Lotus hopes new floor boosts chance of retaining championship position
|By Jonathan Noble||Monday, September 19th 2011, 09:02 GMT|
Team Lotus will introduce a new floor at this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix as it bids to keep hold of its 10th position in the constructors' championship.
The Hingham-based outfit's three 13th-place finishes so far this year have put it ahead of HRT and Virgin Racing, and if it holds on to 10th spot until the end of the year it will net the team a big financial payout from commercial rights income.
Chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne has high hopes that the upgrades planned for this weekend will deliver a good step, and help it fight off the challenge of its nearest rivals.
"We approach Singapore in much the same way we do Monaco," he said in a team preview on Monday. "We will be running with a maximum downforce package with a new floor and diffuser and bigger front brake ducts to cope with the brake cooling demands.
"The numbers from the windtunnel look pretty promising for the update to the floor so we will see what we have found when we get out on track."
Team principal Tony Fernandes is still holding out hope that the outfit can net its maiden points finish at some point this year.
"We have shown throughout the year that our guys are ready to take on whatever lies ahead of them, deal with it and keep learning and progressing," he said.
"One of the most pleasing aspects for me over the last couple of races has been to see the improvements in the garage and on the pitwall that have seen us perform quicker pitstops, turn the cars around during and in-between sessions more quickly and efficiently, and make the right strategic calls at the right time."
He added: "While we are working very hard behind the scenes to put all the pieces in place for the next phase of our growth, the team is working equally hard under intense pressure at the races and back at the factory and it makes me very proud to see how far they have already come."