Grosjean hopes updates help Lotus close the gap on McLaren
|By Jonathan Noble and Edd Straw||Thursday, April 12th 2012, 07:59 GMT|
Romain Grosjean is hopeful that the upgrade package his Lotus team has taken to the Chinese Grand Prix will allow the team to close the gap to McLaren.
Lotus proved competitive in the opening two races of the season, with Grosjean qualifying just 0.380s off pole in Australia and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen within a quarter-of-a-second of top spot in Malaysia.
But Grosjean is looking forward to the gap closing thanks to car improvements that will be tried for the first time during Friday practice.
"We have been working very hard to bring some updates here and I'm proud of the job that the team has done," said Grosjean. "Hopefully it can bring us closer to the top.
"We saw that McLaren was very strong at the start of the year. Maybe we are now even closer? We have a car that is able to achieve some good results - podiums and maybe more if everything goes perfectly."
Grosjean expects upgrade package will improve the cars performance by tenths of a second. It will feature some obvious aerodynamic changes.
"Hopefully more than a few hundredths," he said when asked what the upgrade might be worth. "It's quite big. Visually you can see differences on the car.
"The rear endplates are a bit different and the front wing. And there are smaller differences that you cannot see so well."
"If our [performance] numbers arrive [on track], it will be nice to have and we should definitely feel it in the car. Hopefully we will have good testing on Friday."
Grosjean is hopeful that the Lotus E20 should be well-suited to the characteristics of the Shanghai circuit.
He is determined to avoid a repeat of his early retirements in the first two races and capitalise on the pace of the car to claim his first points in F1.
"Hopefully pretty good," he said when asked how the car will suit the circuit. "It's quite a fast track but with slow corners as well.
"We saw that the car worked well in Sepang and Melbourne and with the engineers we are trying to get even more out of it because there are some areas where we can improve.
"I have to learn from the mistakes that I've made in the first events and not make them again. I'm sure we will have a good performance."