Lotus Team principal Eric Boullier is confident that both Kimi Raikkonen and Roman Grosjean will perform better at the start of 2013 than they did 12 months ago.
Boullier believes the lessons learnt from 2012 - the progress the drivers have made combined with a better technical understanding from the engineers - bodes well for Lotus next year.
"I would be very happy to start the season with the same car performance we had last year relative to everyone else," Boullier told Autosport.
"I know both our drivers will be race fit and, let's say, delivering more than 12 months ago.
"On the team front, last year we lost a little bit of ground during the summer, but we know where and we know why it happened. We learned from our mistake and we will not do the same strategy with next year's car development.
"At the same time, we performed well at the end of this season, and found some of our performance back, so it was a good fight until the end. It was good to see Enstone was capable of delivering as much as the bigger teams.
"So I am positive, but also cautious. You don't know what the other teams are delivering, as you can only guess from statistics.
"But the regulations are quite stable, so there will only be evolutions of the 2012 cars. That could be good for us to help us keep the ground."
Boullier admits that sorting out the design of its 2014 challenger will be one of the key points of focus in 2013, and balancing resources between developing that machine and making sure their current car performs competitively next year will be of crucial importance.
"We obviously don't want to push too far to hurt ourselves with the big project for 2014," he said. "But the boys here in Enstone have managed some work already on 2014, and I hope that what we saved already from 2012 has given us more flexibility for 2013."
And should Lotus emerge as a title contender next year, would the team consider pushing on with the development of its E21?
"To be honest, it will be a nice problem to have - even though [it would be] complicated to manage," he added.
"But we have to be realistic. This is the end of a chapter of rules, and in 2014 there will be a new chapter. We cannot afford to start far from the others with these new regulations."