Eric Boullier says E20 can bring Red Bull and McLaren into Lotus's sights

Lotus team boss Eric Boullier says his squad is now confident it can close in on pacesetters Red Bull and McLaren during the 2012 season after its impressive performances in testing

Eric Boullier says E20 can bring Red Bull and McLaren into Lotus's sights

After a tough 2011 - its last year under the Renault banner - the renamed Enstone squad has appeared to make a massive step forward in winter testing, setting the pace on three out of four days at Catalunya last week with Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.

Although Red Bull and McLaren remain favourites heading for Melbourne, when asked if he felt those teams were out of reach, Boullier told AUTOSPORT: "If I think this I should give up now.

"What is very encouraging is that even if we believe strongly that they are ahead of us, then the gap last year to this year has been reduced so it shows we can catch up. We obviously need to push more on this but we can close the gap, and it is up to us to do better this year and do even better for next year."

Boullier said that even allowing for the fact that testing times are notoriously deceptive, there was enough evidence that the Lotus E20 was a good car - despite a chassis problem meaning it missed the middle week of running.

"First of all this is testing, so even if everybody is watching the lap times of everybody, we have a long range of processes to go through and to test first of all reliability and temperature range, and different logging," said Boullier. "So it is only testing - qualifying will be in Melbourne and not before.

"The good thing is that the car was good from day one out of the box. The car itself has been very well designed and it is clearly a step up over the past years. That has allowed us to put a lot of miles behind us at Jerez, and then we had a little bit of a setback [at the second test], missing the four days, and [the final test] I think was not bad.

"We had to make some compromises on the testing because we were missing four days, so we had to combine eight days with four days, but all in all it was not bad."

Boullier added that Raikkonen and Grosjean were already feeling at one with the E20.

"Clearly the basis is very good," said the team boss. "The car is not easy, but the drivers like it - it makes them comfortable and confident in the car.

"The car is reacting well, matching the simulation figure. So far it is a good basis to start with."

shares
comments
Vettel says it is natural he should be considered favourite for 2012

Previous article

Vettel says it is natural he should be considered favourite for 2012

Next article

Karthikeyan: HRT's F112 a definite step up from team's 2011 challenger

Karthikeyan: HRT's F112 a definite step up from team's 2011 challenger
Load comments
How F1's biggest crisis helped trigger its exciting 2021 season Plus

How F1's biggest crisis helped trigger its exciting 2021 season

Formula 1's return to Austria this weekend comes under exceedingly different circumstances to its last Spielberg visit, when F1 took its first tentative steps out of the global COVID shutdown. But the tightrope F1 walked in 2020 has ultimately led to the most exciting season of the hybrid era

Can Red Bull really win anywhere now it’s toppled a Mercedes F1 stronghold? Plus

Can Red Bull really win anywhere now it’s toppled a Mercedes F1 stronghold?

OPINION: Red Bull team boss Christian Horner reckoned Max Verstappen winning the French Grand Prix – an event where Mercedes had previously been dominant – would signal “we can beat them anywhere”. Here’s how that claim stacks up looking at the rest of the 2021 season

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2021
The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1 Plus

The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1

OPINION: The French Grand Prix offered a surprisingly interesting spectacle, despite the headache-inducing nature of the circuit. But IndyCar's Road America race offered far more in terms of action - and the increased jeopardy at the Elkhart Lake venue might be something Paul Ricard needs in future...

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2021
French Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

French Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The French GP was a weekend decided by tiny margins both at the front of the field, as Red Bull inflicted a comeback defeat on Mercedes, and in the battle for the minor points places. That's reflected in our driver ratings, where several drivers came close to a maximum score

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes Plus

How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes

The French GP has been a stronghold for Mercedes since Paul Ricard's return to the calendar in 2018. But that all changed on Sunday, as a clever two-stop strategy guided Red Bull's Max Verstappen to make a race-winning pass on the penultimate lap - for once leaving Mercedes to experience the pain of late defeat it has so often inflicted on Red Bull

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push Plus

The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push

The age of the high-profile title sponsor is over, says JONATHAN NOBLE, but Formula 1’s commitment to technological innovation is attracting high-tech partners

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2021
How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era Plus

How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era

The 1956 Italian Grand Prix was over for Juan Manuel Fangio, along with his hopes of winning the world championship – until his Ferrari team-mate (and title rival) voluntarily surrendered his own car so Fangio could continue. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls Peter Collins, a remarkable sportsman

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2021
The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France Plus

The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021