• Australian Grand Prix

A podium is 'certainly possible' - Lotus

ESPN Staff
March 11, 2013 « No reliability concerns for Raikkonen | McLaren sticking with Mercedes in 2014 »
James Allison: "We're entering an exceedingly close season from the evidence we've seen so far" © Sutton Images
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Lotus is targeting a podium at the first race of the season in Australia this weekend.

The team made a step forward last year, winning a race and finishing fourth in the constructors' championship, and showed strong pace in pre-season testing. A podium would require being very close or ahead of Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes, but technical director James Allison is confident.

"A good Albert Park would be a first row grid place from qualifying and a podium in the race," he said. "It's certainly possible."

Asked if a championship challenge this year is possible, Allison added: "It's not beyond the realms of possibility. It looks like we're entering an exceedingly close season from the evidence we've seen so far. Our car doesn't look bad against the opposition from what we can deduce, and we have a good team and good drivers behind it. It's certainly closer than last year, but we expected this going into a second season of relatively stable regulations."

Last year Lotus appeared to lose its way a bit as it put resources behind developing a Passive Drag Reduction Device. In the end it did not race on the car, but Allison said the team had made another step forward with the technology over the winter.

"We're a step closer to making it happen, but it's something which is still in protracted birth pangs. It's a very difficult concept to get right. It's a passive device so the strength on the fluid switch isn't very large. The difficulty is making the switch clean, repeatable, strong enough to trip the wing, but for the wing to be sufficiently robust. It's a very delicate see-saw to ride. Hopefully, everyone will be well aware when it's on the car and working at full strength."