Lotus targeting F1 rival Williams in 2015 thanks to Mercedes move

The Lotus Formula 1 team is targeting fighting with Williams when it makes its own switch from Renault to Mercedes engines next season

Lotus targeting F1 rival Williams in 2015 thanks to Mercedes move

The Enstone-based F1 team confirmed during the Russian Grand Prix that it would end a long association with Renault to join Williams in using Mercedes power in 2015.

Switching from Renault to Mercedes has helped Williams climb from ninth in the 2013 constructors' championship to beating Ferrari to third this year.

Lotus technical director Nick Chester believes the move can transform his team's fortunes in a similar way.

Lotus finished fourth in the 2013 title race, but scored just 10 points and finished no higher than eighth in 2014.

"I think we can make a massive step," Chester told AUTOSPORT.

"We know how much the engine's worth, we know what our aerodynamic problems are; couple fixing the aero problems with what the engine's worth and we can make a big step up.

"Williams have done a great job; if they have good development over the winter it will be hard to catch them, but we'll be trying to get on the back of Williams if we can."

MERCEDES OFFERS EXTRA BENEFITS

Chester says the Mercedes engine will "open up a number of possibilities" to improve on this year's E22 design, which generally qualified towards the back end of Q2, beyond the simple benefits of extra power and smoother delivery.

"The packaging is very different, and that has some advantages in how we lay out cooling systems in the back of the car," Chester explained to AUTOSPORT.

"The way the Mercedes engine is laid out is quite nice in a few ways for how we do the back end of the car.

"Our whole cooling system layout will be different, so it opens up quite a few possibilities for us."

The team has lost several key personnel and rank and file staff over the past 18 months, but Chester remains confident Lotus still has the necessary technical talent to recover from a difficult 2014 campaign.

"We have got a lot of good people at Enstone," he added.

"We lost a few at the end of 2013, but it's still got a lot of strong people who know how to make good cars.

"I think we can bounce back a long way next year."

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