(Frederic Le Floc'h /DPPI for Renault Sport F1)
The Lotus F1 Team have made gains of over two second's after Renault supplied the Enstone outfit the engine updates that have been used by Red Bull Racing. That is the claim of team owner Gerard Lopez.
Speaking following the Chinese Grand Prix Lopez said:
'We saw a clear step up from Renault's side in China, The guys are almost talking about two seconds, which is huge.'
When asked about the performance of the car Lopez commented:
'The car is good. Romain had some diffuser issues on Saturday, but based on lap times and derivatives of that, we probably should have gone for P6 [in qualifying] if we hadn't have had any issues.'
The team have been told to expect an interesting upgrade package for the next race in Barcelona. At the Circuit De Catalunya last season the team finished race on the podium with Kimi Raikkonen coming home in 2nd place behind Fernando Alonso. The team won't be expecting a similar result this weekend as they have yet to score a point in the opening race's of the season.
They came extremely close to scoring a point at the weekend in China when Romain Grosjean was running as high a tenth but was forced to retire from the race with a gearbox issue, while Pastor Maldonado finished the race in 14th place one lap down.
Lopez has also confirmed that as far as he is concerned the Lotus F1 Team's season starts in Barcelona. The fact of the matter that are not where they want to be or indeed where they should be is challenging Formula One's front running team's like Mercedes, Red Bull Racing and Ferrari just like they did last season.
The next two Grand Prix in Barcelona and Monaco are going to crucial for the team as they hope to get on the score board.
©Ben Johnston 2014