Q & A with Mike Gascoyne

The Lotus F1 team completed its first full day of Formula 1 testing today, and the team's chief technical officer, Mike Gascoyne, was delighted with its performance

Q & A with Mike Gascoyne

He spoke to AUTOSPORT about the T127's first day at school, the progress of the project and his hopes for the season ahead.

Q. Are you pleased with day one?

Mike Gascoyne: Yeah, not too bad. Considering everything it was good. We had no real troubles. A couple of little temperature issues in the first couple of runs, which is to be expected. But in general reliability was excellent. We didn't have power steering on so when it dried out the steering loads were just too heavy to really drive effectively.

Q. Fairuz [Fauzy] says he can't feel his arms now.

MG: Yes, it's slightly perverse that on your first day of proper testing you're hoping for it to stay wet. It's the first time I've ever heard over the radio a driver say 'thank God it's raining'. The power steering is on its way out, it was meant to be here yesterday but due to some supplier issues we didn't have it fitted.

Apart from that it was an excellent day for the whole team. The first time the team has worked together, everything went better than we could have hoped. We knew the car went together very well and we weren't concerned about its reliability. But obviously you've got to run a car and see what happens. Really we had no issues at all with the car and we now need to start working on performance and see how quick it is.

In the wet, the car was pretty well behaved, Fairuz was fairly happy with it, so no real issues, we just have to see how quick it is.

Q. How tricky are the next couple of days with the weather expected to get worse?

MG: Now we have the power steering we'd like it to be dry. It was meant to be very wet today and we had some dry periods. At the end of the day it's the same for everyone and you've got to get on with it. It's tricky, the first run of the car and we don't have a lot of spare parts. It's not great when the weather is like this but it's the same for everyone. Fairuz didn't put a foot wrong all day, so you can get on with it and we'll look to clock up the laps.

Q. Virgin didn't spend a lot of time on track today. Do you think they've made life more complicated by trying to do everything themselves?

MG: I can't say, we've just concentrated on doing our job. We've had a lot shorter time span to do it than the other new teams. But we were always confident in the team we've put together, there's a lot of Formula 1 experience both on the track and in the factory in the design team. At the end of the day we're just getting on with our job.

Q. How much more will you be throwing at the car between now and Bahrain?

MG: There's a lot of development. We've got new aero bits on for tomorrow. The secret for us in the first four races is just reliability and finishing, and today was a very positive step in that. You can tell when you put a car on the track and it runs and runs and runs, that you've got the basics right. All the cooling checks out and we're very comfortable that we'll be able to run the car effectively in Bahrain.

We always said we wanted to put a good, solid car on the track and present and run it professionally, and I think today showed that we'll be able to do that.

Q. In terms of fuel loads, were you trying anything today?

MG: Today's conditions and with no power steering it wasn't worth doing anything, so we ran fairly heavy fuel loads all day. We'll wait and see when it's dry what laptimes people are doing. But for us it's about mileage and long runs. Fairuz was doing 20-lap runs at the end and that's what it's about for us at the moment.

Q. Fairuz thinks there's another three seconds in the power steering. Is that right?

MG: In the dry probably a lot more. He could only do a couple of laps in the dry and that was it. The steering geometry, you can't run the car without power steering. There's that and a lot more.

Q. Is there personal pride for you today, with the project coming together?

MG: Yeah, pride in the whole team to be honest. We've still got a long way to go, but considering where we were two or three months ago I think the whole team has done an exceptional job. I think we'll come back and do the Lotus name and tradition proud.

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