With the first round of flyaway races done and dusted, Lotus Racing returns to its real home of Europe. The past two weeks has been hectic for the Hingham based outfit. Since China, the team has beaten the Icelandic ash cloud, unpacked and repacked 34 tonnes of freight, run an intensive series of tests on chassis T127-02, fitted an entire upgrade package to the race cars, taken delivery of its newly painted race trailers and flown the race team back to Barcelona for this weekend’s Spanish GP, where they expect to do well.

“All the teams will have upgrades for Barcelona, but we’re hoping that ours is even more significant than our rivals because we received our entry so late and had to freeze the initial specification of the car very early in the design process. We do expect it to be reasonably significant – we have an aero package with revised sidepods, front wings and brake ducts, and a number of mechanical changes, but obviously we’ll have to wait and see what step forward our rivals will also make,” said technical boss Mike Gascoyne.

“It’s very gratifying to see the whole factory in full operation, with every department now nearly fully staffed but starting to work to their full potential. This means we can now look at more long-term development and R&D programmes, and start thinking about future cars,” he added.

Drivers Heikki and Trulli took the opportunity to fly back home for well-deserved breaks. “I spent two nights at home in Switzerland then flew to Finland to see my family for the first time since Christmas. I had some new golf clubs fitted by Nike Finland and have been practicing with them too, so my golf’s definitely improving,” Kovalainen said.

“I think I’ve had a fair bit of bad luck so far, but I’m looking to put that behind me and see how much further forward we can go with the updates,” said Trulli. “I like Barcelona – we all know every bit of it very well as we test there a lot, and have raced there for years. Monaco is obviously a very special place for me – a lot of my fans will be out in force, and I love going back to where I’ve won, so that’ll be a busy, but good week.”

The Monaco GP is up next weekend, the first ever street race for this rookie team.