Pipped by a Marussia in Friday's practice at Monza, Romain Grosjean concedes it will be a difficult weekend for Lotus.
Grosjean and his team-mate Pastor Maldonado had a slow and unforgettable start to their Italian Grand Prix weekend, finishing 20th and 18th respectively.
Both drivers were almost three seconds off the pace set by Mercedes' Nico Rosberg, prompting the Frenchman to admit that Lotus are facing a point-less weekend.
And his performance wasn't helped by a trip across the gravel that caused floor damage to his E22.
"It wasn't an easy day in general and certainly not an easy session," the 28-year-old told Sky Sports F1.
"It's always hard to jump in the car in P2 when everyone has already got an hour-and-a half of driving.
"I was expecting that we would struggle here and was predicting that Marussia may be quicker than we are. They are quite good in low-speed, they were quite good in Monaco. They have the Ferrari engine which has made some good progress; on paper I don't think it's that much of a bad car around here.
"We had some small issues this afternoon. I had a problem with the engine, I went wide in Turn Seven and damaged some parts of the floor so it cost me some lap time in the low-fuel runs. But generally the car is not good in that type of track."
Such is Lotus' lack of pace that Grosjean reckons making it into Q2 on Saturday will be a "challenge."
He added: "I think the challenge will be to go in Q2. We may be just on the cut off. We may find a little bit of performance for tomorrow, but in general it's going to be very tight.
"If I remove my engine problem the lap time would have been a good chunk faster, so probably with the Sauber and that means in front of the Marussia. But you never know what people are doing from Friday to Saturday.
"The only thing we can try to improve a little bit our difficulties, but there's no big surprise unfortunately."