After launching the T128 back in January this year, Team Lotus COO Keith Saunt said: “A lot of people might say I’m too optimistic, but I’d like to think we’ll get between 40 and 50 points this year. I think we’re targeting eighth strategically, but I doubt there’ll be a lot between sixth, seventh and eighth. Depending on how the other guys are doing, seventh could be achievable.”

It must pain Mr Saunt every time he’s reminded of that statement, as we’re now at the half way point of the season, and Team Lotus still has not scored its first point in F1. Their best placing was 13th in Australia and Monaco, both courtesy of Jarno Trulli. Teammate Heikki Kovalainen now admits that they’ve aimed too high.

“I would say that our expectations were too high. Though we have closed the gap compared to last year, where we were five seconds behind, now we are 2.5-3s behind, so we have taken a lot of steps forward,” he told Autosport

“But now, looking into year two and into the midfield if you like, many teams are stuck there. The reason for this is because it is very, very tough – and at the moment we are still missing the facilities. We don’t have a good enough factory. I don’t think our wind tunnel is good enough.

“We have a lot of good people in the team but, at the moment, I don’t think you can judge them, because the tools that they have are not good enough yet.

“So we need to give the people better tools to actually show what everyone can do – including myself. I have no single doubts about my own ability and, at the moment, I am very happy about the situation and my position in Team Lotus,” the Finn added.

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