Eric Boullier says he is confident that the Lotus team is heading in the right direction ahead of the 2012 F1 season after the new E20 showed encouraging in pace during pre-season testing.
The team bounced back from mechanical issues that forced it to abort its running during the second test of the winter to lead the way on three days out of four in the final test of the off-season in Barcelona.
With a new look driver line-up of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean for the season ahead, hopes are high within Lotus of a strong year to bounce from the issues encountered last year, when the team struggled to build on an encouraging start
“After a difficult 2011 season – my second year in Formula 1 – I certainly feel much more positive and encouraged by everything I see in the team,” Boullier said. “We are headed in the correct direction. Last year was a tough experience from which everyone involved learnt a lot. Let's get racing.
“It looks positive. At testing you never know what people are doing but from the Lotus F1 Team perspective our drivers were happy with the car's easiness to drive and overall performance. The E20 reacts well to driver input and engineer changes so the whole package is a decent basis for us to work from. Of course, we don't know where we are standing relative to the other teams. We certainly believe that this year the competition will be much closer and we hope we're at the right end of that competition.”
While admitting that the issue faced with the car during pre-season had been far from ideal, Boullier said the manner in which Lotus had responded had left him pleased.
“It was an unexpected issue and we would have been pleased to avoid this kind of drama,” he said, “however it's clear that the way the team handled this problem showed us in a very good light. Everyone pulled together and focused on the solution rather than what went wrong. We and the right approach to solve the problem and everything was turned around very quickly and to the same high quality we see in the rest of the E20. We leave this issue behind us now and that should be it for surprises.
“We want to be seen and performing as one of the top teams in this highly competitive sport. For me this year will be monitored by the progress we make during the course of the season. That will be much more encouraging than any expectation of results or particular figures. If we can finish higher in the rankings I will be very happy and that would be the best reward for our sponsors and for our team. That is clearly a target. We want to do better, we want to be better, we want to score more podiums and if we have a chance to win any races we'll be more than happy. The way we progress over the course of the season is the main goal.”