Permane: Kimi now happier with the car
Lotus can build upon its excellent recent form and become an even stronger outfit across the final nine grands prix of 2012.
That is the view of trackside operations director Alan Permane, who is optimistic the team’s ‘desperate’ desire to win can be achieved in the season run-in.
Lotus scored more points than any other constructor over the last five races before F1’s summer break, when it had a presence on every podium except Silverstone.
Permane is confident the team can exceed such standards in the second half of the year, particularly as it has now adapted to having two new drivers for the start of this year’s campaign.
“We will be much stronger in the second half. The car is great, we have started with that, and we have shown we can develop as well if not better than others,” Permane said.
“We have spent time getting to know our drivers, and Romain has [had some] crashes on the first lap. Without that things would be very different. There’s no reason why we can’t have a good second half.
“I think everywhere suits our car – we were super-quick at Silverstone and Hungary, and they are opposite ends of the scale. Nowhere scares us.”
Permane admitted Lotus was looking to add downforce to improve its qualifying fortunes, but said he expected the upcoming circuits to also play into the team’s favour as they aided overtaking and therefore reduced the emphasis on qualifying.
“I don’t think there is much in the set-up,” he said when asked about where Lotus could improve the car.
“[After final Hungarian practice] Kimi was ever so happy with his car. I said ‘what do you need?’, and he just said ‘more downforce’. The car is good, but to go faster it just needs more front and rear grip.
“The race pace of his car compared to ours, he had no right to be four tenths faster in qualifying – that’s where we need to be better, absolutely. If we had been in front of him we would have driven away and disappeared with both our cars.
“A track like Hungary, second [on the grid] isn’t good enough. Other circuits you can overtake – the next tracks are Spa and Monza, different stories.
“If we can finish second or third every race this year and win both championships I’ll be very happy, obviously, [but] we are desperate to win a race.”