27 August 2010
Formula One newcomers Lotus are now fully focused on next season and taking on the sport's established teams, technical head Mike Gascoyne said on Friday.
The Malaysian-owned team are currently best of the three all-new outfits on the starting grid but are still some distance away from the other nine and a long way from scoring their first points.
Friday at the Belgian Grand Prix marked another milestone for the revived marque, returning after the demise of the original Lotus team in 1994.
"Today was the day a year ago that we actually first walked around our factory and there were three of us," recalled Gascoyne.
"Now there are 220 of us. We hope that we can do a better job for next year, so that is clearly where our focus is."
Lotus, run by AirAsia aviation entrepreneur Tony Fernandes, designed their first car in a hurry but Gascoyne said the 2011 one should be a far more considered effort.
"While it is still important for us to try and maintain 10th place in the championship, I think the most important thing as one of the new teams is that we make that step and close the gap to the established teams and we are able to race them properly," he said.
"I think just being on the grid for us was a huge achievement but you are only a new team once and we are not a new team next year. We are a Formula One team and we have to make sure that we are performing as one so we very much switched our focus on to next year's car."
Lotus's best result in 12 races so far has been 13th for Finland's Heikki Kovalainen in Australia in March.
The old Lotus team founded by the late Colin Chapman won seven constructors' titles between 1963 and 1978 as well as six drivers' crowns.
"Gearbox and hydraulics have been a particularly weak area," said Gascoyne of this season's performance.
"We haven't had the resources to put all the fixes in place and I think we have been let down by some suppliers who have not done as good a job as they should have done. But you cannot make excuses. You have got to put things right," he added.
"I think we are now very much on top of it."