Lotus Racing chief Tony Fernandes has set his sights on Toro Rosso and Sauber after Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli qualified as the best of the newcomers for the Australian Grand Prix.
Although Kovalainen was two seconds behind Renault's Vitaly Petrov in qualifying, the team already has the edge over fellow newcomers Virgin and Hispania having secured a finish in Bahrain and Fernandes insisted that closing the gap to some of the established teams was now the focus.
“Once again Lotus Racing has done us proud,” he said. “Consistency and reliability are still our key aims, and the whole team has successfully maintained our quiet progress. Next step is to take the fight to Toro Rosso and BMW Sauber and we'll keep on fighting to achieve that.
“As you know Australia is an important place for me, and I – along with all our fans and Clive's lucky cap - am very much looking forward to seeing Lotus once again on the grid in Melbourne.”
Trulli's showing in taking 20th on the grid came despite an issue with the seat in his car, but – like team-mate Kovalainen – the Italian said he was confident of a solid race.
“I had a problem with the seat which meant it wasn't easy to drive, bouncing around in the car, so it was a difficult qualifying session,” he said. “I'm pleased for the team though, as both cars are ahead of the new teams and we're performing really well. It's good to see that we have quite a big gap to the other new teams on this track and we're very satisfied with that – we're confident for tomorrow and we'll do our best to try and finish the race again.”