Romain Grosjean believes Lotus is starting from behind with its 2014 Formula 1 challenger and is likely to struggle in the opening rounds of the season.
The Frenchman had his first outing of this week’s final pre-season test on Saturday, but his running amounted to just 33 laps amid two lengthy interruptions. He was first hindered by an electrical problem with the gearbox fan in the morning and his day was later curtailed by an issue with the E22’s energy recovery system that proved too problematic to fix in time.
These troubles came after teammate Pastor Maldonado only completed 31 laps on both days he was behind the wheel, due to problems with a new exhaust configuration and a Friday fire.
“In terms of preparation, we are not quite ready,” Grosjean admitted. “There are plenty of things we would like to try and do before we get to Melbourne, but tomorrow’s session is only a few hours and we’ll need to get on top as many things as we can.
“It’s not going to be perfect for Melbourne, or even Malaysia, but we will try our best to improve everything,” he added. “It will be nice if we can get a few points, but if we don’t, then we understand that it’s a chance to move forward, but honestly, it’s not going be a straightforward season for anyone.”
Grosjean said long delays incurred when trying to resolve issues hampered Lotus’s progress, echoing other teams’ comments about the complexity of problem-solving on the 2014 cars.
“If you have a small leak or need to change the battery, for example, it takes about three hours,” he explained. “It’s been a big change in the regulations and it’s hard for all of us – engine suppliers and teams. But the more we run the more we discover things and the more we can solve them.
“It’s not ideal, but at least we can tick a few boxes in terms of reliability.”