A one-place improvement in the Constructors' Championship didn't accurately illustrate just how big a step forward - and apparent statement of future intent - Lotus made in 2012.
Back in the big time on a regular basis for the first time since the highly-regarded Enstone team's Renault glory days, many observers reckoned the sleek and reliable black and gold E20 proved the most consistent car of the whole season.
That it therefore took Lotus, and the returning Kimi Raikkonen, three races until the end of the year in Abu Dhabi to claim a race victory proved a slight disappointment and there were certainly several earlier grands prix that could be put down as 'ones that got away'.
Still, scoring more than four times as many points as they achieved in 2011 was an astonishing feat and suggests that, after a few seasons of fluctuating fortunes, Lotus are firmly on the path to F1 success under the management of Gerard Lopez's Genii Capital investment company.
The Luxembourg firm took a majority stake in the once Toleman and Benetton team during the winter of 2009 when then owners Renault, badly damaged by the fall-out from the Singapore GP 'Crashgate' saga, began a phased withdrawal from team ownership which was completed 12 months later when Genii took 100% control and Group Lotus came on board as title sponsor.
While 2010, with Robert Kubica at the wheel, was highly promising, the team's form and development programme - centred on an ear-splitting forward-pointing exhaust - nosedived the following year after a promising start and they ended up only just fending off Force India for fifth in the standings.
Last year a big improvement was therefore required. Yet few thought that Lotus would still so comprehensively leapfrog Mercedes and take the fight to the established top three teams for much of the season.
The signing of former World Champion Raikkonen, after an indifferent start, ultimately proved the most astute of moves and the Finn stays on for 2013 alongside Romain Grosjean, who has promised to learn the lessons from his fast, but error-filled, first full season of F1.
After achieving ten podium finishes last time round, Lotus Team Principal Eric Boullier and owner Lopez want more of the same in 2013 and surely several more race victories along the way.