Lotus predict difficult start

Tuesday 11-March-2014 14:16

Lotus technical director Nick Chester admits the team are in for a "difficult" few races and their fortunes will depend on the changes that Renault Sport bring in.

After missing the first pre-season test in Jerez, the Enstone squad struggled in the two sessions in Bahrain as they, and the other Renault-powered teams, found it difficult to come to grips with the new engine regulations.

Lotus also had some exhaust problems while Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado didn't complete a practice start, something which is worrying ahead of the season opener in Australia this week.

"I think the first couple of races will be difficult," he is quoted as saying by Autosport . "Hopefully when we get to race three, we'll be in a much better position. It depends really on the fixes Renault Sport are going to bring and how quickly that comes in."

Despite their struggles, Chester believes the rule changes have evened things up a bit and he feels they are not the only team worried about reliability heading to Australia.

"I think all the teams are worried about it actually," he said. "Not just Renault Sport-powered teams but Ferrari and Mercedes-powered teams. If you have a certain problem around the power unit, like with the energy recovery system, you can end up needing three or four hours to fix it.

"So anybody could have a problem for P1 and not get out for P2. Or if you have a problem in the P3 session, getting out for qualifying could be quite tricky."

It's going to be a tough ask for Lotus to see the chequered flag at Albert Park on Sunday, but the squad are hopeful that things will improve over the next couple of days.

"I think we've got to have a few things aligned," he added. "We've had days when parts of the power unit have been fine and something else has let us down. I think we're going to need a bit of luck and all the bits to line up right for us.

"I know Renault Sport are working very hard on fixes and I'm sure they'll be bringing fixes and new specs to Melbourne. Hopefully, that'll give us a much better chance."

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