Raikkonen: Lotus can end year on high

Autosport

Kimi Raikkonen says he has already seen enough of Lotus's latest updates to feel the team can take a step forward in performance for the rest of the season.

The Enstone-based outfit began the second half of the campaign with high hopes that a development push could take its Finnish driver to the title success.

But a failure to match the development spend of rival teams Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari has left the team to endure a few tough races during the Autumn and dropped its lead driver out of the hunt for the title.

However, a change in exhaust philosophy towards the Coanda-effect concept has helped. A second iteration of that design, aimed at recouping some of the lost horsepower appears to be working well.

Raikkonen reckons his Friday performance in Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice offered only a glimpse of what is possible for the rest of the weekend once the car is properly set-up.

"We have improved," he said. "But while you gain some downforce, you give away some horsepower, so we'll try to get it back.

"But it is not a very easy thing, and with time we will come back with normal horsepower and still have the downforce.

"It is a good thing that we at least bring parts to the car this year and we learn things, so we are much better with the new car with those things.

"We have improved, but everyone else makes improvements too. We are closer than we were at Monza or Spa for example with the laptime."

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