Kovalainen things Lotus can close on rivals
Heikki Kovalainen says Team Lotus has the potential to get better and better as the 2011 season goes on, as he reckons the squad will prove this year that it can out-develop its midfield rivals.
"We have a much more advanced package to build on this year," the Finn told Lotus' official podcast.
"Last year the base of the car was such that we knew that we couldn't do much about it.
"It was just a matter of surviving the season, getting that 10th place, then moving on.
"This car is very different, it's been designed like a proper Formula 1 car.
"We have a stronger rear end on the car, aerodynamically the car is better, the weight of the chassis is better, so we can build a lot more around this.
"So I think people can expect that we'll be aiming to get closer to the teams ahead of us as the season goes on."
"That's got to be one of the main focuses of the team: we need to show that we can develop the car through the year, not only design a good car, because in the future even if we design a winning car at the start of the season, if you can't develop that car then you'll be nowhere by the end of the season," he said.
"I don't want to make any predictions at the moment - you just don't know what people are doing," he said.
"Sometimes we are lapping 4s quicker than Red Bull and another time they're lapping 6s quicker than us, you just don't know what's going on with different fuel loads, tires and parts of their testing program.
"All I can say so far is that testing this year has gone much better compared to last year.
"We've always been in the middle of the timing sheets, we've been much, much closer to the cars ahead of us than last year.
"Whether we can make any conclusions from that yet, I don't know.
"But certainly from what I feel and see and hear in the team, we're in much better shape than last year and the car looks much better, so it's got to be quicker than last year's car."