MELBOURNE, March 14th, 2014 (F1Plus/Jacob Polychronis) Fortunes for Lotus F1 have failed to improve following another day of extended absences from the track during Friday’s practice sessions in Melbourne.
A mere 14 laps were completed by both Lotus drivers combined, over a practice period of three hours. Romain Grosjean was responsible for the vast majority, completing 12 laps during FP2. Nonetheless, the 12 laps appeared difficult for the Frenchman who ended the day in the wall after suffering a rear-suspension failure.
“It was hard to drive. I think we have to learn a lot of things.”
“I don’t know exactly what it is, I just know we have problems and we are not on top of everything right now. But that’s the price you pay because we didn’t do much mileage in winter testing.”
Earlier in the week, Grosjean was unconfident of completing a single lap during Sunday’s race. The result of Friday’s practice appeared to do little in raising hopes at the battered British team.
“We haven’t done more than 10 laps in a row. – There’s a lot of unknown and we cannot be confident [that we will finish the race].”
Improvement a slow process
Lotus F1 still appear to be very much in the testing phase. A lack of mileage in both the winter and on Friday means the team has very limited data on their 2014 car.
“We have to test a few things for tomorrow. We didn’t run a qualy mode. – There are thousands of things we need to test on the car and things that broke that shouldn’t have. Everything is a bit slow and it takes time.”
The feeling at Lotus is starting to show, after Pastor Maldonado joked that it would currently take “five to six years” to improve the situation.
Nonetheless, Maldonado did highlight their partnership with Renault as a potential accelerator to the development process.
“You see the improvement Renault have – it is a good thing. They [improve] quite well in a short time. We just need to work together more than before.”
Should reliability improve, a points finish is still possible for Lotus F1 on Sunday.
“We are maybe mid-pack or something like that” said Grosjean.
Lotus F1 have one more hour of practice time to improve the situation, otherwise they face certain retirement in the first race for the season.