Gascoyne: Lotus upgrade should put midfielders on guard 18 May 2011
Lotus may still be waiting to score their first points, but their ever-improving performances are causing no end of angst amongst the midfield. And to make matters worse for the likes of Toro Rosso, Force India, Sauber and Williams, the Norfolk-based team are expecting to unveil a significant upgrade at this weekends Spanish race.
Comprising a new diffuser and a complete rebuild of the T128s rear end, chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne is hopeful the upgrade will substantially boost the team's pace and dramatically improve their chances of finally catching - and maybe even overhauling - the established midfield.
We think our update is going to allow us to take a clear step into the midfield, so that we are qualifying with them and out-racing them more and more, Gascoyne explained in an interview with the teams official online magazine. The update is all built around the rear end. Its a Red Bull-style diffuser package.
Its been a hot topic at the start of the year, so its pretty natural that it was going to be an area we looked at. Weve seen from the development that it is a very big step - far bigger than you would normally expect to be making, which is why everyone else has done it. It means we can catch up with those in front. Were expecting it to be about a second, up to a second.
Given that Lotus driver Heikki Kovalainen was within a second of Williams' Rubens Barrichello during qualifying at the recent Turkish round, the upgrade could see Lotus make a substantial step forward. Gascoyne, however, is wary of assuming they will be able to use the upgrade to full effect immediately.
It might take us a couple of races to fully exploit it, as I think it is going to depend on the blown floor and engine strategies, and some people have more experience than us with that, he explained. But we expect our update to be significant. I think well see a big step and I think there is more to come over the coming races.
The teams competitors will be able to catch their first sight of the new upgrade as Lotus take to the track at Barcelonas Circuit de Catalunya for the opening practice session on Friday morning.
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