Lotus Team Principal Eric Boullier believes that of all the teams in Formula One, only Red Bull has the capacity to continue to develop their 2013 car for the rest of the season, while also being able to devote time to prepare next year’s challenger.
With a major shake-up of the technical regulations to be introduced for 2014, with 1.6 litre V6 turbo engines set to replace the current crop of 2.4-litre V8s, most teams will be making the ‘switch-over’ in development earlier than usual this year.
As reported last week, Caterham has confirmed that all development of the CT03 has stopped as the team shifts its focus to 2014, with the hope that the Leafield based squad can make the jump into the midfield with next seasons car.
Indeed most teams split their development this year, with the design departments separated, with one section of staff concentrating on 2013, while another group focused on laying the foundations for 2014.
Boullier explained that other than Red Bull he expects most teams to now slow development of their 2013 machinery, turning their full focus onto next season.
“I think we will see most of the teams – with the exception maybe of Red Bull – slowing right down in their development of this years’ cars in preparation for the challenge of 2014.”
Alan Permane, Lotus’ Trackside Operations Director, echoed the comments of the Frenchman, stating that to remain competitive in 2014 most teams will now have to make the switch in focus to 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. “The changes are so significant that – without unlimited resources – you really have no alternative but to have switched your focus in this respect if the aim is to be competitive in 2014.
However, despite the change in focus for Lotus, Boullier is not worried as he believes that the team now goes into the second half of season with a front running car that should certainly keep them in the fight right until Brazil.
“With this in mind I think we are in a very strong position for the second half of the season, as our car is currently competing at the very front of the pack.
“We also have a strong upgrade package for Spa which will most likely form our baseline for the remainder of the year, so our aim should be to continue fighting for podiums right to the end.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic