That is the claim of reigning GP2 champion Romain Grosjean, amid suggestions his new mount - the black and gold E20 - is among the very best cars on this year's grid.
"If I am really positive, we can say we are the third force, with Mercedes," he is quoted by RMC.
"If I am more realistic, we can say that we will fight for fourth place with Ferrari, Force India, Sauber and Toro Rosso," added the Frenchman.
Former F1 driver Mika Salo said the development race will be Lotus' true test.
"They are a contender at least early in the season," the Finn told the MTV3 broadcaster. "But the biggest teams develop at such a fast pace."