Jarno Trulli and Mike Gascoyne delighted with Caterham’s efforts in Jerez
Italian veteran Jarno Trulli hailed the best first test he can remember in his long Formula One career as Caterham brought the opening winter sessions to a close.
The Hingham-backed team outfit saw Trulli step into the CT01 for the first time and eager for the Italian, who spent most of last season complaining over the T128's power steering, to approve of the new car.
And after racking up 117 laps – albeit some way behind the pace of the other eight riders –Trulli was a happy man.
'It was a very positive day – I think I cannot remember any better first day testing, honestly, or first week of testing,' the Italian told Autosport.
'We ran into very, very few troubles despite the fact that the car is totally revolutionary and with quite a few new interesting systems on it like Kers.
'I am happy despite the times, which are not representative at all, especially for us, as we know we have been extremely conservative on the fuel side and if we make some calculations we are probably in the ballpark.
'The power steering felt straightaway much better. I had a good feeling from the car and I can report everything that I couldn't feel last year at all, so it is good to have the feeling back again. I could point out a lot of stuff today.
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'It has been almost a year that I didn't have this feeling, which is nice. There are still some details to sort out on this matter but it is very good. It shouldn't be a problem to be honest.'
Trulli added: 'For me there are a couple of real positives. I hadn't used Kers before and, despite the extra buttons it means on the wheel, it's pretty simple to get used to it quickly. I think we'll see the benefits of that more and more as we keep learning how to get the most out of it.'
Trulli's best time of one minute 22.298 seconds was more than three seconds behind Fernando Alonso's Friday best – although the Spaniard's Ferrari completed just 39 laps after a hydraulics issue curtailed his final day in Jerez.
Caterham suffered a problem on their first day too, but have since enjoyed genuine smooth running as they embark on the season they hope will truly establish them in Formula One's midfield.
Norwich-born chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne added: 'I think we can be very pleased with how the first test has gone. Apart from an issue on day one with the starter, the car ran absolutely faultlessly throughout the whole test which is a real tribute to the work put in by the whole team.
'We completed the whole test program, working with Kers for the first time, and for me this has probably been the best first test I have ever been involved in throughout my career.
'We have been running the car rather conservatively in Jerez but for the next test we will be bringing aero updates and looking to run the final race one specification at the third test. Overall, we are in a much better position going into the season than we have ever been before, so that is the first goal achieved.'