Lotus look towards their next step forwards
Michael BaileyLotus Racing acknowledge there is a simple goal for this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix - get two cars to the chequered flag.From first gaining their entry into Formula One last year, the Hingham-based unit admitted the T127 would lack race pace but would at least be reliable.Michael Bailey
Lotus Racing acknowledge there is a simple goal for this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix - get two cars to the chequered flag.
From first gaining their entry into Formula One last year, the Hingham-based unit admitted the T127 would lack race pace but would at least be reliable.
However, that modest target has also been put under recent pressure after a promising start.
Heikki Kovalainen has failed to finish his last three races, while Jarno Trulli has two classified results - although only in Spain did he see the chequered flag, after the Italian's late Monaco shunt over Karun Chandhok's HRT.
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Lotus' fellow newcomers from Spain have also managed a couple of finishes in recent grands prix, while Virgin Racing have double the tally from Barcelona, Monte Carlo and Istanbul.
Team principal Tony Fernandes said: 'We have to aim to get two cars home whenever we can and consistent reliability is the key to doing that.
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'We have developed well in a number of important areas, but so far reliability is one where we need to work harder - I hope Canada's where we can turn that around.'
Montreal is a popular venue with the F1 crowd, while the temporary Circuit Gilles Villeneuve certainly has the potential to throw up a dramatic race, and chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne hopes that means Lotus turning the form book on its head to grab their first championship point.
Gascoyne said: 'It's a temporary circuit where you often see quite a few people hit the wall, bringing out the safety car more than it's usually seen.
'It's one of those races where it's possible to pick up points and we've got to put ourselves in a position to do that. We've got two very experienced drivers in the car which will help us be there at the finish and that's the primary goal.
'It's going to be hard on brakes, but we've had no problems in that area. We're also bringing a few more new parts, including a low downforce package specifically for Canada, so overall we want to build on the performances we've been putting in, aim for bulletproof reliability and have two cars see the flag.'
Away from Norfolk's Lotus contingent, Montreal will see all eyes on Red Bull after the high profile coming together of team-mates Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel in Turkey.
A can of worms was seemingly opened regarding equality within the Milton Keynes-based outfit after their accident 11 days ago, since which Webber has since signed a new one-year deal with Red Bull and Vettel played down suggestions of favouritism towards him.
But while those noises are well intended, plenty of people outside the camp remain unconvinced - including defending world champion Jenson Button.
Of course, moments after the Red Bulls collided, McLaren's weekend almost came to a premature weekend in similar circumstances when a communication failure meant Hamilton eased off after being warned to save fuel - a message that only reached Button after he continued to push and scraped past his British team-mate, before Hamilton regained the lead.
Button believes if Red Bull and Vettel are pulling the wool over people's eyes over the German being de facto number one at red Bull, that situation 'is going to hurt them both'.
But on his own team-mate duels, Button said: 'I know 100pc we get treated in the same way. I don't mean with regards to equipment, I mean the way the people are around us.
'My mechanics probably want me to win and his want him to win. It's that in-fighting which is exciting, but is not over the top. It's the way it should be and it's working very well for us.'
The defending champion added: 'Canada is an extremely fast circuit, but isn't a place that tolerates even the slightest mistake because of the proximity of the concrete walls.
'It means Canada is always an unpredictable weekend - a bit of a one-off, which is great for Formula One - and I think this year's race has all the ingredients for a classic.'