Lotus F1 chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne has said that the Malaysian outfit wants to be close to the midfield by the time the circus returns to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya in May.

Lotus announced its driver line-up last month, signing experienced Toyota refugee Jarno Trulli and Lewis Hamilton's former McLaren-Mercedes team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, and Gascoyne has revealed that both drivers should benefit from a major update for the fifth round in the championship.

"We are aiming to be ahead of the new teams when we reach Bahrain but we will also like to be close to the midfield teams after the first few races of the season," Gascoyne told the team's official website.

"The update we have planned for Spain will see a boost in performance when we reach Barcelona which will give us the chance to start fighting with the slowest of the established teams which, given progress so far, has to be our next goal."

Gascoyne meanwhile also echoed recent comments made by Lotus F1 boss Tony Fernandes when he said they are ahead of schedule with their preparations for F1 2010.

"We had been looking at firing up our engine for the first time on 12 February, but with the efforts everyone's been putting in we have now been able to bring that forward to 5 February," Gascoyne explained.

"This is obviously a great boost for everyone involved in the team, and shows how much hard work has already gone in since we had our entry confirmed on September 12.

"With the engine fire up date now in the diary, we are also in a position to confirm that we will be on track for the first time at the third official test at Jerez from 17 February, and then at Barcelona from 25 February.

"We are also aiming to run chassis two for the last two days of that Barcelona test," he summed-up.