Lotus Racing's chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne has revealed that this weekend's British Grand Prix will see the last major evolution added to the T127 before work switches to building and developing next year's car.
While not yet the most reliable of the newcomer teams - that honour falls to HRT - Lotus is easily the closest to rivalling more established outfits, and currently occupies the lucrative tenth spot in the constructors' championship courtesy of Heikki Kovalainen's 13th place finish in Australia. However, with the desire to build on this year's experience and data, Gascoyne is adamant that attention will switch to 2011 once the Malaysia-owned team's second 'home' race is out of the way.
“We're looking to take another step forward this weekend, with an update package that will give us another chance to take the fight to the teams ahead," he confirmed, "We have a number of lightweight parts across the car that, among other benefits, will help us use the ballast more effectively, giving our drivers a better chance to optimise balance and set-up.
"We also have the last major aero modifications of the season, including a new floor and various bodywork updates, and then the design team's attention turns to next year's car. It's a very exciting time for Lotus Racing, and our second home race of the season will be a great occasion for everyone associated with our team - it's a great chance for the fans to see us in competitive action for the first time in the UK.”
After Kovalainen's dramatic exit from the European GP - a race that saw Jarno Trulli trail in four laps down after trouble at the start - Lotus is keen to get a solid finish on the board at Silverstone, especially as the crowd will contain a large number of employees and special guests.
“Silverstone is obviously an important race for us, and it's going to be very busy for everyone in the team," principal Tony Fernandes admitted, "A lot of the guys at the factory will be in the stands, alongside our growing army of fans, and it's great that we're giving them the chance to see our green and yellow cars taking the fight to the established midfield teams at the home of motor racing.
"It's also a great honour for us to welcome Hazel Chapman in on Sunday - she's going to officially open our new motorhome, and that'll be a great occasion for all of us. I hope we can continue to do justice to Colin's legacy as we find more pace, lighten the car and grow as a team and, with Hazel and Clive Chapman at Silverstone with us, I think we're in very good company.”
The other major development in the Lotus camp for Silverstone is the confirmation that test driver Fairuz Fauzy will be back in the cockpit for the first of four additional appearances in Friday practice.
“I know Silverstone very well, both from racing there numerous times in the past, and also because I live right next to the circuit," the Malaysian commented, "I'm very excited about getting out on track in front of my friends, family and fans, and it'll be a real honour to not only be one of the first F1 cars to try out the new layout, but also to be able to bring the Lotus marque back to its spiritual home.
"The new layout looks very quick, and it'll be very interesting to see how best to attack it, so I'll do the best job I can to help the team maximise the upgrades we've put on the car at one of my favourite tracks in the world.”