Lotus team principal Eric Boullier has said the team are no longer targetting the Constructors Championship this year and that second place is the best his squad can expect to achieve.
Lotus, who have had at least one driver on the podium six times in this year’s first ten races, currently sit fourth in the standings, 94 points behind leaders Red Bull.
The team is part of the top-four ‘big’ outfits with 25 points being the difference between second-placed Mercedes and Lotus, while Force India are 124 points behind in fifth.
But despite Kimi Raikkonen’s second-place in the championship, Boullier says the Enstone squad is too small compared to its main rivals and should work to consolidate its top-three place in the championship.
“The championship is so close between ourselves, Ferrari and Mercedes at the moment that we really need to be aiming a little higher to make sure our goals are reached,” Boullier said to F1.com
“I think therefore that to target P2 is a better ambition, and we will be pushing harder than ever to sustain that challenge,” he said.
“We have an ambitious group of people at Enstone and a top-three placing at the end of the year is very much possible, which would be a fantastic achievement for everybody involved.”
The team began 2013 with high hopes after Raikkonen took victory at the opening round, have since been unable to show the consistent front-running pace necessary to challenge for either championship.
Oweing to a victory and five other podiums, Raikkonen has been able to keep the squad in the hunt for a strong championship placing.
“I would have to give Kimi ten out of ten,” Boullier said of his driver.
“He’s done a terrific job right from the beginning of the season and his remarkable run of 27 consecutive points finishes speaks for itself,” He said.
“For Romain [Grosjean] it was a more difficult start to the year coming off the back of a tough season in 2012 and it maybe took him a little while to settle down and start performing to the best of his ability.”
Grosjean failed to score any points from the fifth to the ninth rounds of the season and was rumoured to be under pressure to perform if he wished to remain with the team in 2014.
But after bouncing back in the last two races, the 27-year-old French driver is believed to have reaffirmed his position within the team.
“He knows that if he wants to be winning races and fighting for championships then he must deliver this kind of quality drive at every Grand Prix,” Boullier said.
“If he can keep up this level, Romain can be a future contender for titles, I’m sure of it.”
Grosjean sits eighth in the championship, 85 points behind Raikkonen.