Lotus drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli are looking for another step forward from their team at this weekend's European Grand Prix, where their cars will carry special logos to celebrate the marque's 500th Formula 1 event.
With Lotus founder Colin Chapman's son Clive and his family flying to Valencia to help mark the special occasion, the team is positive that it can deliver something on track to cheer about, too. Heikki Kovalainen said that, after the form showed by the team in recent weeks, there were high hopes that Lotus would soon become a big threat to the established teams.
"The last few races have been very positive for our team, we've been making progress every weekend and the plan is to carry on pushing," he said. "For Valencia, and for the rest of the season, we're not looking back at the other new teams – we lapped them in Canada so we're looking to keep taking the fight to the guys ahead, and I think we can do that. This is obviously an historic weekend for Lotus, and for Lotus Racing, and I think we're starting to do justice to what's gone before us. It's fantastic that we can celebrate such a great milestone in Valencia, and it'll be an honor to be part of that."
Mike Gascoyne, the team's technical chief, hoped that a number of updates planned for the T127 for this weekend's race will help lift its performance in Spain.
"I'm really looking forward to this weekend, and am excited about both celebrating the 500th race Lotus has competed in, and helping add another chapter to one of motorsport's greatest stories," he said. "We've already come a long way this season, and have much further to go until we can add more glory to the Lotus legend, but I and the whole team are very proud to be in a position to help the Lotus name reach this landmark moment, and it'll be great to celebrate that with Clive, Tony [Fernandes] and the whole team.
"For the race, we have a few more updates to the car to help us keep pushing forward, so we're not letting up on the challenge to take the race to the cars in front. I'm confident we'll put on a good performance in Valencia – we've got the right drivers to cope with the demands of the circuit itself, and the car keeps improving with every new step we take. So, I think this will be another chance to pressure the midfield, and make good on the promise we showed in Canada."
Trulli is hoping that a new chassis he has for this weekend's race will help him deliver on the back of some encouraging pace in recent events.
"I'm really looking forward to Valencia," he said. "It's a circuit I like, and I enjoy the race there – It's always warm, and it's a beautiful city. I'm in the new chassis (T127-04) from this race, and hopefully that will bring me some better luck over the race weekend – in Canada I was really flying until the retirement, so I hope I can carry that through to this weekend and see the checkered flag. That's obviously important, but this weekend is also all about the 500th race for Lotus. It'll be very special to help take that famous name to such a milestone, and I'm very honored to be part of it."
To help mark the occasion, a Lotus Type 12 will appear in the Valencia pit lane on Thursday evening alongside the current car.