Lotus will be "more competitive" at the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix, according to Pastor Maldonado.
The Venezuelan driver and his team have had a hard time this season as they and engine supplier Renault have struggled to get on top of the new regulations.
Without a single World Championship point to their tally, Maldonado admits it is vital they get on the scoreboard next weekend in Barcelona.
"It is vital because this team and the drivers are used to scoring lots of them," he said.
"But more importantly it will act as a trigger for more confidence throughout the team and it will mean we can act on that and feed off it.
"The races after Barcelona are Monaco and Montreal where many variables usually happen.
"We have to be in the right place to take advantage of these and to enable a good platform for the summer."
The good news is Maldonado is confident his E22 will be a more competitive car at the Circuit de Catalunya and he even reckons a top-five could be achievable with some luck.
"I'm expecting to be more competitive," he stated. "It will be very important to start scoring some points, but if everything goes well and we get some luck too then a top five is possible.
"It is going to be difficult - there are the two Mercedes and two Red Bulls and then others who have shown good pace in recent races like Force India - but if we get 100% from the car we can fight all of the other teams and come away with something good to build on."
He added: "Clearly we expect the updates to be positive, but it's difficult to say how big the relative improvement will be because everybody will bring updates and nothing stands still in Formula 1.
"The bottom line is that we must keep improving and pushing. We won't get to the end of this season and look back to think we could have done more. Everyone is fighting 100% to get back to the front of the grid. When we get there it will be even sweeter."
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