Lotus Renault GP technical director James Allison recaps winter testing and sets out his hopes for the R31 prior to the off in Melbourne, Australia.

Q:
James, how has the team coped with the demands of a busy winter test programme?

James Allison:
Winter testing is a challenge on many levels, not just the technical side. There were four tests in quick succession, which is pretty tiring physically for the group of guys involved. Those same people then had to prepare the cars and pack the freight for the first Grand Prix, which is always a race against the clock. As ever, the hours have been long but everyone has done an excellent job to get us ready in time for the start of the season.

Q:
And on the technical side?

James Allison:
Obviously a F1 car is an extremely complicated piece of equipment, and with the R31 almost every part is brand new and needs validating. So the list of things you have to demonstrate to yourself is very long. That's always a challenge in any season, but it's made even more complex when you have to cope with the return of KERS and the arrival of the adjustable rear wing. And that's before you consider the amount of work we had to do adapting to the new Pirelli tyres. It meant there was a lot of work to do in a very short space of time.

Q:
Talking of the tyres, how do you think they will impact on the racing?

James Allison:
Well, I will only repeat what others have already said on the matter. Tyres will be challenging for all the teams because they have been made to be aggressive. They have a high level of degradation per lap, which means you can lose performance very rapidly. Looking after the tyres is something the drivers need to be thinking about all the time and will be a dominating factor in the races. We will probably see three or four stops per race.

Q:
Are you pleased with the progress the team has made over the winter?

James Allison:
I'm pleased that we achieved what we set out to achieve, which was to assess all the new elements of the car and get through our pre-season test programme. But I won't be fully content until we've actually demonstrated in racing conditions that everything is working properly, the car is reliable and we get to the flag showing good pace.

Q:
What are your expectations for the R31?

James Allison:
Based on what I saw during the pre-season, I hope we can arrive in Melbourne with a step forward compared to our pace last season so that we can continue our progress towards the front of the grid.

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