Lopez: We head into the first race of 2014 with a lot of expectation but many unknowns 11 March, 2014 84 Gerard Lopez, Lotus F1 Team Chairman, admits that the off season has been something of a challenging time for his team but remains upbeat about what the future may have in store ahead of the 2014 Formula 1 World Championship, which also heralds a totally new era for the sport. Previewing the weekend in Melbourne, Lopez said, “We head into the first race of the 2014 season with a lot of expectation but many unknowns. The new wide-ranging technical challenges we face have shaken the order and as we head to the first race we have much to do as a team to ensure that our excellent progress on the track over the last two seasons continues.” Lotus missed out on the first test in Jerez with their headline grabbing E22, and since then have been on the back foot, not helped by the problems experienced by their engine supplier Renault. “We will not underestimate this challenge and we know where the rapid improvements need to come from. Our technical team at Enstone has been working on the E22 for over two years and we know that the true potential of this car is yet to be seen. It is still very early days,” pointed out Lopez. “We have strong motivation in ourselves to attain success with the E22. All of our partners including PDVSA, Unilever, Microsoft and The Coca- Cola Company want us to do well and achieve strong performances on track.” “This is our target and we are ultra-focused. Everyone at Enstone is using their combined skills to strive for improvement on and off the track. For Lotus F1 Team we are dedicated and will leave no stone unturned in our quest to unlock performance from every avenue.” “We fully recognise the pressure we have to deliver. Our partners at Renault Sport F1 share our motivations to deliver on track as they work with us, along with the reigning champions Red Bull, and also Toro Rosso and Caterham. The expectations of the Renault family including Nissan and Infiniti push us all on.” “It is no secret that we face an extremely well-resourced rival in Mercedes who have dedicated considerable efforts to their Power Units for the 2014 season. We are doing everything we can to enable Renault Sport F1 to respond to this strong rival and our resources are at their disposal. The bar has been raised and we all need to react.” “Our hopes and aspirations for the season rest on how quickly we can make our car competitive after a tough start. The potential is there, and we know what has to be done. 2014 sees a very different era for F1, but one in which we relish the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead,” concluded Lopez who by all accounts will be Lotus’ acting Team Principal in the wake of Eric Boullier’s departure to McLaren. Subbed by AJN.