Mar.7 (GMM) Lotus' technical boss has played down expectations the former Renault team could be ready to return to the winner's circle in 2012.

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus F1 Team
Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus F1 Team

Photo by: xpb.cc

Although the middle test was a write-off due to a technical flaw discovered on the new car, the E20 was arguably the surprise of the winter, setting the ultimate pace at Jerez and Barcelona.

But as for whether Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean will be on top in Melbourne and beyond, technical director James Allison insists: "We do not see ourselves as a favourite.

"They are Red Bull and McLaren. Behind them is a group of teams that is very close together, and we are in it," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.