Lotus warn it could be the Spanish GP before they return to a competitive level

Team struggled throughout pre-season and in Australia

By William Esler.   Last Updated: 26/03/14 10:15am

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Lotus Technical Director Nick Chester has warned it could take until the Spanish Grand Prix in May before they return to the level they want to compete at.

The Enstone-based team missed the first pre-season test in Jerez and unreliability issus blighted their running during the eight days in Bahrain as they headed to Australia with the least mileage completed of any team with their 2014 challenger.

Lotus' problems continued in Melbourne as Romain Grosjean recorded the slowest time in qualifying, whilst Pastor Maldonado failed to even set a time and both cars retired from the grand prix.

"I'm certainly hoping for an improvement for Malaysia and then some more in Bahrain, although as they are back to back it is likely to be small steps," Chester said.

"It may well be Barcelona before we are in a more stable position and compete at the level we want to be at."

Despite their poor showing in Australia, Chester believes the E22 is a good car and was frustrated the unreliability problems prevented them from showing their true pace.

"In my 14 years at Enstone I cannot remember a more intense period of work and for there to be no tangible reward for it is tough to take but we knew that this would likely be the case," he added.

"It was disappointing that we were not quicker and that we were unable to attain a truly representative position on the grid. Everyone understood that there are so many new parts and so much new technology for 2014, so we knew that it was going to be difficult for everything to work straight away and achieve a positive result.

"We are now addressing these issues one by one and making clear, quantifiable progress."

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