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Lotus no longer a second class team - Boullier
Team principal Eric Boullier says Lotus should no longer be seen as second class team and is confident it has the resources to fight with McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari.
Lotus had a mixed opening weekend to the championship, with Romain Grosjean qualifying third on the grid but retiring on the second lap of the race after a collision with Pastor Maldonado. Kimi Raikkonen qualified 18th after a mistake in Q1, but finished the race seventh with a strong drive through the field.
"We knew our car was quite quick, but as for the others we had absolutely no clue," Boullier said. "Saturday was a relief: you don't reach the second row of the grid by chance."
He admitted Lotus does not have the budget of the bigger teams, but does not see that as a barrier stopping his team fighting for wins.
"Our philosophy is that money does not buy wins and championships," Boullier added. "For us, Formula One is all about being clever and cost efficient. The E20 is the first Enstone car designed with our 60% scale wind tunnel and upgraded CFD facility. In a few weeks, our brand new simulator will be operational.
"People in Enstone have the right tools to push forward and we're investing where we have to. That said, people should not think of us as a second class team. With Lotus, Total, Rexona, Clear and Microsoft Dynamics on board, we're clearly among the most attractive outfits around."
But Boullier said the team's owners, Genii Capital, is willing to pump money into the team in order to keep up with the pace of the top teams.
"Development means resource and investment. With Genii Capital behind us, we know that we'll benefit from a strong a reliable asset. They will do whatever it takes to help us design and produce the parts we need to be more competitive. Genii did not get involved in Formula One to finish second."
Looking ahead to the Malaysian Grand Prix, Boullier is expecting another strong performance from the new E20.
"It will be a totally different track from Albert Park of course. This said, we think that the E20 should be competitive there. One of its bigger assets is very low tyre degradation. Considering the very hot conditions in Malaysia, this can only be a help. We think we can be competitive there."