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F1 NEWS 

Lotus delighted after early fire-up

Lotus wind-tunnel modelLotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne says his team is on course to prove its credentials as a serious Formula 1 outfit this year, ahead of a return to the track for the famous marque on Tuesday.

With Lotus scheduled to shakedown its 2010 car tomorrow, ahead of its official launch on Friday, the team fired up the Cosworth engine on its new chassis at its Hingham base on Saturday - six days ahead of when originally planned.

And with Gascoyne delighted at the progress made in the short time since Lotus was granted a 2010 entry, he is happy with the shape the team is in right now.

"It was obviously a big step forward to get the car fired up," Gascoyne told AUTOSPORT.

"The most pleasing aspect of the engine fire-up was that when we got the entry, in our production schedule we had it pencilled in as February 12. So to do it on the 6th - six days ahead of schedule, was a great effort by everyone.

"What makes this so satisfying is that this is a project where everything has been built up from new. Everyone has contributed to the effort."

Gascoyne has openly set ambitions of Lotus ending the season as not only the best of the new teams, but as a serious threat against some of the current outfits.

And although he admits there is still plenty of work to do before the team can achieve that, he is bullish about the performance potential.

"We are looking in really good shape," he said. "We have to improve the pace of our car and the results from wind tunnel, but that will come with time.

"Our first aim was to be on the grid - to be a professional team where everything is to be F1 standard. We definitely will do that. The team will look good and step one has been achieved."

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