Alexander Rossi Sets Second Fastest Lap at FR3.5 test, Motorland
9th March 2011: Alexander commenced two days of intensive testing with his 2011 World Series Renault team, Fortec Motorsport, at Motorland, Spain this week. Alexander had to get to grips with not only joining a new team, but working for the first time alongside his engineer in Formula Renault 3.5.
On a wet first morning’s running yesterday, there were a few teething problems to iron out, but Alexander was quick to become accustomed to the new Dallara chassis and was able to provide invaluable technical feedback to develop the car. Both the handling and performance improved dramatically towards the end of the day and it concluded with Alexander being much happier with the increased sustainable pace they had found. He finished the day in 5th position out of the 23-strong field, only 0.31 seconds off P1, providing the championship winning Fortec Motorsport team with a very respectable 1 minute 43.266 seconds lap time out of a 61-lap programme.
Alexander took a change to today’s planned test programme in his stride this morning and showed the Team why he is a title contender this year. A new tyre run planned for the afternoon was brought forward to the morning and Alexander used this track time to full advantage, he set the 2nd fastest lap time for the combined 2-day test at 1 minute 42.401 seconds. The sunnier afternoon comprised race simulation, pit stop practice and heavy fuel load runs with Alexander finishing the day having completed 72 laps, and a total of 133 laps for the entire test, or 712 kilometres.
Jamie Dye, Team Manager, Fortec Motorsport: “This morning Alexander set a time that was 2nd quickest for both days on a new tyre run, which is very respectable. Our original plan was to run one new tyre set this morning and one this afternoon, but looking at the weather forecast it was going to be constant and cool, so we changed our programme to include both sets this morning. This meant that we had time to run a race programme in the afternoon, so Alexander’s times from this session are not indicative of where he could have been. I believe he would have also been in the top 3 had he been running a tyre programme. Alexander has a positive attitude and the changes we made to his car, some ideas came from him and some from his engineer, made significant improvements, so they are already working well together. The work we have achieved here in Spain has been very constructive and I am sure that we shall soon be in the fight with the second year drivers.”
Alexander Rossi: “Heading in to a new team and having to find your feet at times can be difficult for team and driver. Not this time, we work through some initial car sorting, but were in a rhythm straight away – talking though engineering solutions and my driving style. Each time we took to the track yesterday the car improved, and today we made another jump forward from the good base yesterday which produced a greater improvement. On a fast lap in the morning my first two sector times were purple. If I hadn’t made a slight mistake in sector 3, I would have been top on the time sheet. The afternoon race programme was good, working on long race runs, heavy fuel and pit stops. When you join a new team there are uncertainties, but Fortec is high calibre. The team has a good atmosphere and my teammate Cesar also did a good job. We are in good shape and everything points toward a good season ahead.”