August, 22nd 2011 (F1plus Team).- The Formula 1 second part of the season will start with the Belgiun Grand Prix at the Spa Francorchamps circuit. Set amongst the hills and forests of the Ardennes, “spa” as is commonly known, is by far the longest lap of the season at just over 7 km, and with the race being run over a total of 44 laps through the dips and dives of what is, for many of the drivers, the greatest circuit on earth.
Team Lotus seems to be ready to keep its good moment. The outfit is clearly ahead of its peers in terms of F1 year launch, Hispania and Virgin. Heikki Kovalainen has become the face of the team race after race and Jarno still brings his expertise to the field (and the best finishes on the team so far this year).
Both drivers have been very valuable to the team; willing to work hard to make the machines more competitive and as helping to build a team from the ground up, and all this, in spite of very often finishing far from the rewarding points. However, that reality might change in the second half.
Heikki Kovalainen: “After a really good break in Finland it’ll be good to get back to work. I’m feeling better than ever and it’s always exciting heading to Spa. Eau Rouge is, of course, the corner everyone talks about and while it is still flat-out it’s actually not that hard for us now, but it’s still a big thrill.
Any corner you take at 300km is pretty quick so you hang on the wheel pretty hard so that you don’t get any snap out of the corner, build up a good speed down then you feel all that compression as the car bottoms out through the corner and then you’re up the hill. It’s still very exciting!
“It’s been said so many times before but Spa is what a racetrack should be - hardcore corners, massive speed, overtaking opportunities and passionate fans, and, being Spa, anything can happen with the weather.
Actually, it’s not just Spa this year - we’ve had rain following us all season so in Spa maybe we’ll have a hot and sunny weekend for once! I doubt it… it’s almost certain it will rain somewhere on the circuit at some point over the weekend and that could well be an opportunity for our team. We just have to keep pushing and make sure we’re in the hunt if there’s an opportunity to be grabbed, work hard all weekend and keep taking little steps forward.”
Jarno Trulli: “Since Hungary I’ve been able to spend the last couple of weeks with my family in Miami – I’ve had a good rest and after we took such a step forward for me in Hungary I can’t wait to get back on track. Honestly – it’s hard to describe in simple terms just how much happier I was in the car from the very first laps in Budapest but it really was like night and day. For the first time all season I could work on the setup from a baseline I had confidence in, and that puts me and the team in a really good position for the rest of the season.
“It’s also good that the next race is at Spa – it’s pretty much the total opposite of Hungary, so it’ll be another good chance to keep learning how to get the best out of the new system on a much quicker track with more high speed corners. Enough’s been said over the years about what a great circuit Spa is, and for me it’s the same as everyone else – it has some unique challenges and it brings out the best in the whole team – the drivers love the track, the engineers have to work hard to set the cars up right for the whole lap and the mechanics have to be on it all weekend to deal with the changing weather conditions, so while everyone talks about it being a drivers track, for me it’s really a teams track.”