Lotus team boss Eric Boullier says sixth place in the constructors' championship is not a fair reflection of the true level of performance of the Enstone-based team.
The former Renault outfit has picked up 24 points from the opening three races of the year but missed out on a possible podium finish in China when Kimi Raikkonen's tyres went off in the closing stages as the team attempted to pull off a two-stop strategy.
Having admitted to some disappointment at the way the Shanghai race panned out, Boullier said he was keen to get over some of his early season frustration with a double points finish in Bahrain this weekend – with the team having failed to get two cars into the top ten so far in 2012.
“I spoke about frustration before China and I think this is what I feel the most at the moment,” he said. “We've only been scoring with one car in the first three races. When you look at the classification in Shanghai, McLaren, Red Bull, Sauber and Williams all had both their drivers in the top ten. This is really what we should be aiming for in Bahrain.
“I believe the Constructors' Championship classification does not reflect our true level of performance. Ten laps before the end of the race in China, we were still second and sixth, and looking quite strong. We need to keep this level of performance until the chequered flag.”
Boullier added that the team was heading for Bahrain hoping for a trouble-free race after issues in all three races run so far.
“I would say these expectations are a copy and paste from China,” he said. “Our aim will be to have a trouble-free weekend and show what we can do with the E20. This is the minimum, and unlike what happened at each of the first three races, there should not be any rain to make our life difficult in Bahrain!
“Having both cars in the top ten would be a nice improvement. Our potential is plain to see. I don't like being in sixth position in the Constructors' Championship, but we should not remain there for too long!”
One are where Lotus can improve is in the pits, where both Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean have lost places this season; with Boullier admitting that design changes would have to be made to the E20 to rectify an issue currently in place.
“We know where the problem is coming from,” he said. “Our guys have little to do with it. In order to improve our pitstops, we'll have to re-design and manufacture some parts of our equipment. This won't be ready for Bahrain but we will make a step forward in Barcelona for sure.”