Jarno Trulli: Team Lotus already focusing on 2012
Norfolk's Team Lotus are already prepared to draw a line under the 2011 campaign and switch their focus to next year's car, according to Jarno Trulli.
The Hingham constructor has ensured a healthy gap – reliability reliant – to their fellow 2010 new boys Virgin Racing and Hispania, but are still yet to make it as a competitive midfield runner despite high hopes during the winter.
Tenth place in the constructors' championship – from 12 teams involved this season – remains an essential target this season to ensure Team Lotus receive their share of Formula One revenue. The two teams below will miss out, as was the case for Virgin and Hispania in 2010.
Italian Formula One veteran Trulli accepts the team is already looking to 2012, when the likes of technical director Mark Smith and head of aerodynamics Marianne Hinson will really get their feet under the table having only joined during the development of this season's T128.
'I think Tony and everybody in the team has been doing an important job behind the scenes in order to give a bright future to this team, so the second part of this championship will be, for sure, interesting,' said Trulli.
'But it's all probably about building up to next year, so we are really starting to focus on next year's car, next year's programmes and logistics, and there is a lot of effort being put in this area as for the moment we seem by far the best of the new teams, so we don't actually need to develop the car.
'I think we are a bit too far behind to catch the guys in front, but we are also a bit too far ahead for the guys behind to catch us up.
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'So I think we are in a situation where we have to start again thinking about next year in order to close the gap and get ready for that championship.'
With the August summer break done and dusted, Formula One returns to action in Belgium this weekend.
But Trulli's team-mate Heikki Kovalainen also found himself looking at Team Lotus' future prospects beyond 2011.
'I'm very happy here – I think it works very well for me here, I think I'm getting more out of the team and the car than I've done in the past and I have no issues here,' the Finn told Autosport.
'And for next year we'll fit the Kers that has been in the Renault engines before, and the gearbox that we have from Red Bull.'
Behind the scenes, Team Lotus have also made a switch aimed at the future with Riad Asmat promoted group chief executive.
The Malaysian will now head Team Lotus and their sister GP2 outfit Team Air Asia, as well as Caterham Cars, merchandising and engineering.
The move comes a week after team principal Tony Fernandes took ownership of Premier League football team Queens Park Rangers.
Asmat, involved in Team Lotus since 2009, said: 'In F1 the goal remains the same – grow over the long-term and achieve our goals in realistic time frames. Next year we need to take another step up and we have the building blocks in place to enable us to do that.'
Fernandes added: 'We could not have placed our faith in a better person to lead our businesses forward. We first met Riad in 2009 and we were immediately struck by his passion, hard work and determination to succeed and he will be an inspirational leader for a very talented group of people working across all our group companies.'