Alex Tagliani believes his Bryan Herta Autosport team was "cheated" by having to start the 2012 IndyCar season with Lotus engines.
Lotus joined Honda and Chevrolet as the series' engine supply was opened up this year to encourage manufacturer competition again. But its engines were behind on development, meaning that the teams using its powerplants were off the pace. The majority of Lotus-powered teams split with the marque early in the campaign leaving Simona de Silvestro's HVM entry as the only full-time Lotus runner.
Tagliani recovered from 28th to 17th in the standings following his team's switch to Honda engines, and the Canadian believes that Herta's squad can make the most of having a busy pre-season ahead of 2013.
"It's nice to know that we'll be starting the upcoming season on the same level as our opponents because the team felt kind of cheated at the conclusion of the year," said Tagliani at Sebring, where his team is taking part in the final test of the year. "Last season, teams powered by Honda and Chevrolet engines were so much further ahead of us when we showed up for the opening round at St Petersburg that it made no sense whatsoever.
"It was a painful start to the season, but by the end of the year we were up to the level of the other teams. Looking forward to 2013, the team is very confident that we can challenge for the championship in the overall standings, or in one of the oval track or road course championships."
IndyCar confirmed last week that Lotus will not return to the series in 2013.