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Lotus expecting 'tight scrap' with Ferrari and Mercedes

ESPN Staff
September 29, 2013 « First Sauber appearance 'awesome' - Sirotkin | Marussia noting increased Russian interest »
Lotus is 68 points behind second-placed Ferrari in the constructors' championship © Associated Press

Lotus trackside operations director Alan Permane expects a "tight scrap with both Ferrari and Mercedes" during the remainder of this season.

The Singapore Grand Prix saw Sebastian Vettel take a dominant victory but Romain Grosjean looked on course for a second or third place finish before being forced to retire, with Kimi Raikkonen eventually completing the podium behind Fernando Alonso. Permane praised the performances of both drivers in the last race and says he expects Ferrari and Mercedes to remain close rivals for Lotus for the rest of the season.

"Both drivers did us proud in Singapore," Permane said. "Romain delivered fantastically well in both qualifying and the race despite his limited track time, whilst Kimi overcame his back pain to score an impressive podium finish.

"Like us, most teams will have now switched their development focus to 2014 so we wouldn't expect a dramatic change to the relative performance of each outfit between now and the end of the season. That leaves us in a tight scrap with both Ferrari and Mercedes, and with both our guys performing at this level - coupled with the potential from the car at the coming tracks - we should have a good end to the season in prospect."

Permane also feels the track characteristics in Korea will suit Lotus in next weekend's race.

"There's a nice long straight benefitting the DRS effect, meaning there's a good chance to see overtaking in the race. The layout has a mix of different sections but they flow together well. We see some decent straights in the first section followed by a few interesting corners - some high speed - in the second section, before moving into an almost street-circuit feel through the final part of the track with its stop-start nature and close proximity walls. Although there are good long straights, the number of high and medium speed corners mean you have to run with a reasonable level of downforce which should certainly be beneficial for us."