On the heels of a successful debut in the season opener in Bahrain, Lotus Racing has set its sights on veteran F1 teams Sauber and Toro Rosso.
“This is a great start. We’ve done the first massive step, we’ve now got to take some more,” technical director Mike Gascoyne told Reuters after Finland’s Heikki Kovalainen finished 15th and Italian Jarno Trulli 17th on Sunday.
“For us, it’s not about the new teams,” he added. “It’s now about looking at Toro Rosso or Sauber. They are the ones we’ve got to look at, close the gap and go racing.”
Lotus Racing driver Jarno Trulli suffered hydraulics problems that saw him limp the car home but both finished the race and have not provided a baseline for development. That development will be handled by Gascoyne and he has set the bar high.
Is it realistic? For my money, I think it is. Both Saubers retired from Bahrain and the Toro Rosso’s finished 13th and 16th. The methodology of developing the car and setting a goal is a good thing and moving those goal posts ever closer to the midfield is a great way to set expectations that are within the realm of imagination.
The biggest challenge to getting ahead of Sauber and Toro Rosso will not only be the teams themselves but I suspect Virgin Racing will have an answer for that as well should they ferret out their gremlins. The challenge moves forward and Lotus seem poised to thrive under the leadership of Tony Fernandes and Mike Gascoyne. What can we expect in Australia? If I am realistic, I doubt Lotus has guaranteed themselves a year without DNF’s and mechanical problems but I also know this will only make them work harder.