Lotus team boss Eric Boullier is confident his team can win again this season following Kimi Raikkonen's success in Abu Dhabi.
Raikkonen gave the Enstone-based outfit its first victory since Japan 2008 last Sunday and while there are only two races remaining in the 2012 F1 World Championship, the triumph at the Yas Marina Circuit has given the former Renault outfit a real boost.
“People are happy and have a new spring in their step; even if the weather outside the factory is very cold now!” Boullier remarked in the countdown to next week's US Grand Prix.
“There's a fantastic feeling of excitement and we have two races yet to go. We did it once and we can do it again this season. It took us time to get this win but we all knew that we could do it.”
Boullier also added that the win proves Raikkonen is back in tip-top form: “This [victory for Kimi] was maybe a surprise for anyone on the outside of the team that doubted him, but for everyone on the inside it was not,” he continued.
“Kimi has certainly made his mark and shown that he's back in F1 and back at his best form. Having him back getting podiums and a win is great for him, great for the team and great for the fans. Moreover, “Leave me alone, I know what I'm doing” has already become a F1 classic!”
Despite the teams successes though, Boullier is aware they will need to keep on pushing if they are to trouble Red Bull Racing, Ferrari and McLaren week-in-and-week-out.
“Fourth place [in the Constructors'] was obviously the target we set ourselves at the start of the year and that's where we are right now. Obviously, you can be fourth and close behind third position, or fourth and just in front of fifth,” he noted. “Our position relative to fifth-placed Mercedes is quite flattering. Being fourth and fighting with teams like Ferrari and McLaren - by having a win on the board and a number of podiums – has clearly put us in a position where we could develop a stronger image of a team growing and maturing; a team on the up. This is certainly appealing from a commercial point of view and the numbers of partners joining us this year is a proof of that.
“On the other hand though, fourth is still fourth, and we know how much harder we need to push in developing our resources and the company to ensure we can break into the top three next year.”
Meanwhile, looking ahead specifically to the inaugural race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, like most, Boullier believes the return of the US GP is important: “We as a team are very happy to be returning to the USA especially as we strongly believe that it's a market where F1 should be. We already have some American partners, so it's good to be racing in their home country. It a land of tremendous opportunity for F1 and we hope to build on this opportunity in the future.
“Also, we took part in the opening ceremony of the track two weeks ago, and the buzz it has generated was quite surprising. I'm sure that America likes F1 more than people think.”