Team Lotus can set it sights on delivering its first points finishes from the Spanish Grand Prix onward, thanks to the major update of its car planned for that event, reckons technical chief Mike Gascoyne.
The team is on course to deliver a major overhaul of its car for Barcelona, which will include the team's version of the exhaust-blown diffuser that a number of other teams have already introduced this year. Hopes for a big step forward in pace are such that Gascoyne is optimistic it can lift his squad from the back end of the midfield right into the chase for a top-10 finish.
"I think if we look at scoring points, we have to look at Barcelona onward," he said. "The updates to the car are going to be very significant."
Speaking in detail about the upgrade plans for the car – which will also include tweaks to overcome the power steering issues the team has suffered from – Gascoyne said: "Our major update is coming along for Barcelona, which will be a major update for the diffuser and the rear end of car. It will bring quite a lot of performance to the car, and we've got some other smaller updates for Barcelona [too]. And then smaller updates for Turkey as well."
Gascoyne has said he is satisfied with the performance of the team in the first three races of the year, and he thinks the difficulties it has faced getting its tires into the right operating window in cooler conditions should not be a problem for too much longer.
"It's good to be back after the first three flyaway races," he said. "It is always quite an intense time getting everything freighted out to those flyaway races, and it is difficult to get many updates onto the car.
"In general, we are reasonably pleased. We had four out of six finishes and showed good pace in the races – China especially. We qualified very well in Malaysia, very close to the teams in front.
"The one negative is we have struggled a bit with qualifying and [single] lap pace, especially in cooler conditions and cooler track temperatures, but I think that is something we are getting on top of. Coming up for the next few races won't be a problem."
Team Lotus is expected to announce an association with British sports car maker Caterham on Wednesday, a move which will see an expansion of the F1 team's off-track activities.