It shouldn't be a problem for the French manufacturer in 2015, but Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez believes that Renault would have been better off spreading its attention to all of its F1 teams last season.

Lotus suffered its worst campaign in recent years by scoring a measly ten points from 19 races in 2014 and, while Lopez does not point the finger entirely at his erstwhile engine partner, the Genii boss insists that its focus on world champions Red Bull may have been misguided.

"It would have been useful for them not to focus their efforts on just one team," Lopez told France's Auto Hebdo as Lotus looks to continue rebuilding at the second F1 group test of the season in Barcelona, "Our new Mercedes engine will make a difference, although Renault was not solely to blame for the disastrous 2014 season."

With Lotus now in the bosom of the powerplant du jour and Caterham on the brink of extinction following the decision to auction off its assets, Renault has only Red Bull and sister team Toro Rosso to cater for in 2015, which could help the marque in its own bid to restore honour.

Lopez and Lotus, meanwhile, move on, determined to erase the memories of last season, which produced only three top ten finishes, and return Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado to the ranks of regular scorers. To that end, the Enstone equipe has toned down its design approach, with a far more conventional E23 being unveiled ahead of the Jerez test earlier this month.

"It's a less aggressive approach," Lopez confirmed, trying to rid himself of images of the twin-tusk 2014 car, "This is not only because we went too far with the E22, but that we also scored an own goal with developments that favoured better top speeds. We paid the price and we learned."

Despite numerous well-publicised departures from within the ranks, which sparked rumours of Lotus' possible demise last season, Lopez reports that, alongside a recruitment drive, key individuals remain on board for 2015.

"There was so much written about good people leaving," he said, "but what is true is that, apart from a few departures, the technical team that was responsible for the [race-winning] 2012 and 2013 cars remains intact."

While Lopez insisted that a smaller but more efficient team could take the fight to F1's 'big boys', lead driver Grosjean also pointed to a more streamlined effort making a difference in 2015.

"Realistically, we want to be in the top ten - and would like to be top five," he told Reuters this week, "I still think there are teams which are a bit stronger than we are, but we are going to do everything we can. We have stability from 2014 to 2015 that we didn't have the previous year, so that's a very good way to start the season. Everyone knows his job and everyone is doing it properly and that's going to certainly help us."

The Frenchman was also happier with the car he is to drive this year, revealing it to be a definite step forward over the unloved E22.

"It felt pretty good to be fair," he said of the new E23, after completing 53 laps on his single day of testing at Jerez, "We know Mercedes is the best power unit on the grid, [and] our start with them has been very smooth. Everything is working as we would like so at least that is one question mark removed from the equation."

While Grosjean's tally was almost half of what Lotus achieved in testing throughout the build-up to the 2014 campaign, Maldonado's 137-lap contribution took the total well above the previous paltry total, and the Frenchman knows that he and the team have something to work with.

"Last year, at this stage, was difficult for us," Grosjean continued, "We missed Jerez and then went to Bahrain and didn't do a lap, so it's been a big difference.

"This year, when you get into the corners, the car feels stable, you don't have any bad surprises - it's predictable and you can push harder. I had a big smile on my face as the car was nice to drive."



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