Team Lotus prepare for Spanish GP test

Team Lotus have reiterated their hopes of making a big leap forward in performance at the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend.

The Hingham-based Formula One constructor will add several upgrades to the T128 in Barcelona, and driver Heikki Kovalainen believes the results could make Team Lotus a second quicker than their previous 2011 efforts.

'We should have a significant update in our car in Barcelona; hopefully the lap times will be something between 0.7 and one second faster,' said Kovalainen.

'When I talked to our head of aerodynamics Marianne Hinson on Tuesday, she said they had found even more improvements worth a couple of tenths just recently.

'Naturally other teams also make improvements to their cars, but hopefully we'll do better improvements than the teams close to us. It would make things more interesting. Our aim is getting to Q2.'

Despite encouraging efforts in China and Turkey, Team Lotus have been some way off picking up their first points since bringing the iconic Norfolk marque back to F1 for the 2010 season.

However, Kovalainen added: 'I'm also trying to get my first points in Barcelona. Up until now it hasn't been possible because of the performance of the car. In Barcelona I should be closer to it than ever before this season, assuming the updates will work as we believe they will.'

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Friday's free practice sessions – taken by lead drivers Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli – will offer the first evidence of where Team Lotus stands, although chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne admitted a little patience may be needed – however good the updates are.

'It might take us a couple of races to fully exploit it, as I think it is going to depend on the blown floor and engine strategies and some people have more experience than us with that,' Gascoyne told Team Lotus Notes.

'But we expect our update to be significant. I think we'll see a big step and I think there is more to come over the coming races…we're expecting it to be about a second, up to a second.

'It is a very significant update package. We think our update is going to allow us to take a clear step into the midfield, so that we are qualifying with them and out-racing them more and more.

'So, I think that we are reasonably happy, but Barcelona, it's got to see the next step forward.'