Lotus concerned by lack of pace

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The Independent Online

Lotus Racing head into the new Formula One season with their only concern surrounding their lack of pace.

Despite building a car in just six months, there are no question marks over reliability following a successful conclusion to the final pre-season test in Barcelona yesterday.

Drivers Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen managed to clock up an excellent 313 laps between them over the four days at the Circuit de Catalunya.

In contrast, fellow newcomers Virgin Racing achieved only half that figure due to continual teething problems.

The only drawback is the car's lack of speed as it currently trails the likes of McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes by around five to six seconds per lap.

Despite that, chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne is delighted with the efforts of his team to build a race-ready car in just six months.

"In general we've had very good reliability, and the team is in very good shape going to the first race," said Gascoyne, with the opener in Bahrain just 13 days away.

"Considering the length of time we've had to work on the project it's a fantastic effort from the whole team.

"Everyone has worked exceptionally hard over the two tests and we now have to work on the pace of the car and improve that.

"But it's been a tremendous effort from the whole team and I'm very proud of them."