Lotus can challenge - Kimi
Kimi Raikkonen is convinced Lotus have the financial resources to go the distance in this year's Formula One world title race.
On his return to F1 last season, following a two-year sabbatical to try his hand at rallying, Raikkonen was within sight of main duellists Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso for the majority of the campaign.
At one stage after the Belgian Grand Prix, Raikkonen was 33 points adrift of then-leader Alonso, but beyond that he never managed to get within striking distance, despite a win in Abu Dhabi.
The Finn ended the year 74 points behind Vettel in third place, which was still a remarkable achievement for him and the Enstone-based team.
With winter testing positive, Raikkonen and Lotus on Sunday proved they would be more than just a threat this year with victory in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Raikkonen described his 20th career win as "easy", yet despite the success, it is fair to say the team lack the financial clout of their main rivals.
The 33-year-old, however, is convinced Lotus can slug it out with Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren over the next 18 races.
"There was a big question mark against us last year as to whether we could keep up with the bigger teams," said Raikkonen.
"It's not going to be easy for us. We have the people, all the tools to make it, but money is a big part of it.
"We don't have the same budget as Ferrari, Red Bull or Mercedes, but we saw last year we did well with money and the things we have.
"If we could get more money that would help, and it will give us a better chance and more fair play against the bigger teams.
"We have good plans, and if we can follow them up it might be good, it might not.
"If you do things right it will go nicely, but then one thing can change the whole year.
"If you do a few things a little bit wrong it can turn around and go downhill after that.
"So we just have to do the normal things, like we did last year, and put good effort into new parts. If we're happy we keep them, if not we have to look more closely.
"So far it has been good, so there is no reason why we can't keep it up."
One of Lotus' key problems is a lack of a title sponsor, unlike the other four teams, as having a major brand behind them would bring in the additional finances required.
Team principal Eric Boullier insists negotiations are ongoing with a number of potential backers.
"We're doing everything we can," said Boullier.
"We're talking to many major partners, and I believe - even if they don't say anything - that they feel we are a top team now, not a one off that has got lucky."