Date: 21st February 2011 at 9:46am
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Looking further down the grid from the headline grabbers and probable title contenders for 2011, the Lotus and Hispania teams have looked to have made good progress heading into the forthcoming season.

This season, hopefully the sports ?new teams? like Lotus, Virgin and Hispania can close the gap on the other teams in the paddock.

At times last season the new cars were almost like a Formula B race, with the only thing in common between them and the more established teams were the same bit of race track that they shared at the start of a race or on multiple occasions when they were lapped.

The sport needs to see these new teams develop and while it remains unlikely that they will be challenging for points on regular occasions, they will hopefully take a step forward in their development.

On Sunday Jarno Trulli was sixth quickest for Lotus, showing that their new car might have improved it?s pace from the 2010: ‘I’m happy because it was a long time that we were not so close to the guys at the top. I’m really happy at the moment about the way we are progressing. he told Autosport Magazine.

But while the Italian was happy with his new toys speed, he did admit that there was still work to be done as reliability issues have prevented them from completing the long run tests that other teams are now working on in Barcelona. ?We need to work, we need to get the mileage done, in order to have more confidence in the car and also, set-up wise, we haven’t done much so I think we are on the right way but we still have a lot to get out of the car.’

Over at Hispania and not only are they testing their new car, but they are also looking at who will become their second driver, with Narain Karthikeyan already secured in the team.

On Saturday Vitantonio Liuzzi had 70 laps in the car, setting a time of 1 minute 27.044, 3.729 seconds behind Red Bull?s Vettel, who had set the fastest time of the day.

Speaking to Formula1.com after Saturday?s testing, Hispania team boss Colin Kolles discussed Liuzzi?s performance: ?It was nice to see Tonio driving for us today, our aim was none other than to have him get used to the car. We tested different settings on the car balance during both sessions and, looking at the times, we clearly improved as the day went on. We are very happy with Tonio?s work today.?

On Sunday it was Giorgio Mondini turn to run tests in Barcelona. Following Karthikeyan?s 32 laps, Mondini ran 39 laps and was a smidgen over 5 seconds slower than Rosberg?s Mercedes.

Karthikeyan?s times were a further 2 seconds behind, but he did run in the wet.

‘I was very pleased to see Giorgio driving, His last time in an F1 car was in 2006 and it was nice to give him the opportunity to drive at this level again. I’m pleased to see he was setting a good pace.’ Kolles said after Sunday?s test session to Autosport Magazine

Today both teams will look to continue that progress, while Liuzzi is likely to hold talks over securing the second seat in Hispania alongside Karthikeyan.

With Mondini almost using his laps on Sunday as a fitness test, Liuzzi has to be favourite to secure that drive, but as keen followers of Formula One will know, it’s not always the best talent that secures drives in F1 so we will have to wait and see.

 

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