Q&A with Lotuss Mike Gascoyne and Fairuz Fauzy 18 Feb 2010
If youre a new team testing amongst your rivals for the first time, youd be expecting a few mishaps to come your way before you finally found your footing. But as Lotuss T127 made its debut at Jerez on Wednesday it was largely plain sailing for the Norfolk-based team. With a car that appears sleek, stylish and - most importantly - reliable, chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne and test driver Fairuz Fauzy were all smiles as they met the media following Lotuss maiden session
Q: Mike, how was the teams first day of running?
Mike Gascoyne: It was an excellent day for the team. I want to say a big thank you to Fairuz - he did an excellent job today. The first day of running, with all the system checks and other things going on, make it pretty disjointed for the driver. Added to that were the very changeable conditions and the fact that we were running without power steering, which made it very tricky for Fairuz, but he did a fantastic job and didnt put a foot wrong. We were able to complete 76 laps, which also meant that he completed 300 kilometres, which he needed for his super license. So well done and a big thank you to him! In regards to the car, we had no real major reliability issues, just small little niggles with overheating, which were quickly solved. The car ran pretty faultlessly and we were able to run all the mileage that we wanted to do. The only negative was the lack of power steering on the car, which was not a problem in the wet, but as it dried out, the heavy steering load meant that we were not able to run effectively in the dry. That will be sorted for tomorrow, when the power steering arrives, as well as some other new parts. All in all, it was a very successful first day.
Q: Fairuz, what are your thoughts?
Fairuz Fauzy: I want to thank the team - they did a fabulous job, as I didnt have any problems with the car. It was brilliant, considering that it was our first day since the shakedown. It is a different feeling coming here and competing with all the others without problems. I am happy and very pleased with the performance. On top of all this, I was able to do enough laps for my super license - and that is something special. There was no power steering on the car, which made it a bit difficult to drive in the dry, but luckily there were wet conditions for most of the morning. I was probably the only driver happy about that. The objective was to get my super license, and from there we can move on to the set-up issue. I am very pleased as I never expected to be able to do more than 300 kilometres on the first day. That was a good effort from the team.
Q: As you were sitting in the car waiting to go out for the first time, what were you thinking?
FF: To be honest I was praying that it wouldnt break down, as I wanted to get my super license - and I achieved my goal. Of course I was nervous, but it was a good nervousness. I hoped that I wouldnt make any mistakes, and I succeeded. It is a good car and I feel that there is much more in the car than we were able to show. We can post much better times, as the car is competitive. I was surprised actually how good the car is. Of course my last drive in Formula One was in 2007 and the cars were very different then, but I think as a driver you can tell if the car is good or not - and this one is good. In the short amount of time that we have had, it is almost a miracle.
Q: What do you think the guys back home in Malaysia are thinking?
FF: Lets be realistic, the nation will be thinking push - push to get better times. But in Formula One, if youre a new team on the track you need understand the car first before you look at lap times. The most important thing is reliability and I think we had reliability, with one race distance completed. There isnt a problem with the cars temperatures. There arent any problems with the car. If there had been power steering I probably would have done more laps, but in terms of safety, we didnt want to push too hard because driving without power steering is difficult. To get my super license and to bring the car home in one piece was a big achievement for me.
Q: Driving the car without power steering must have been tiring. How are you feeling?
FF: My neck wasnt stressed too much as its more on the steering side. Its good practice. As a racing driver you never know what will come your way. I think it was very good, and on Thursday the team can move on with Heikki (Kovalainen) in the car.
Q: From your seat fitting, to the shakedown, to the London launch, to finally giving the T127 its official test debut in Jerez, everything has been moving very quickly. Are you enjoying the ride?
FF: I am a professional so I have to cope with this. I want to be a Formula One driver, and if thats what it takes so shall it be. My target is to move up the ladder. Every driver coming into Formula One wants to be world champion and I am no different to them. When the time comes, I want to aim for a title.