Lotus team principal Eric Boullier is confident that the team can still secure second place in the constructors’ championship following a good run of form that has seen the British team cut the gap to Ferrari and Mercedes.
Four podiums between drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean in the past three races has left the team just twenty-three points behind Mercedes and a further ten adrift from Ferrari, and with 172 points still to play for, Boullier is confident of catching both teams.
“If we continue as we have done for the last few races, then mathematically second in the standings becomes a very attainable target,” Boullier explained. “Of course, we all know that anything can happen in this sport, but second place would be an amazing result so we’ll push as hard as we can and you never know what might happen.”
Lotus have claimed just one victory so far this season at the opening round in Australia, but Romain Grosjean came close in Japan to securing his maiden win, only for Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber to pass him late on.
“There’s one fundamental problem with trying to win at the moment, and that’s the pace of the Red Bulls,” Boullier said. “We’ll keep pushing and if we can beat them again this year it would be a tremendous performance.”
The team is currently in the process of finding a replacement for Raikkonen as the Finn prepares to return to Ferrari in 2014. The man he is replacing, Felipe Massa, is thought to be vying for the seat at Lotus, but he faces competition from Sauber starlet Nico Hulkenberg.
Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.
Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.
“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”
Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”