Alan Permane, the Trackside Operations Director at Lotus, has admitted the efforts of his team are now focused on ensuring they have a competitive car for next season rather than continuing to develop their current engine.
Next season will see an overhaul of a number of F1 regulations, perhaps the most significant being the reduction in size of engines from the current 2.4-litre V8s to 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engines, and, despite there still being nine races remaining this season, Permane expects most teams to be concentrating on getting things right for next year.
“I expect most, if not every team on the grid to be focusing the majority of their design and aero resources on next year’s cars by this stage,” he said.
Lotus have been extremely competitive this season, with Kimi Raikkonen currently sat in second place in the World Driver’s Championship behind odds-on favourite Sebastian Vettel. But despite the Fin’s excellent form Permane is happy to let the rest of the season run its course without making any major developments to the current car.
“You may see a few small upgrades appearing as the races tick away, but I suspect we’ve witnessed the last of the major overhaul packages,” Permane added, although he was keen to stress that he expected the car to continue to run well without major developments. “If this rings true throughout the paddock – and I think it will for most teams – then I fully expect us to continue fighting at the front for the remainder of the season,” he added.
Whilst it is understandable that Permane would want to ensure that Lotus are well set for next season, Kimi Raikkonen will surely be disappointed that the team will not be pulling out all the stops to help him close the gap on Vettel at the top of the Drivers’ Championship. If any of the other teams can make adjustments to their cars over the coming few races then Raikkonen may drop off the pace and his excellent start to the season could go to waste.