Now, after a disappointing start of the season, Trulli has reiterated his belief that it's not necessarily the pace of the Lotus cars, but the totally different tires that were provided to the team as compared to the testing period that ruined the weekend for his squad. Despite the decent pace in testing, Team Lotus recorded lap times several seconds slower than those of the pace-setters.
“The most important thing to be said is that every result this weekend, whether positive or negative, has a common cause: the Pirelli tires,” he said in a recent column for Italy's La Repubblica newspaper.
“They've left us all shocked. I don't mean they were better or worse than we had expected, I mean that they were completely different: it's as if they have been changed since the last tests in Barcelona.”
Indeed, some visible differences between the Barcelona and the Australian GP tire compounds were noticed, for example the improved level of tire wear this last weekend. If some projected 3 to 4 pitstop race strategies in Melbourne, a particular driver blew those expectations away: Sergio Perez did the 58 laps of his first F1 race with a single pit stop (2 sets of tires).
“During the winter all of us, in every team, have worked with tires that would deteriorate immediately. It was a characteristic of the tires, and there's been some polemics too. So we had thought the problem was to make them last long enough. Instead here in Melbourne we've found ourselves with tires that had no durability problems,” added Trulli, who said getting the compounds up to temperature was the biggest challenge of the weekend.
The same issues were reported by Ferrari after the qualifying session on Saturday, with Fernando Alonso and the Scuderia pointing at the amount of time the new Pirelli tires need to get up to temperature for their poor performance in qualy.