Apr.26 (GMM) If the new team’s predictions are right, Lotus is set to take a big step forward at the Spanish grand prix next weekend.
“We are hoping for a time saving of more than a second (per lap),” Heikki Kovalainen told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.
The Finnish driver, however, acknowledged that most other teams will also field quicker cars at Barcelona, the first European race of the season and usually the annual scene of major developments.
“But we might have more room (for improvement) than our competitors,” added Kovalainen, referring to the car’s conservative cooling solution, the basic double diffuser and the steel suspension uprights fielded so far this season.
Among F1’s three new teams, the pace of the Lotus and Virgin cars has been close so far. Virgin is also planning an upgrade for Barcelona, including its famous bigger fuel tank.
Said Lotus’ technical boss Mike Gascoyne: “The Barcelona package has been in the wind tunnel for six months.” The rear is narrower, the sidepod entries more extreme, the wheelbase longer.
“It will be at least a second faster,” he confirmed.
Team boss Tony Fernandes said he is pushing Lotus to set high targets.
“You’ve got to benchmark yourself against the best, otherwise don’t bother being in it,” he told the Malaysian newspaper The Star.