Mixed result today for Lotus Racing but one can take comfort in knowing that Heikki Kovalainen was only three places away from scoring points. At least that is what team boss Tony Fernandes is saying:
â€œI guess weâ€™ve got to have had some bad luck at some point and unfortunately it was today. Iâ€™m disappointed for Jarno, but Heikki did us proud – three places away from a point, and he was keeping pace with most of the other cars throughout the race. Maybe it would have been nice if three other cars had gone out so we could get a point, but, joking aside, it is good that at this stage of the season weâ€™re already thinking about points. Weâ€™re in a nice position for Malaysia. Weâ€™re looking forward to going home, and really looking forward to giving our fans something to shout about.â€
I can’t disagree with him. Bad luck will strike in F1 and you have to take measure of what they have achieved today. Close to a points finish, with some help from attrition, but for a team finding its sea legs, this is something to be happy with. Heikki was happy with his day and it’s good to see the young man reinvigorated after a desperate tenure at McLaren:
â€œI enjoyed it today, I had good fun out there. Our target was to finish the race and from the start we were quite comfortably ahead of the new teams. When Glock dropped I just focused on keeping up a decent rhythm, not making any mistakes and bringing the car home. Itâ€™s difficult to say whether a different strategy would have worked better – if weâ€™d stopped once more and put a fresh set of tyres on, that might have been better way to go, but our target was to finish the race and we achieved that again. Now we go to Malaysia with a good feeling and weâ€™re all looking forward to that.â€
The challenge is still there for Lotus, however, and hydraulic failures, niggles and gremlins will be part of their operation for 2010. No on is better equipped at Lotus to tackle those issues than technical boss Mike Gascoyne who has mixed feelings about today’s race:
“Obviously a very disappointing start. Jarno had a hydraulic power pack fail on the grid, not something we’ve seen before and we couldn’t get it changed in time. Balancing that was another strong race from Heikki who did really well staying out on the option tyre. He made a good start but lost a few places after the accident on the opening lap, but he did a great job to get the car home, keeping us tenth in the championship. And congratulations to Karun Chandhok for getting a finish!”
The end result will show Lotus Racing finishing their second grand prix and to me, that is a real success to build on. It’s a development year but with continued success from veteran drivers giving Lotus their best possible result in each of the races will prove to be invaluable for their 2011 campaign.