VIDEO: Mike Gascoyne - Team Lotus will be competitive from the F1 off

Mike Gascoyne believes Team Lotus are on schedule to be competitive from the first races of the 2011 Formula One season.

The Hingham-based constructor endured a demanding start to F1 last season, receiving their entry at short notice, leaving them a matter of months to build from scratch a car to compete with the likes of Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull.

This time the story is different: development on the T128 started early last season and the car was ready for the opening pre-season test in Valencia last week.

And that extra preparation – only slightly troubled by a 24-hour power steering failure – will help the reincarnate of Team Lotus' bid to score their first points from the off, in Bahrain on March 13.

'Last year we were not even present at the first two tests, so to be ready for the first test shows how far we've already come,' said chief technical officer Gascoyne.

'For the T128 we have had more time to design, develop and build the car so naturally it's already proving to be better than the T127 in a number of areas.

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'It's a good base to start from; we're very happy with it. The Valencia test was about shaking the car down, and while we did have a power steering issue, we fixed that for the third day and got down to 1.15.6 seconds which, with no set-up work, was a decent time.'

The second pre-season test begins in Jerez on Thursday and Gascoyne added: 'We have enough time (to be ready for Bahrain this year).

'The power steering issue simply caused us to adjust our test programme…but we are still on schedule. We will start on performance work and set up options in Jerez.'

Despite expectations new tyres provided by Pirelli will not last as long as those previously developed by Bridgestone, Gascoyne does not expect there to be more pit stops in 2011.

The T128 will include a movable rear wing, but not Kers – a power boost system: 'We have to spend the budget on the most cost-effective areas and Kers isn't a priority for us yet – it may be later this year, we'll see,' Gascoyne added.