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We told our readers since his Formula BMW days that Alexander Rossi would be the next American in F1. That prediction appears possible now.
American, Alexander Rossi was pleased with his first full day with Team Lotus in the T128-04 F1 car at ‘Yas Marina Circuit. The American driver supported by AirAsia and Team Lotus drove last weekend at ‘Yas’ for Caterham AirAsia in the GP2 finale where he is finished 13th and 7th. Rossi is a graduate from World Series by Renault in 2011, finishing 3rd overall in championship with 2 wins and 7 podiums.
This past Thursday was Rossi’s second opportunity behind the wheel for Team Lotus F1 squad, after driving in demonstration event on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia earlier this year.
Rossi was up to speed in the morning session and set a top five pace before the mid-day break. He completed 74 laps for the team with a combination of development and performance runs and finishing the day with a best time of 1:44.283, placing him 9th overall on the day.
Jody Egginton, Chief Engineer Team Lotus - ″It has been another good day. Alexander familiarized himself with the car very quickly and adapted to the new tires comfortably which meant we could make progress all day. Our initial runs were to get him used to the car and settled with the tires and the team.
“Part two of the run plan was the second part of the damper program that we ran yesterday, which provided us with some very interesting data and Alexander gave excellent feedback on the changes we made. We also gained some good data regarding the rear suspension work in general. We then progressed to working on some of prototype Pirelli tires which reconfirmed what we learned earlier in the week which was good. We then did some performance runs on two compounds – on the supersoft tires he put in consistent laps although we felt we didn’t extract the optimum time due to the red flag that was shown. He has done a brilliant job on his day’s running and he now has a basis on which to build upon.
“We can see a few areas where he can improve and there is a lot more potential there. With another set of tires on the final performance run you could expect a half second improvement with Alexander’s lap times.
“The test session has been very useful overall. The various departments at the factory gave us a big list of work to carry out and we accomplished the vast majority of that list which is excellent and the boys have worked extremely hard throughout the test. There were a number of rear end changes as we worked on the suspension, so the team have done a fantastic job to turn everything around and so quickly. Reliability has been good and the drivers have worked very well. I feel they have enjoyed themselves and have provided us with clear, useful feedback and data, so all in all a very successful test indeed.”
Rossi in the Lotus (soon to be Caterham) T128 in testing Thursday at Yas Marina.
Alexander Rossi - “This morning we started off with getting used to the car and finding my way with the T128, as obviously it’s a big step up from GP2, and I felt comfortable quickly as we worked up to a good setup level. Then our focus was on the damper work for the team, which involved various runs and looking ahead to the 2012 season, plus a few changes to the rear of the car and a few runs with the 2012 Pirelli tires. In the afternoon we did some performance runs, which I wasn’t entirely pleased with, as I felt I could have achieved more, however my first day in the car was positive, and I feel there is a lot more potential to unlock.
“To get behind the wheel and have that much time was really good. I was surprised at how much you learn during a day’s testing. There’s so much to take in, for example the briefing and debriefing sessions, it’s a whole step up from GP2, so it’s been an extremely valuable day.
“The team is pretty special and being able to work with the team as a driver was brilliant as I was able to further my relationship with them, with the mechanics and engineers. I now know the team on a personal level and it’s really important to build those relationships. It’s been a good day, and I’m happy to get the experience behind the wheel and I think there is a lot more to come.”
“I’m looking to further my roll with Team Lotus as there many exciting things in the works. We should have some news to announce on the next step in my career very soon (Recall we rumored he would be in GP2 next year and F1 a year or two after). I must thank Tony, Din, Riad and everyone at Team Lotus for their confidence and faith in my abilities, as they have made it possible.”
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