The Lotus driver have been engaging in a cute game of “no, you go first” with a newly-built chassis up for grabs, and it is Jarno Trulli who will benefit from this, but only after a lot of playful to-ing and fro-ing with team-mate Heikki Kovalainen.
However, Kovalainen has generally had the measure of Trulli, with the Italian being quite vocal in his complaints about his chassis’ lack of balance – and this led Technical Director Mike Gascoyne to decide in Trulli’s favour in the interests of the driver and the team.
“Jarno has been pretty unhappy with the balance of his car and has been struggling,” Gascoyne said.
“We have a new chassis scheduled to come for Valencia, and that was due to go to Heikki. But, because of Jarno’s troubles, I made the call to change it to him. But Jarno, when he was told, said, ‘No, I don’t want Heikki to feel that I am being favoured, please feel free to give it to Heikki.’
“"So I went up to Heikki and told him. Then he said, ‘No, Jarno is struggling, give it to him!’
Such an example gives a great insight into the team spirit within Lotus, which is steadily closing the gap to the midfield pack in its comeback season, and Gascoyne very much affirmed this.
“It’s a situation that sums up the great feeling within the team – that they are both trying to help each other. In the end we are going to give it to Jarno, but the two drivers are open to swapping it around afterwards.”
With confidence brimming after Kovalainen qualified just 0.2 seconds slower than Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber in Canada, Gascoyne believes that Lotus can now seriously concentrate on challenging the midfield pack instead of worrying about its rookie team rivals. Gascoyne is hopeful that the next major update to the T127 – scheduled for the British Grand Prix – will help the team punch above its weight.
“"I would say in reality we are probably seven or eight tenths away from them, and the Silverstone upgrade might bring us half a second closer. Will we nick places off people consistently? Probably not, but with the two drivers we have got, with their experience – if anyone drops the ball or doesn’t get the right lap then I think we can start nicking some odd places.
“What we said at the start of the year was that we wanted to end up challenging the back end of the midfield group and I think that is exactly where we will be. You would like to be beating them, but in reality that was always going to be too much of a step, especially as we are concentrating on next year’s car now.
“But I think we will still end up exactly where we said we would be. We had one employee this time a year ago, so for the performance we did in Canada everyone in the team can hold their head up. It is a statement from the new teams – you can come in and do a hell of a good job and be racing, and I think that is very good news for F1.”
[Original image via GP Update]