Lotus team principal Eric Boullier believes five teams will be in contention for victory when the F1 season begins this weekend.
“I think it’s going to be as competitive as ever,” said Boullier ahead of this week’s Australian Grand Prix.
“You can see at least five teams having the potential to win races and it’s getting very tight.”
“It’s going to be interesting to see how the teams can perform on a single lap, but also how they can perform during long stints and on track. More so than last year, it will be important to fight from the front with a good qualifying position and the race pace of our drivers will be important.”
Boullier added the team has improved on one of its major weaknesses from last year without compromising a key strength of their 2012 car:
“I believe we have kept the main strength of the car from last year, which was very conservative on tire wear and degradation, and we’ve proved our capability to deliver one lap pace which is important for qualifying.”
Lotus moved up to fourth place in the constructors’ championship last year and is targeting third this year. Boullier believes that goal is achievable:
“There is a long term plan and a clear road map to the front of the grid,” he said.
“Last year we showed some peaks of good performance and were nearly always at or near the front. I feel that this year we will be even more so and the key element will be to maintain that performance and pace to fight for regular points and podiums.”