Lotus team boss Eric Boullier has claimed returning the famous name to the forefront of F1 would be good for the sport, and not just for the publicity it may gain.
While the racing world is divided about the reappearance of the Lotus name in the top flight, there is no doubt that many outsiders have taken an interest in its story and would celebrate any success that comes its way. Kimi Raikkonen showed that the Enstone operation had the potential to win races when he pounced on the opportunity to occupy the top step in Abu Dhabi last season, but Boullier reckons that sustained Lotus success would send another message to those within
“I think it would be a good sign for the sport and the big teams as the message is clear: they are smaller and with less money, but they are still on our heels, fighting with us for top positions and we are spending twice the money,” he reasoned in an interview with the official F1 website, “Maybe there is something wrong.”
Boullier clearly believes in his team, and even suggests that it could have been more than a threat for podiums and the occasional win last season had previous years not been blighted with misfortune.
“In the last two years, we have had our share of misfortune - think about the [Robert] Kubica [rally] accident,” he pointed out, “Then we took some technical gambles that didn't work so well. So 2012 can be considered good - Think of where we could be without all those 2011 hiccups!
“Our success is very much based on the fact that we've tried to go different ways and that our shareholders followed us in each and every decision that we've made. Kimi, for example, was clearly a gamble…”
Raikkonen will continue to lead the team in 2013, and he and Romain Grosjean enjoyed a successful start to the campaign in pre-season testing at Jerez, posting top four times and racking up in excess of 260 laps of the Spanish circuit.
“After the orgy of work at the factory to prepare the car over the winter months, it is always a welcome relief once the testing campaign finally kicks off; not because the pressure backs off, but because we get a chance - finally - to see what we have been working on,” technical director James Allison commented.
“It is tremendously exciting for the whole team, but very nerve wracking as well. We desperately want the performance to be good, but we are all aware of the thousands of potential traps in bringing a complex car to the track for the first time. We have had a good first test. The car seems competitive, and while there is always a background hubbub of problems to be solved, we are delighted with the basic reliability of the E21.
“With Jerez now behind us, our thoughts have already turned to Barcelona in ten days' time. There is a mountain of work ahead, but we are looking forward to our next opportunity to run the car.”