Lotus F1 Team test driver Davide Valsecchi believes that the 2013 Lotus car is fast and competitive following his run at the Circuit de Catalunya yesterday.
Valsecchi deputized for Kimi Raikkonen, who came down with food poisoning, in the morning session yesterday before handing the reins back to full time driver Romain Grosjean for the afternoon.
Although he only finished eleventh fastest, Valsecchi was highly impressed by the new car.
“It’s clear that it’s [the E21] a very good racing car. For me to be able to get immediately on the pace means that the car is certainly fast and competitive.”
The 2012 GP2 champion was also highly grateful for the opportunity. The test driver role in Formula One has been criticized in recent years, with Sauber test driver Robin Frijns making his limited opportunities in the role public. However, Valsecchi was enthused by the session yesterday.
“This morning was quite a rush to get everything ready as the call only came late, but the team were fantastic getting the car prepared for me.
“It was a fantastic opportunity; I sat in the seat of a former World Champion so I knew that I’d be fast for sure.”
Lotus trackside operations director Alan Permane was also impressed by Valsecchi, and revealed that he would be happy to call on the Italian driver if need be.
“Davide did a great job at short notice and we know we can rely on him if he’s called upon again.”
Lotus will be encouraged by the pace of the E21 as well as that of their test driver. Should Valsecchi’s good showings continue, he could be in the running for a race seat should one become available.