Alan Permane thinks the new tyres suit Lotus and feels they will be competitive at Spa
Trackside Operations Director adds team will bring number of updates
By William Esler. Last Updated: 20/08/13 4:40pm
Lotus Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane thinks the new Pirelli tyres suit the E21 and feels the team are now on a par with Red Bull.
The Enstone-based squad were known to be one of teams opposed to changing the rubber earlier in the season as they appeared to be gentler on their tyres - being able to two-stop in Australia allowed Kimi Raikkonen to take victory over his three-stopping rivals in the season-opening grand prix.
A more durable tyre was introduced at the last race in Hungary, but Lotus remained competitive with Romain Grosjean qualifying third and Raikkonen finishing on the podium.
"From Budapest we've learned that the 'new' tyres seem to suit our car relatively well," Permane said.
"We can only assess their effect on performance relative to the competition around us, and I'd say we've not done too badly on that front. Mercedes for example seem to be very well suited to them, but Ferrari perhaps not so much.
"Although we were slightly quicker than them in both Germany and Hungary, ourselves and Red Bull look very evenly matched. I wouldn't say they've changed our position too much."
Track temperature, though, will be very different in Belgium this weekend, but Permane is hopeful team will be able to get on top of that challenge.
"We have been putting in a lot of time and effort to get the harder tyres working better in lower temperatures, and I'm fairly confident we'll head into this race remaining equally competitive," he added.
Team Principal Eric Boullier has set the team a target of second in the Constructors' Championship this season and Permane is hopeful a number of updates being brought to the Ardennes Forest will see Lotus remain competitive.
"The advantage we have with Spa being so close geographically is that we can be working on the cars back at Enstone right up until the Tuesday night before the race, and still have sufficient time to get them to the circuit ready for work on Thursday morning," he said.
"We've got several updates coming up - both mechanical and aerodynamic - so we're confident of making another step forward."
One update the team could run is their passive-DRS which the team refer to as 'the device.' Lotus have experimented with the system for the past 12 months and it has made fleeting appearances this season.
The layout of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit - fast first and third sectors which require low-downforce, coupled a technical middle sector which needs a higher wing angle - means getting 'the device' to work could be very beneficial for the team.
"We haven't made a final decision yet as to whether it will be deployed, but we've been conducting a lot of simulation work with the concept to help clarify that decision and there's a good chance we'll see it make an appearance," Permane confirmed.