Lotus F1 Team technical director Nick Chester is confident that the team can compete with former world champions Red Bull at next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix thanks to a significant upgrade package for the E23 Hybrid car.
After enduring a miserable 2014 season, Lotus has bounced back at the start of 2015, scoring 12 points in the first four races and regularly running inside the top ten.
In contrast, Red Bull has struggled with its Renault power unit, recording a best finish of sixth place in the first four races of the year to mark its worst start to a season since 2008.
Looking ahead to next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, Chester spoke about the fine margins between the midfield runners in F1 at the moment, and expressed his confidence in Lotus’ ability to race with Red Bull.
“It’s pretty competitive in the midfield and fighting to be at the head of the chasing pack,” Chester said. “Mercedes are still the team to beat this season although Ferrari is giving them a chase at the moment.
“There is a fairly big gap to Willliams who are followed by Red Bull and us – there is a smaller gap there and we can race them.”
Deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi said earlier this week that Lotus would be bringing updates to Barcelona that would “open some eyes”, and Chester echoed these comments.
“It will be an interesting weekend as many teams will bring decent upgrades to the first European race of the season and we are working on bringing a reasonably significant package in terms of bodywork upgrades ourselves,” Chester said.
“There’s a certain amount of anticipation to see what everyone turns up with. In terms of our expectations, there’s nothing to say that we shouldn’t have another strong race in Barcelona, just as we did in China and Bahrain.”
The Spanish Grand Prix is live on NBCSN on May 10.