While thrilled at the improvement Team Lotus is showing after three rounds of the 2011 Formula 1 season, the team’s technical boss Mike Gascoyne has described it as “unfortunate” that the team’s nearest rival is the struggling Williams outfit.
The multiple championship-winning team is enduring its worst start to a championship season since 1979, and its driver Pastor Maldonado finished behind Team Lotus’ Heikki Kovalainen on the road at last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.
While not the team’s best finish to-date, Gascoyne was pleased with the improvement the team has shown in its second year, but equally saddened at Williams was now on the team’s radar, having clearly broken away from the back of the grid.
When asked by the BBC as to which outfit Lotus was targeting on its climb up into the midfield, Gascoyne said: “Unfortunately, it’s probably Williams.
“I say unfortunately because Williams is a great team and a great name, and they are the one we are trying to pick off first when you’d like to see them nearer the front.
“Maybe I’m a bit of an old git and there’s a bit of nostalgia, but you want to see them at the front as they are one of the great teams. However, we’re Team Lotus now and if we’re racing Williams then that’s good for us.”
Gascoyne also confirmed he was targeting further performance gains for the T128 challenger at the Spanish Grand Prix, when a series of new upgrades would be introduced onto the car.
“We’re looking at some big updates for Barcelona and have made big progress in the wind tunnel recently,” he confirmed.
“We’re clearly struggling for one-lap pace when we have cool days and low track temperatures. But we’ve always said from winter testing that our race pace is really good and we’re very confident in it. It’s just trying to understand these tyres because people clearly can get better one-lap pace.
“In the race we were racing Maldonado, and we felt we had him from the first few laps, yet we qualified two seconds behind him. So these tyres are really difficult to get on top [of].”
[Image via LAT]