|The Renault powered Lotus team does not stand a chance against the Mercedes teams. Not a chance.|
Lotus Technical Director Nick Chester is expecting the team to move forwards courtesy of 'big upgrades' to the E22 at next weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.
Lotus made progress at the Chinese Grand Prix, with Romain Grosjean securing their first Q3 appearance of the season before running in the top 10 until a gearbox problem caused his retirement.
"We made some good steps on engine mapping," Chester said of Lotus's progress. "The car was a lot more drivable due to a much better torque delivery, which helped the drivers make a big step. Our race performance also improved, moving us ahead of Toro Rosso and McLaren in Shanghai. We have made steady progress in terms of closing the gap to all of the leading teams since Australia."
Chester reckons Lotus can make steps in Spain, specifically in aiding the E22 becoming more predictable for Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado.
"We've got further improvements on engine mapping, which should give us another step forward," said Chester. "We've got a new cooling and bodywork package coming – quite a big upgrade – plus some updates to the rear wing and various other bodywork parts.
"We also received more horsepower from Renault in China and I hope we'll get a further step-up in Barcelona, which will make a massive difference. There are a lot of aero improvements we want to bring to make the car more predictable for the drivers. We also want to do more work on tire temperatures.
"The latest generation of tires are quite hard in compound and it can be difficult to keep them in the optimum operating window. On the other hand braking is definitely better now. We've made some good improvements in terms of how the drivers can control the brakes and manage the power unit during braking."