Jolyon Palmer enjoyed his first day of running in the new Lotus E23 Hybrid in Barcelona yesterday, but made no secret of the steep learning curve that he faced with the team’s test programme ahead of the new season.
The 2014 GP2 champion joined Lotus as its reserve driver in January, and was called up for the first time on Friday for a full day of running at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Palmer finished the day down in eighth place with 77 laps under his belt, but was pleased with his efforts.
“Today went well,” he said. “We racked up a lot of laps and I got a good feel for the car. It was very slippery first thing with the cold track, it was certainly very difficult with the hard tires combined with the low temperatures.”
Palmer completed extensive setup work in the morning to help Lotus fine tune its E23 car ahead of the first race of the season in Australia, and although there was a lot to take in, he feels that his contributions will be of help to the team.
“Through the day there was a good mix of conditions and setups to work with,” he explained. “There was a lot to take on board with the different settings for the car and the different programmes we were running, so it’s been a pretty steep learning curve.
“It’s been a very positive start for me and I hope my work has benefited the team. I loved being in the car and I can’t wait to get back out on track.”
Pastor Maldonado was back in action for Lotus on Saturday before handing the E23 over to teammate Romain Grosjean on Sunday.