Date: 11th April 2011 at 10:55am
Written by:

All in all, it was a very pleasing race for the newbie Formula One teams in Malaysia.

After failing to qualify for the opening race of the season in Australia, Hispania made the grid in Sepang, neither car finished, but just being able to be running on a Sunday is an achievement for a team which has really struggled ever since it joined F1 last year.

Timo Glock finished in 16th place for Virgin Racing, showing that their car has some reliability, even Jerome D’Ambrosio who failed to finish only lost power due in his car after hitting a kerb too hard which forced his retirement.

But it was Lotus who really looked like taking a significant step forward in Sepang.

Trulli was unfortunate to retire on lap 32 after suffering with clutch problems, but Heikki Kovalainen impressed to finish 15th and also threaten the more established teams for race pace.

‘Overall our pace was very good at the end, particularly when we were with the leading cars, and we were very close to passing one of the Toro Rossos as we came over the line which shows how we have progressed,’ Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne told Autosport Magazine.

‘This weekend has been by far our strongest race performance since we came back into Formula 1, so it is good to be racing again.’

Team boss Tony Fernandes added: ‘I’m thrilled that we have recorded 15th at what was a very tough circuit, so huge congratulations to the whole team and well done to everyone.’

It really would be great for Formula One if one of the newbie teams can really push on and compete with the more established teams this season and Lotus really do look likely to be in a position to do that at some stage this season.