'Lotus is aiming for third spot'
Lotus team principal Eric Boullier is convinced the Formula One world title will one day return to Enstone, but he is cautious to suggest it will be this season.
In the team’s former guise as Renault, they and Fernando Alonso won back-to-back constructors’ and drivers’ championships in 2005 and 2006. Dark days followed, especially with regard to the ‘crashgate’ scandal at the 2008 Singapore GP which ultimately resulted in them deciding to pull out of F1 as a constructor.
Even in rebranding as Lotus there were many complicated hurdles to overcome, but over the past 15 months a transition has taken place, and now the team is again a force to be reckoned with.
Signing Kimi Raikkonen from last year, after the Finn had spent two years trying his hand at rallying, was a masterstroke. After giving the new Lotus its first win in Abu Dhabi, the 33-year-old pulled off a stunning triumph on Sunday in Australia to begin this season in style.
The suggestion is Lotus are in the reckoning for both titles, however Boullier sounded cautious. “We’re just one race in,” said Boullier. “We clearly stated we wanted to be one of the top teams this year, and starting the season like this means we should be able to fight to reach our target, which is finishing third in the constructors’ (championship).
“If we can be in the position where we can compete for wins, then that is where we wanted to be. From what we’ve achieved in the first race we can build on that nice momentum to one day become world champions again.” As for Raikkonen, Boullier said: “Kimi is Kimi, he just builds himself up.”