Lotus: Our first step is to score points
11 April 2014 – Lotus says its primary goal at present is to record a maiden points haul with the E22 chassis.
The Enstone-based team, alone in skipping the first pre-season test, has endured countless technical issues with its new car, and drivers Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado are yet to finish inside the top ten.
Although optimistic of big long-term progress, team chiefs have chosen to set clear, step-by-step targets.
"We are a race team so we are here to win, but we are also realistic," Deputy Team Principal Federico Gastaldi said prior to the Chinese Grand Prix. "It would be fantastic to think that we could make a major step forward and fight at the sharp end, but it's too early in the season to talk about where we will be at the end of the year.
"Our first step is to get our cars in the points. Once we're there, we'll be hungry to make further steps quickly."
Technical Director Nick Chester shares Gastaldi's view that the team will soon be able to record a points finish, citing the "tremendous potential" of the E22 and a sizeable improvement between Malaysia and Bahrain.
"In the Bahrain Grand Prix we were closer to Mercedes, Williams and McLaren than we have been previously," said Chester, assessing the team's current position. "Our race-pace gap to the Williams and McLaren is now half a second and it was over a second in Sepang, so we've made a decent incremental improvement.
"Although we were still not quick enough in Bahrain, we actually don't need to find much more performance before we can be regularly in the points. We are about level with Toro Rosso for pace at the moment.
"Were it not for the Safety Car incident in Bahrain, Pastor would have been fighting for our first point. That's not where we want to be, but we're on the edge of the points during what are still very early days for the E22."