And this time it will be Finnish driver Heikki Kovalainen who will stay on the sidelines in the first 90-minute of action at Sepang International Circuit, after his teammate Jarno Trulli has done the same in Australia. Two weekends ago, it was Indian driver Karun Chandhok who got to take the T128 for a ride alongside the Albert Park circuit, on Friday's FP1.
Hopefully though, Valsecchi will have a little more luck than his fellow reserve driver two days from now, as we all know what happened to Chandhok during the season opener.
While enjoying the honor of becoming the very first driver to take his car out of the pits and onto the track in the 2011 Formula 1 season, Chandhok spent less than one kilometer on the Albert Park circuit. On Turn 3, he lost control of his car and ran into the tire wall, damaging his car beyond quick repair. He had to sit in the Team Lotus garage for the entire morning afterwards.
Valsecchi first tested an F1 car for Hispania Racing F1 Team last autumn, during the Rookie F1 Test in Abu Dhabi. Later on, he signed a deal with Team AirAsia to run in the GP2 Asia Series, which he finished in 7th place (the championship had only 2 events/4 races). He is joined in the Team Lotus reserve driver scheme by Chandhok, Team AirAsia teammate Luiz Razia and Ricardo Teixeira.