Lotus boss Tony Fernandes has said that there is more to come from the teams F1 2010 car, and that it could be as much as even half a second.
Fernandes was delighted following qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix, as Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen once again ensured that they locked-out the new teams 'front-row', ahead of both Virgins and the two Hispania's.
He also pointed out that the Norfolk-based squad is edging closer and closer to the likes of Toro Rosso and Williams, and in the end Trulli's best effort was just seven tenths off Sebastien Buemi, the last runner to make it into Q2.
“All in all today's been another good day and it proves to me that our future is very bright,” Fernandes reflected. “To be honest I was starting to dream about Q2, and while we may still be a little bit off that we're clearly getting closer and closer, and thinking back to where we started, that's incredible.
“We need to work on giving Jarno more confidence in the car, and perhaps today we could have got more from Heikki's tyres, but I think there's still more to come from the 2010 car – maybe even another 0.5 seconds. Tomorrow will be all about getting two cars home, and I know our team has the experience and strength to do that.
“Today we were just 3.2 seconds off the pace of the Red Bulls in Q1 and if you cast your mind back 10 short weeks to Bahrain you can see just how far we've come. There we were over five seconds away from the outright Q1 pace and anyone in the sport will tell you what an achievement it is to find nearly two seconds in just seven races. We were also just 2.4 seconds off Ferrari, celebrating their 800th race in Turkey, which is pretty spectacular for a team who are only seven races old – I think that shows to all those who expressed doubts about our participation that they were wrong.
“We're also now in a position to turn our attention to the 2011 car, but we're still here and fighting hard for this season – I want, in the nicest possible way, to take this fight to my mentors Frank Williams and Patrick Head and their team, from whom I've learnt an awful lot over the last few years, and compete with them and the likes of Toro Rosso and Sauber, and today's yet another example of how we really can dream of doing just that.”
Trulli and Kovalainen were also both encouraged by the performance of the Cosworth-powered T127.
“It was good out there today,” Kovalainen noted. “On our first run we went with the soft tyre which was probably the wrong choice as it wasn't working quite as well as yesterday, but the second run on the primes was good. The car felt particularly stable around the high speed corners and the balance felt great so I'm happy.
“Jarno did a better time today, but I'm pushing hard - I'm always pushing to the limit and am looking forward to the race tomorrow. I feel confident, and hope we can close the gap again to the other guys ahead.”
Trulli added: “I'm pretty pleased even though it was a bit of a difficult day. I had a minor problem this morning which meant I couldn't really use all the time available to focus on setting up the car, so I just got in and got on with it. In quali I used both sets of hard tyres and it felt like the track was quite slippery, particularly in the braking zones, so I changed my driving style a bit and think I did quite a good job to be best of the new teams.
“I think we are catching up with the guys ahead, even though we are still a bit off. But we will have another big step when we go to Silverstone, and we're also now working hard on next year's car, so we're definitely going in the right direction,” he concluded.