Lotus chasing return to podium places at 2013 Singapore GP after low-downforce struggles
Boullier and Permane expect team to rediscover pre-Spa form
By James Galloway. Last Updated: September 16, 2013 12:00pm
Lotus: Looking to hit back on the floodlit streets of Singapore
Lotus are optimistic that Formula 1's return to higher-downforce circuits, starting in Singapore this weekend, will allow them to return to podium-finishing contention.
The Enstone team's hopes of heading into the final seven flyaway rounds with Kimi Raikkonen still in realistic contention for the Drivers' Championship were all-but extinguished at Spa and Monza after the Finn failed to score points in either race, with the team themselves only registering eight points in total.
But while the results from the last two rounds ultimately proved disappointing, and the team have since had to deal with the blow that Raikkonen is leaving for Ferrari at season's end, Team Principal Eric Boullier believes Lotus could take some encouragement from the E21's strong race pace at Monza and there is plenty of reason to believe their season is far from finished yet.
"If you want to be competitive in both Championships, you need to be able to fight at the front every weekend; on Saturday as well as on Sunday," the Frenchman said.
"The positive from Monza is that we showed fantastic race pace and both drivers drove exceptionally well. The negative was that we couldn't qualify where we needed to be.
"The results at the end of the last two races weren't a just reward for the team's efforts, but there are plenty of positives to take from Monza; most notably the superb race pace from Kimi as he fought his way back through the field. We head to the final flyaway races with plenty of fight left in us."
And asked if a first podium since the summer break was achievable at Marina Bay, Boullier replied: "There's no reason to think that a podium will be out of reach. We've been quite competitive on twisty circuits this year and Singapore shares a lot of Monaco's characteristics.
"Romain loves that type of circuit, while Kimi has always been quick in Singapore. It will be an interesting weekend."
While there are few similarities in track layout to Monza and the twisty streets of Singapore, Lotus's Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane says that some of the upgrades they brought to the last two races have a carry-over benefit.
"We return to a high downforce configuration, with some of the front wing developments brought to the car for the recent low downforce races being carried over," he explained.
"Aside from that it's business as usual with a package which we know works well from our performances in Germany and Hungary.
"We didn't have the greatest of weekends in Spa or Monza, so we're looking forward to a return to the higher downforce tracks that arise in the next few races where the aim is to get back on the podium."