Trackside operations director Alan Permane insists that Romain Grosjean could lead the Lotus team in 2014 when Kimi Raikkonen leaves for Ferrari.
The Frenchman has produced some impressive results in recent races as he seeks to make up for a troubled 2012 campaign that included a one-race ban for his part in the incident at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.
A podium finish in Germany – his second of the season – was followed by a strong run in Hungary, while the former GP2 title winner could well have finished on the podium in Singapore had mechanical issues not forced him into retirement.
Grosjean – who had qualified on the second row of the grid in Singapore – will now hope to end the season strong, and Permane said he felt recent performances had shown he has the potential to become the leader of the Enstone-based squad when Raikkonen moves on.
"I don't see why not, honestly,” he told ESPN
when asked if Grosjean could become the Lotus number one. “It obviously depends who we get as his team-mate; if it's a strong character or who it is, but I don't see why not. Now is his chance and he looks to be taking it, which is really good to see.
"I think Romain himself has made - I wouldn't call it a breakthrough - but since the Nurburgring, Hungary, he's just been getting better and better and better. When it counted [in Singapore] he had a difficult Friday, he had a few car problems and didn't run a great deal, but he had an excellent Saturday.
“We knew we had the potential to do well and he delivered, and I think for his head that will be very, very important. He'll know that he can do it."