Lotus get within range of midfield teams

2011 Malaysian GP team review

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Lotus made a clear step forward in pace in Sepang.

Heikki KovalainenJarno Trulli
Qualifying position1920
Qualifying time comparison (Q1)1’38.645 (-0.146)1’38.791
Race position15
Pit stops21

Lotus drivers’ lap times throughout the race:


Heikki Kovalainen120.654109.141108.68106.576106.643107.07107.232107.111106.826106.92107.498107.581108.547109.364114.02132.561107.261106.635106.403105.857106.024105.883105.514106.15104.807104.882105.3105.727105.818106.319105.785106.117105.977110.282125.584107.067105.242104.77104.404104.73104.595106.369103.677104.29104.076106.153104.625104.422105.154105.425104.511106.791105.829104.114104.53
Jarno Trulli121.582109.796108.843106.884106.153106.834107.723107.192107.107107.317107.955108.783112.794146.964109.069108.256107.147106.677106.005105.727106.314105.646105.28105.665105.736106.017106.268106.219106.161106.642111.214
Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, Sepang, 2011
Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, Sepang, 2011

Heikki Kovalainen

Kovalainen came within half a second of reaching Q2, the closest Lotus have been under normal conditions.

Running a two-stop strategy, his lap times compared well with Jaime Alguersuari’s and he ended the race right on the tail of the Toro Rosso driver.

Heikki Kovalainen 2011 form guide

Jarno Trulli

Trulli’s anti-stall kicked in at the start and he fell behind Timo Glock, but the Lotus driver quickly re-passed the Virgin.

Coming out of the pits after his first pit stop Trulli locked his tyres and skidded into the gravel. The delay meant he ended up behind Glock and had to pass him again. A clutch sensor failure later put him out of the race.

Chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne said: “A very strong race from both drivers although unfortunately Jarno stopped in the garage with a clutch sensor problem.

“We looked to do a two stop strategy with both cars. We might have struggled with Jarno as his tyre degradation was slightly higher, but it worked well with Heikki.

“Overall our pace was very good at the end, particularly when we were with the leading cars, and we were very close to passing one of the Toro Rossos as we came over the line which shows how we have progressed.”

Jarno Trulli 2011 form guide

Davide Valsecchi

Made his F1 race weekend debut driving Kovalainen’s car in first practice.

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    18 comments on “Lotus get within range of midfield teams”

    1. Not a bad effort at all, I have no doubt they’ll continue to improve.

      1. Hear they have a blown diffuser coming in time for Spain.

    2. I really hope that they’ll become championship contenders in a few years.

    3. They are making real progress now, keeping within range with the STR6, which itself is a fairly strong car. Within a few years time I can see this team racing in the field where Renault is in currently. Time and patience shall be given to the three new teams. They have done an incredible job and F1 should be glad that it’s these three teams which actually made amazing progress. Lotus is amazing as they leaped right ahead right from the beginning. Virgin is also good as they are doing all these under restricted budget, and they are fairly reliable this year, so they could focus hard on pace. HRT is even more incredible. Creating the F111 package with only 40 people in 3 months and still being able to hang on to what the other two have done throughout 2010 !?? Long live Lotus, Virgin & HRT !!

    4. I am really beginning to get a respect for Heikki, i think that he is getting the opportunity to show how good he is. At Renault and Mclaren he was in the shadow of the 2 unofficial number ones of the team. Here he is showing that he can take an under performing car and find speed in it. I really hope that the Lotus can get to the point where they are challenging the Torro Rossos and Williams’

      1. Agreed Sam, it must have been tough for Kova…Kove…? for Heikki to move from Mclaren to Lotus but he has worked hard and his positive attitude must be infectious throughout the entire team.

        Also possesses exceptional fire fighting skills although I hope he does not have to demonstrate this too many more times. Go Heikki!!!

        1. I agree as well, Heikki has really shown his grit, his talent, his determination and it is winning me over. I hope he and Trulli can continue this upswing with Lotus and really mix it up with the midfield, a midfield that is perhaps in better shape this season than in any before.

    5. if they do get the blown diffuser fitted in Turkey(turkey first, then Spain)without much problem, then they probably mixing with the back end of the midfield. there are rumors that they are developing flexi front wing. if it true and they able to get it work, maybe they can be right in the middle of the midfield

    6. Great to see some potential for the guys at TL. I’ve always been a big fan of the renault engines as well, and there is no doubt in my mind a Renault RB back end will be as decent as it gets.

      I’d love to see a new diffuser push them up the grid again. In Heikki I think they have a possible team leader for the long term.

      Who would have though, for years you have no lotuses (loti?) on the grid, then you get 4 come along at once.

    7. Looks like Team Lotus is doing just about according to plan. Keep it up and, guys.

    8. Basically they are KERS and EBD behind the midfield runners, one they have them on the car they will get nearly a second of performance.

      1. I think KERs will appear sooner rather then later on the TL cars, that will certainly push them closer, if not into Q2 and the midfield. They did say that they have taken allowances for it within the car, but im not sure whether they planned to use it so soon, but you never know.

        I have to admit i was a bit apprehensive in believing Gascoyne post-Melbourne about the cars showing but its gone now. If they can make that jump again, its good for them and it could well be possible.

    9. I believe Autosport have article several weeks ago that quoted gascoyne said TL will not use KERS this season

      anyway, good effort from them at sepang and hope they can continue moving forward despite all that nitty gritty things with name dispute

    10. It wasn’t a bad weekend for them all things considered. I did notice that Heikki did a good job on the tyres and looking at Trulli I reckon he could have done the same.

    11. This was always the most serious of the new teams, but I didn’t expect them to be so far ahead of the virgins already, or them closing in on the established teams.

      It’s just a shame there are two lotus teams now. I never liked the idea of having the lotus name being used in the first place. This has nothing to do with history and heritage, simply because when starting a new team just call it something new. I watch F1 in the 10s, not the 70s. Now there are two. :(

      Still, both the first Q2 and the first points this season? Would be pretty epic.

      1. Douglas62500
        12th April 2011, 7:18

        Well you do have a point as Team Lotus is now on their own with no links to Lotus Cars, but at least it is better some bunch of people betting for instant success on what is basically gold stickers on two Enstone built French cars, and getting to their current state in 18 months from scratch is epic. Everyone would understand how bad ass it would be if in the end they could beat 20-year-old teams like STR and FI. Wish them all the best !

    12. Epic indeed. I find myself rooting for all of the new teams, but Lotus are really in a class of their own compared to Virgin and HRT.

    13. Couldn’t understand what happened with Trulli when he came out of the pit to lock his wheel like that & skid.

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