American racer Alexander Rossi was pleased with the results of his test runs with Team Lotus in the T128-04 at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit last week, as part of Formula 1's official "young driver test." It was the 20-year-old's second opportunity behind the wheel for Team Lotus, having driving in demonstration event on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia earlier this year, but his first in a proper test situation.
Rossi completed 74 laps for the team with a combination of development and performance runs and finished the day with a best time of 1:44.283, placing him ninth overall.
“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," said Rossi. 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," he added. "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.
"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. I'm happy to get the experience behind the wheel and I think there is a lot more to come."
Rossi is hopeful that his test performance will pave the way for a larger role for him with Tony Fernandes' team, which will be renamed Caterham Racing next year.
“I'm looking to further my role with Team Lotus as there many exciting things in the works," said Rossi. "We should have some news to announce on the next step in my career very soon."
Rossi drove last weekend at the track for team's affiliated GP2 squad, Caterham AirAsia, finishing 13th and seventh. Rossi raced this year in the World Series by Renault, finishing third in points with two wins.