Kovalainen Admits Lotus F1 Car is Worse than Minardi's

The last day of testing on the Barcelona track on Sunday marked the official finale of the off-season test in Formula One. Less than two weeks from now, the cars will rejoin an official race track to battle for the first points of the new season, meaning that most of the work should have already been finalized in the garage by now.

If the test on the Spanish track has been quite successful for teams such as McLaren, Ferrari or Red Bull, the newly entrants have suffered for most of the time during the month of February. Struggling with lack of spare parts and an aerodynamic package in an incipient stage, both Virgin Racing and Lotus F1 Team ended the testing in Jerez and Barcelona more than 4 or 5 seconds off the leading pace.

Talking to Finland's Turun Sanomat, Lotus' Heikki Kovalainen made a comparison between his new T127 model and the Minardi car he used to take to the testing track some 6 years ago. And the results are quite worrying for the Malaysian officials at Lotus.

It's difficult because the tires are so different. But the Lotus is probably missing more aerodynamically than the Minardi cars (were) when you compare them with the top (cars),” said Kova, while insisting that the car's aerodynamics is the main field in which Lotus needs to progress through the 2010 season.

The Finnish driver concluded the Barcelona test more than 5 seconds behind leader Lewis Hamilton, while Jarno Trulli's pace was also some 4 seconds down to the leading pack. Nevertheless, talking about his team's progress through the winter, Lotus F1's CEO Tony Fernandes insisted that Bahrain will catch the T127 only 3.5 seconds behind the leading pace.

We reckon we will be 3.5 seconds off the fastest car (in Bahrain), an improvement of 5 seconds from Jerez. We keep chipping away,” said an optimistic Fernandes. Wouldn't that be translated into some 2 laps behind at the finish line...?
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