard and long process for rookies to settle into the sport fully without there being in season testing, so surely it makes sense for them to do this kind of thing.

    lotus really seem to be in this for the long haul so setting up young drivers to help bring them up the ranks would be a good idea. the front runners wont be doing something like this beause they have to focus fully on winning races, lotus need to focus fully on getting better every year. and that means breeding new talent

  7. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 14th April 2011, 2:43

    That is way too much. This team improved a lot since last year & you would want both the driver to take part so that they can give more data back to you. Testing one driver may be OK but two is not the proper way to go.

  8. Bäremans said on 14th April 2011, 8:13

    I actually don’t think it’s that stupid.

    – Obligations/commitments to the test drivers and their sponsors. Maybe they have to be given a minimum of track time during the season. Better to do that now, than later in the season where Lotus aims/hopes to have improved and when the stakes are therefore higher.
    – Added to this, which I think is the most important element, there are no major upgrades for Lotus this weekend. Should there have been some, all of FP most likely would have been done by Heiki and Jarno. No such thing this weekend, so this may be one of the reserve’s few chances to actually get some running this season.
    – Maybe it really is part of their evaluation of both drivers as future F1 pilots: same equipment, same conditions, same track and in a car that Lotus knows, again, since there are no mayor upgrades for this weekend.
    – FP1 is a bit like testing: the team has a programme which the drivers strictly have to follow. Not sure if the driver really makes that much of a difference in FP1. Again, no major upgrades this weekend, so the car itself can serve as a stable factor.

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