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Belgian Grand Prix: Permane confident of strong Lotus showing

Alan Permane says he feels Lotus can be in the mix when the F1 season gets back underway at Spa, even though tyre choice isn't ideal for the Enstone-based team
Trackside operations director Alan Permane says he is confident of a step forward for Lotus when the F1 season resumes in Belgium next weekend.

Lotus went into the summer break on the back of two solid races in Germany and Hungary, with Kimi Raikkonen finishing as runner-up in both and Romain Grosjean also taking to the podium at the Nurburgring.

Those podiums came after a mini slump in form and have brought Lotus right back into contention in the title race, with Permane hopeful of further progress at Spa.

“Although we have had a decent gap of four weeks between races, two of those are eliminated by the enforced factory shutdown,” he said. “This still leaves two weeks of course; a period of time sufficient to bring a few new parts to the table as we would normally do in such a gap.

“The advantage we have with Spa being so close geographically is that we can be working on the cars back at Enstone right up until the Tuesday night before the race, and still have sufficient time to get them to the circuit ready for work on Thursday morning. We've got several updates coming up – both mechanical and aerodynamic – so we're confident of making another step forward.”

Permane did concede however that the tyres chosen by Pirelli for the race weren't likely to play to Lotus' strengths.

“We will also be using the hard and medium compound tyres which – combined with the cooler climate – have not been our strength I think it's fair to say,” he said. “We have however been putting in a lot of time and effort to get the harder tyres working better in lower temperatures, and I'm fairly confident we'll head into this race remaining equally competitive.”

The technical chief also confirmed that Lotus has yet to decide whether it will run its Drag Reduction Device in Belgium, despite the circuit being one that would seem to be well suited.

“Absolutely,” he replied when asked if it was on the radar. “We haven't made a final decision yet as to whether it will be deployed, but we've been conducting a lot of simulation work with the concept to help clarify that decision and there's a good chance we'll see it make an appearance.”



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