Fielding a car for Formula One is a difficult task and perhaps equally difficult is the development of that car throughout the year to keep pace with the other teams. Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes and Lotus are all teams with a strong development cycle and at the height of the development war during the season, as much as 5% of the car can be changed each grand prix weekend.
Its clear that what you put on the grid in Australia is not the car you finish with in Brazil. Teams asses their development process during the season based upon where they are int eh championship, where they are likely to place in the championship, how much cash they have to compete in the development war and other factors. At some point the teams will stop developing and focus on the next season’s car.
Lotus F1 boss Eric Boullier is suggesting that the teams will making that turn toward 2014 soon and that this stoppage in car development for 2-13 will allow them to be competitive for the remainder of the year. Eric said:
“I think we will see most of the teams – with the exception maybe of Red Bull – slowing right down in their development of this year’s cars in preparation for the challenge of 2014,” Boullier said.
“With this in mind I think we are in a very strong position for the second half of the season, as our car is currently competing at the very front of the pack.
If the top three in the championship is your goal, then Lotus F1 look like they may have a realistic target. They are currently in 4th place just 11 points behind Ferrari however, Kimi Raikkonen overtook Fernando Alonso in the Driver’s Championship by one point in Hungary two weeks ago.
Beating Ferrari will boil down to the remainder of the development war and if the Scuderia take their eye off the 2013 chassis, then perhaps Lotus F1 could have a chance. The only way of beating Red Bull is to start winning races or hope that Red Bull has a spate of mechanical issues for the balance of the season.
It is also critical that Romain Grosjean start scoring consistent points. The young Frenchman needs to mark Felipe Massa as his target and make sure he outscores the Brazilian in the remaining races. This would leave Kimi and Fernando to battle it out for third place in the Constructor’s Championship. Spa will be the start of that battle and it seems Lotus is coming prepared:
“We also have a strong upgrade package for Spa which will most likely form our baseline for the remainder of the year, so our aim should be to continue fighting for podiums right to the end.” said Boullier.