Boullier confident for future
Lotus boss Eric Boullier is convinced the team have taken a step forward for the new season, but is already planning a revolution for 2014.
Boullier has conceded Lotus endured "a few glitches" throughout pre-season testing that affected their running, to such an extent the Enstone-based marque clocked up the fewest miles on track over the winter.
But despite the issues, the impression was the E21 at the hands of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean could be a serious contender for honours when the season gets under way in Australia this weekend.
With Raikkonen third in last season's drivers' championship and Lotus fourth in the constructors', the aim now is to build and improve.
Boullier said: "We can take quite a bit of confidence following pre-season testing.
"We didn't complete as many laps as we wanted, but we were able to work through most of the items in our itinerary, and we are confident we have made a step forward compared to last year.
"I believe we have kept the main strength of the car from last year, which was very conservative on tyre wear and degradation.
"We've also proven our capability to deliver one-lap pace, which is important for qualifying.
"There is a long-term plan and a clear road map to the front of the grid.
"Last year we showed some peaks of good performance and were nearly always at or near the front.
"I feel this year we will be even more so, and the key element will be to maintain that performance and pace to fight for regular points and podiums."
But it is to next year on which Boullier also has a keen eye trained in light of the new engine regulations because a team that can hit the ground running in 2014 will be set for the years that follow.
With engines to change from 2.4-litre V8s to 1.6-litre turbo-charged V6s, Boullier said: "These changes will be a revolution in the Formula One world.
"Our design office started work on the next generation of cars quite a few months ago, but asking engineers to work in advance is not going to be enough if we want to be competitive in 2014.
"To achieve this, we'll need to establish a new way of operating which will allow us to be much more efficient.
"Our view is that, in order to be competitive in the future, Formula One teams should forget about the way they've been operating for years and should reinvent themselves."