Matthew Carter, the man charged with overseeing the future of the Lotus F1 team, believes that the company has 'a strong and stable base', but admits that there will always be challenges to overcome.
Carter replaced Patrick Louis as CEO of the Enstone equipe
in early January and has spent the past few weeks weighing up the task of keeping Lotus relevant in F1, particularly with the loss of star driver Kimi Raikkonen, team principal Eric Boullier and the non-appearance of Quantum Motorsports as potential financial investor which, is it widely assumed, led to the team signing Pastor Maldonado over Nico Hulkenberg.
“I think it's no secret to say that last year, while very positive on the track, was challenging off the track,” Carter noted as the team's new E22 was officially launched in Bahrain, “This year, 2014, we're looking to be as successful away from the track as we are on it. With that in mind, we have a new financial stability which will allow us to go forwards, develop the car and hopefully enable us to be challenging right at the front of the grid.”
While the team has always maintained that, financially, it would be okay for 2014, Carter admits that it needs to remain competitive on track through to the end of the season – particularly important in a year where great technical changes threaten to shake up the order, especially in the early races.
“The challenges that we face this year are ensuring that we can continue to develop the car during the season,” he confirmed, “We're very confident that we have a strong car to start the season with, and the challenges are making sure that we're on top of the development programme to ensure the car remains competitive throughout the year.
“The 2014 car is an immense change from what we've seen before. We've been working towards this car for well over two years and a large section of our workforce has been working on it. The new regulations represent a clean sheet of paper for the whole grid, and hopefully it represents an opportunity for us to challenge right at the front.
“Beyond this, we have to adapt to all the challenges that F1 teams face both on track, in the factory and in a commercial sense. We're confident that we have a strong and stable base for the future.
“The team at Enstone has an immense amount of qualities and strengths; the DNA that is coursing through the veins of everyone who works at Enstone is fantastic. The team that we have technically and in terms of development is second to none and I believe that the investments we've made in the factory and our technology will ensure that we're right at the front of the grid this season. To harness this best you need a secure financial footing which is something we recognise fully and have focused on during the off-season. We are well-placed for the season ahead - and beyond this year too.”