Forget about beating Red Bull next year, Lotus tell Ferrari

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Lotus trackside operations director Alan Permane has told Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso to “forget” about beating Red Bull to the world championship next year.

Permane described Red Bull’s performance advantage in Singapore as “soul destroying” after Sebastian Vettel won by 32 seconds despite having his early lead wiped out by the Safety Car.

“If I was Fernando, talking about winning the championship? Forget it, they are not even close,” Permane told Autosport. “And they won’t even be close next year, if [Red Bull] have got that sort of advantage now.”

Lotus’s lead driver Kimi Raikkonen is leaving the team to join Ferrari at the end of the season.

Alonso said after the race he was optimistic of making progress next year when new engine regulations come into force. “Really we will put all our effort and hopes into 2014, because starting from zero is our best opportunity to close the gap with all the top teams,” he said.

But Permane doubts that will prove to be the case. “Red Bull are better at building a quicker car now, so why are they not going to be better at building it next year?”

Lotus will continue to use the same Renault engines as Red Bull next year. Permane added: “I guess there is the impact of the engine, but there is no reason to believe that Renault will not do a competent job with that.”