Team Lotus will take a competitive step forward in this weekend's British Grand Prix because of the ban on off-throttle blowing of the diffuser, according to Jarno Trulli.
The Italian is certain that the rule change will cost the teams ahead of Lotus some lap time. But as the Norfolk-based team has not been exploiting the design concept to the same extent, the change will not set it back.
"Taking the blown diffuser off can only improve our situation," said Trulli when asked by AUTOSPORT what he expects for this weekend. "We never had the resources and the experience that everyone in front of us had with it.
"We don't have an exact idea because it will be different from car to car. But we think that we can be closer to the level of the teams that we are targeting in front. "Maybe if we have enough, we will get through to Q2, but it is still a big challenge."
Trulli stopped short of promising that the shift in the competitive order would allow Lotus to fight for a place in Q2. The team targeted making Q2 regularly at the start of the season, but has only made the cut once, when Heikki Kovalainen made it through at the Spanish Grand Prix after both Nick Heidfeld and Rubens Barrichello hit trouble.
"It might be that we miss it by half a second, or maybe a tenth, or maybe we will have just enough to get through. If we have enough, maybe we will get through to Q2. But it's still a big challenge."
Trulli added that he expects to battle the same power steering problems that he has blamed for his struggles this season. The team will not introduce an upgraded system until the Hungarian Grand Prix at the start of August.
"I hope that I will get a step for Hungary," he said. "I hope that will be the turnaround for me, but for now I have to stick with what I have."