Mike Gascoyne confident Team Lotus has learned from Canada
Mike Gascoyne believes lessons have been learned by Team Lotus from their poor Montreal weekend.
Hingham's Formula One outfit are currently in Valencia for Sunday's European Grand Prix, and the team's Norwich-born chief technical officer expects their difficult race in Canada a fortnight ago – finishing behind some of their fellow 2010 new boys – will be put to bed.
'We learnt a number of important lessons in Canada and that weekend is now behind us and we are straight in to Valencia,' said Gascoyne.
'In terms of downforce levels Valencia is unlike most of the other tracks in the calendar – we run more wing than in Canada for example, but less than a number of the other tracks like Barcelona or Turkey.'
A mixture of bad luck and poor pit stop calls led to arguably the low point of Team Lotus' season to date in North America, but team principal Tony Fernandes is equally bullish.
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'The Canada weekend was definitely one of highs and lows,' said Fernandes. 'Our performance in qualifying was especially pleasing and the aim is to build on that again in Valencia and throughout the season, but the race was obviously a missed opportunity.
'It is important that we learn from that experience, cut out the same mistakes again and make sure we are in the right place to take advantage of such extraordinary circumstances in the future. It is all part of the learning curve and you have to have the lows to truly appreciate the highs.
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'On track the goals are clear – repeat the qualifying performance from Canada and keep up our much improved reliability record to bring both cars home on Sunday. It would also be good if the other drivers on the grid could avoid using either of our cars as launch ramps this year,' he added, referring to the dramatic coming together between Heikki Kovalainen and Red Bull star Mark Webber.
Team Lotus's Finnish driver Kovalainen said: 'I'm looking forward to the European GP as I think the heat and the demands of the circuit should suit our car well. It's not exactly a street circuit, it's a semi-street circuit with a very smooth track surface with almost no bumps and low kerbs.
'It has long straights and a number of tight corners that means finding the right downforce level is critical to maximising performance.
'Q2 is still the goal for qualifying and then let's see what happens on Sunday.'
Reserve driver Karun Chandhok's seat for free practice one lasted just two laps after a gearbox failure, while the rest of the day ran relatively smoothly for the Norfolk constructor ahead of Saturday's qualifying.