The final third of this F1 season has saw Team Lotus progress from strength to strength after starting the season failing to mirror their optimism into meaningful results.

In the hands of Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli, the Norfolk based team have been able to mix it with the established teams of Williams and Renault on a number of occasions.

Their target this weekend is no different on a circuit which might not pose the same challenge as others, but is nonetheless important to find the correct balance in order to optimise the 'grippy' track surface.

"I'm looking forward to Abu Dhabi - I've had a run of bad luck in the last few races and I hope I can turn that around in Yas Marina and help the team make sure we get that tenth place this year," Trulli said. "The circuit's not the biggest challenge of the year, but the facilities are great, the track surface is grippy and if you get a good balance you can really push, in the high speed sector from T1 to T7, and around the twisty bits back up to the start line."

The Italian also predicts this weekend's race will offer plenty of overtaking from the combination of DRS and the nature of the Pirelli tyres, contrary to last year's race.

"We saw last year that it's very hard to overtake around the Abu Dhabi track but DRS and the way the Pirellis have performed all year will definitely change that," he said. "The run down to T8 where the DRS zone will be activated will definitely see a lot of passing and I want to make sure I'm up there with the teams we've been fighting with in the last few Grand Prix and racing all weekend."

Team mate Kovalainen also concedes the track itself isn't a major challenge but the element of running while the light fades makes the weekend a unique experience for everyone concerned.

"Two races left and we are going to two of the better circuits on the calendar," he said. "Abu Dhabi's not a hugely challenging circuit to race on, but the timing of the sessions and the fact we are running as the light's fading on Sunday makes it pretty cool for the fans and on TV."

Team Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne sees no reason why his team can't enjoy another strong weekend. Gascoyne explained part of the reason contributing to their surge in performances is getting the most out of their package while the tyres have gained temperature.

The flipside of this factor is having to compromise one lap performance while the tyre goes through the process of gaining heat. Judging by this, Gascoyne and his team will have to monitor this during a weekend which will see fluctuating track and ambient temperatures.

"All season we have seen that when we get the tyres up to temperature we are in a position to push the cars ahead," he said, "and while we have not yet been able to do that in qualifying, we have given the race drivers a package that they can use on Sunday afternoons and give the fans something to get excited about."

Gascoyne also commended his team's attention to detail and dedicated work ethic which has not only seen a turn in performance on track but has also resulted in some sharper pit-stops, always an important factor in completing the race in a fast and efficient manner.

"One fact that came to light after the race last weekend was that we set our quickest ever pitstop time in India, 3.3 seconds, which is light years from where we were back at the start of the season," he said.

"That sort of attention to detail is what separates the quick from the really quick and it is down to hard work, practice and attention to detail from the pitcrew that they can now make such crucial contributions to our race performances. The goal now to is keep that up in Abu Dhabi which is similar to a number of the other circuits we have been quick at this season, so I see no reason why we can't have another strong weekend in Yas Marina before we head to the final race in Brazil."
by Simon Evans

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