Kimi Raikkonen thinks his Lotus team is on the verge of solving the power-steering problems that have affected him over the early part of the campaign.
The Finn and his engineers have worked hard since preseason testing to try and deliver steering updates that will help give the former World Champion the feel from his car that he is after. But although the matter is not completely solved yet, Raikkonen thinks it will not be long before it is – which gives him reason to feel confident about the potential of the team over the remainder of the season.
"The E20 certainly feels good," explained Raikkonen. "We're working to get the steering exactly right for me – and we're almost there.
"The speed in the car is good – and this applies to qualifying and race pace. It's been two frustrating races in terms of where we started. We shouldn't have started so far back in Australia, and the penalty for changing the gearbox before the Malaysian Grand Prix cost us finishing positions too, but that's motor racing."
Lotus technical director James Allison thinks that when the team solves the steering problem, it will lead to a direct improvement in lap time for Raikkonen.
"Our latest setup now gives Kimi sufficient assistance in the high-speed, high-load corners, but we still have yet to give him a power steering unit which offers the finesse he wants," he said. "We're making progress in this area, but the way Kimi drives the car is to find the limit on the front axle and then adjust the car very delicately around that limit; he can only do that if the steering is giving him exquisite feedback.
"We are working hard to provide him with perfect equipment so that he can deliver those last few tenths in qualifying."