March 28th, 2014 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - It's been a tough start to the season for Lotus. Both cars retired in Australia after barely participating in qualifying. And now, in Malaysia, only Romain Grosjean managed to even set a lap time on Friday. Later in FP2, Grosjean's car came to a halt on track.
Lotus has a history of producing flippant, casual press releases that are often quite entertaining. Today's press release did not even attempt to make light of the troubles the team faces on track. In the press release after Friday practice, Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane summed up the team's situation: "We have lots of work to do tomorrow."
Pastor Maldonado's FP1 session came to a premature end with an engine problem that prevented him from setting a lap time in the session. The resultant engine change prevented Maldonado from running at all in FP2, which means he has only tomorrow's FP3 session to set the car up for qualifying and the race.
Romain Grosjean also failed to complete a lap in FP1, but the Frenchman was able to take part in FP2, completing 14 laps before a gearbox wiring issue brought his afternoon to an early conclusion.
Here's what the Lotus drivers had to say after Friday running:
Romain Grosjean: “We have to work and try to solve all our issues. We are focusing on every issue we encounter. This morning we couldn't do any laps, and this afternoon we burnt a cable which stopped the gearbox from working.
"Of course I don't get out of the car with a smile when my car is parked out on track and is not working, and you do swear a little bit in your head! But as I've said before, it's only the second race of the season and we always knew we would be starting on the back foot. We will get to where we want to be.”
Pastor Maldonado: “Our problems today were centred around the power unit. Hopefully we have fixed everything ahead of tomorrow and will be able to do enough for FP3 and qualifying. It's important for the team and it's important for me to be able to test the car and push a little bit, as it was not the case in the first race.
"It's tough as each time we're expecting to be better and better. We've been working so hard, the mechanics, the engineers, together with Renault Sport F1. We just need to try and be strong enough to accept when we have a problem and as soon as everything is fixed, be ready to be out and attack immediately.”