Lotus: 'We're only half a second off Williams'
© Lotus F1 Team, LAT
|11 April 2014 by TF1T Staff||Tweet
Lotus claim they're not far from regularly scoring points this season according to technical director Nick Chester, who also believes they're about half a second off McLaren and Williams.
Whilst the team have suffered several setbacks this year, Romain Grosjean managed to finish 11th in Malaysia and 12th in Bahrain, whilst Pastor Maldonado managed 14th.
Chester reckons the Venezuelan would have been in the points had it not been for his collision with Esteban Gutierrez.
"The E22 has tremendous potential even if we are only gradually unlocking it," he said. "Although we were still not quick enough in Bahrain, we actually don't need to find much more performance before we can be regularly in the points. We are about level with Toro Rosso for pace at the moment.
"Were it not for the safety car incident in Bahrain, Pastor would have been fighting for our first point.
"Our qualifying pace hasn't been on the same level to our race pace. Our race-pace gap to the Williams and McLaren is now half a second and it was over a second in Sepang, so we've made a decent incremental improvement.
"That's not where we want to be, but we're on the edge of the points during what are still very early days for the E22."
The Briton revealed that the team will be bringing a new nose to China to evaluate during practice as well as other ugrades and power unit improvements.
"We're going to attempt to get as much as we can out of FP1 and FP2 in Shanghai to test new parts," he explained. "We have a lot of aero parts we want to evaluate throughout the E22, including an evolution to our nose.
"We’ve also got some aerodynamic developments that should be interesting to evaluate for China, when we are hoping for a bit more out of the power unit as well, both reliability and pace wise. Expect to see some bodywork upgrades in China and then a bigger upgrade in Barcelona."