Kimi Raikkonen admits keeping up with the development rate of its rivals is the biggest challenge his Lotus team faces following its victory in the Australian Grand Prix.
The Finn took a commanding win in Melbourne after playing his two-stop strategy to perfection, taking the checkered flag over 12 seconds ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso. The win was Raikkonen's second since returning to Formula 1 last year, when the former World Champion finished in third place in the championship.
In 2012, Raikkonen stayed in contention for the title despite Lotus not having the quickest car, and he admits that keep up with the development race will be key again this season.
"There was a big question mark last year over whether our team could keep up with the development of the bigger teams and I don't think we did a bad job," said Raikkonen. "Of course, it's not going to be easy for us.
"I'm sure we have the people and all the tools to make it happen. Budget is always a factor and it's no secret that we don't have the same money as Ferrari, Red Bull or Mercedes. If we did have more sponsors I'm sure we'd have a better chance in the battle against those teams.
"If you do things right it will go nicely, but one thing can change the whole year. You do a few things a little bit wrong it can turn around and go downhill after that. So we just have to do our normal things, like we did last year and put the good effort into new parts and if we're happy we keep them and if not we have to look more closely.
"Like I said so far it has been good, so there is no reason why we can't keep it up."
Raikkonen insisted his early victory will not change his approach to the championship, and said there is no reason to get carried away.
"A win's a win – it doesn't really matter when in the season you get it," he said. "Of course, I'm happy that we didn't really have to go full speed all the time, so it's kind of a good sign, a good race for us; but as I said, it might be a completely different story in Malaysia, so there's nothing to jump up and be so extra happy about.
"It's a long season and in the end we want to be on the top for all the races and it's going to be a hard season for that.
"Everything worked well in Australia, we had no issues with the car all weekend, the car's been good and the team has been working well. It's good to come back from winter testing where I probably did the least laps of everybody; in that respect we didn't have a very special winter."