Lotus aims for revival by round three
Lotus technical director Nick Chester insists the team can be back on a level par with the front runners by the Bahrain Grand Prix if they can put their engine woes behind them.
Lotus heads to Australia in perhaps the most worrying shape of any team on the grid, with a multitude of problems on both their's and Renault's side of the garage. The team ran out of time at the second Bahrain test to complete their objectives, but Chester believes they could be back among the contenders by the time they return to the Sakhir circuit on April 6 if they take significant steps forward with Renault in the next month.
"It will all depend very much on the progress we have made with Renault Sport," he said, when asked how long it would take Lotus to be competitive in 2014. "The first couple of races will be difficult. By the time we get to race three we will be back into a much better position. It does depend on how quickly the Renault fixes come in during that time.
"I don't think it's a lack of understanding [of the Renault engine], it's a lack of running. We understand the power unit, we just need a lot more mileage. Renault need more mileage to make sure they understand the power unit will cover everything they want, and we need it to make sure the chassis will be reliable over a race distance."
Chester is convinced the E22 can be competitive but admits the lack of running is having a knock-on effect to other parts of the car.
"With the chassis itself the level of grip isn't too bad, even though we've lost a little bit of downforce. The biggest problems are how the chassis works with the power unit and how the energy recovery system works. So there are some inconsistencies there which are making it very difficult for the driver to predict what he is going to get when he arrives at the corner. The system is not doing exactly the same thing every time and that is disturbing the driver and losing us a lot of time."