Date: 15th March 2012 at 9:27am
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Over the next few days the spotlight will move on to the drivers on the Formula One grid, so today we are going to concentrate on the team principals.

First up, Lotus team principal Eric Boullier.

Lotus have looked in surprisingly good shape during winter testing, for a team under the previous guise of Renault, the team tailed off at the end of last year after a promising start, but that poor momentum doesn’t look to be carrying over into their 2012 car.

They haven’t been without their problems of course, a chassis problem during the first testing session in Barcelona forced them to pack up and go home, costing them four days of testing and valuable time and miles to learn about their car.

It also cost their new drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean time behind the wheel, time they both would have found invaluable returning to Formula One after a few years away in Rallying and GP2 respectively.

But despite that set-back Lotus and Mercedes appear to have closed the gap between themselves and the big three in the form of Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari.

Guessing games suggest that Red Bull and McLaren are most likely to be the strongest teams on the grid, but from Ferrari, through to Mercedes, through to Lotus and on to teams like Force India, Toro Rosso, Sauber and Williams, no-one really knows where they stand in the natural pecking order.

Throw in new Pirelli tyres, designed to be more aggressive, with shorter gaps between the two compounds and qualifying and the race this weekend in Australia are proving to be very intriguing.

‘Yes, it is going to be a freaky one! Qualifying in Melbourne and the first races are going to be unpredictable.’ Boullier told Autosport Magazine.

‘The tyres are going to make things very interesting. If you push too hard in qualifying then you are going to be screwed for the first part of the race ? and if you pit too early it may mean you need to make an extra stop.

‘It is going to be interesting, but we like the challenge. We would always love to have a car that is two seconds faster than the other ones, which would be very comfortable for us, but in the end we like the fight as well.’


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