Lotus team principal Eric Boullier believes that the priority for his outfit is to get back into a "positive spiral" through its on-track performance in 2012.
Last year, the Enstone outfit started strongly with third places in Australia and Malaysia but faded in the second half of the year and finished only four points clear of sixth-placed Force India in the Constructors' Championship.
While Boullier shares the target set out by team owner Genii Capital's Gerard Lopez of finishing fourth in the standings, he feels that it is most important to regain the momentum that it lost last year.
"The real objective this year is to have a positive upward spiral and to make sure that the team is getting better and improves throughout the year building up the ambition we have to be a top team," said Boullier.
"This means that we want to get back to where we were at the beginning of 2011, getting better and better every year and establishing it as one of the top teams in the short term.
"I don't want to put a figure on our ambition because it's difficult to say which position [we want to finish] but we would like to improve and do better. That means being better than the top five."
Boullier has backed the staff of his Enstone team to deliver on that ambition and allow Lotus to score consistently again after managing only seven points in the final nine races of last year.
He has no doubt that Lotus is on the cusp of a good season that can deliver on his expectations.
"It's going to go well," he said. "If you look at the car, you will see that the finish is very nice. It's clearly two steps better.
Technical director James Allison has no doubts that the team has the potential to make the step up to fourth in the Constructors' Championship, adding that the priority is to create a platform to emerge as a title-winning force in the coming years.
"Coming fourth will be a good solid step forward for the team, and a good platform for us to go on over the next two or three years after that to start to have a proper tilt of the title," he told AUTOSPORT.
"It is a tremendously hard step, and coming fourth for the team at this stage in its life would be a very, very good achievement and everybody would be delighted with it."