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Exclusive Q&A with Lotus's Mike Gascoyne 26 Feb 2010

Mike Gascoyne (GBR) Lotus F1 Racing Chief Technical Officer. Formula One Testing, Day Three, Jerez, Spain, Friday 19 February 2010. Fairuz Fauzy (MAL) Lotus T127 Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday 25 February 2010. Fairuz Fauzy (MAL) Lotus T127. Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday 25 February 2010. Fairuz Fauzy (MAL) Lotus T127. Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday 25 February 2010. (L to R): Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Lotus talks with Mike Gascoyne (GBR) Lotus F1 Racing Chief Technical Officer. Formula One Testing, Day Four, Jerez, Spain, Saturday 20 February 2010.

After their T127 endured a wet and windy test debut at Jerez last week, Lotus were back in action on Thursday at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya. With the sun shining at the Spanish track, reserve driver Fairuz Fauzy managed to complete 76 laps. Although Fauzy ended the day as the field’s slowest runner, chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne is still feeling optimistic about the season ahead…

Q: Mike, after the wet conditions in Jerez last week, you have been treated to a dry opening day in Barcelona…
Mike Gascoyne:
Yeah, it’s been very successful. We are continuing on from where we left off in Jerez on the last day with Jarno Trulli, when he completed the most laps out of all the runners. Again we didn’t have any mechanical issues on the car. We have been able to complete 76 trouble-free laps and worked through our whole programme.

Q: It was Fauzy’s second day in the car, and he once again completed 76 laps…
MG:
Well, I think it is pure coincidence. He is a very safe pair of hands. We’ve asked him to do a lot of background tests, as well as checking the control systems. He also did starts and some other system tests. He has completed some very useful mileage for us and ticked off a lot of behind-the-scene items that we need to complete before the first race.

Q: Although the team is just a few months old, there’s already a really strong bond between you all…
MG:
We have a great spirit within the team and that is one of the advantages of setting up a new team from scratch. You don’t inherit any politics, and I think we have been able to recruit a very experienced team, with a lot of people I’ve worked with before. The spirit within the team has been fantastic and everybody seems to enjoy working with us. I must be careful not to smile too much - I might lose my ‘Rottweiler’ nickname.

Q: The Lotus team are clearly social networking devotees. Do you want your fans to feel closer to the action?
MG:
I think it is very important to let the fans be part of the team. I think a lot of teams sort of overemphasize security. They could all be much more open, informative, and tell their fans what they are doing. I also think that to create a bond with the younger generation, it is crucial to communicate with them using their tools. The fans seem to enjoy it very much.

Q: Trulli will test over the next two days, whilst his team mate Heikki Kovalainen will take over the car on Sunday. What are your priorities over the next few days?
MG:
First and foremost, we want to get more mileage on the car and to sort out any possible reliability issues before Bahrain. We will be shaking down some new gearboxes and components, and hopefully with some dry running, we can start to work on the performance of the car. In Jerez and on for the first day in Barcelona, we were concentrating on mileage, but now we will start to look for set-up directions, and of course we will try to improve the pace of the car. We are very happy with where the car is. We know we need to make it faster, and we are working in the wind tunnel to do that. But overall I think we have the pace of a very good Formula One car.