The 2011 season is not panning out as hoped for Heikki Kovalainen...

Heikki Kovalainen has conceded that Team Lotus was “too optimistic” in targeting regular points’ finishes in just their second full season in Formula 1.

After the Tony Fernandes-run outfit achieved acclaim for competing as the best of the three rookie outfits in their debut season last year, the team had hoped that a switch to Renault power and a more aggressive chassis design would see it battling with the midfield runners in their sophomore year.

But the results haven’t panned out like that, with the team yet to claim a points’ finish. This season, the team’s best finish has been a 13th place, while Kovalainen and team-mate Jarno Trulli have only managed to escape being knocked out in the first phase of qualifying on three occasions between them.

Despite the technical tie-in with Red Bull Racing – the T128 derives its gearbox and hydraulics units from the championship-winning squad – its the absence of KERS that could be one of the contributing factors to its lack of competitiveness this year.

“I think they were too optimistic,” Kovalainen told Manipe F1, when asked about his appraisal of the season to-date.

“With the tools we have at the moment, we can’t expect to be fighting with the middle of the pack or with teams like Renault or Mercedes.

“We’re not there this year, we clearly don’t have the structure in place yet to be able to do that. I think the targets were too optimistic but I haven’t worried about that too much.”

The Finn cited the relative lack of resources at the team’s Hingham base, which is undergoing an expansion to cater for a scaled wind tunnel, among other facilities.

“I think it’s not good enough yet, it’s one area that we need to improve for the future,” he added. “We know that because the main reason is that the facility that we have is not good enough yet, it’s not big enough.”

[Image via The Cahier Archive]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.