Lotus potential hard to judge, admits Maldonado

Pastor Maldonado of Venezuela and Lotus drives during the final practice session prior to qualifying for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 15, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.

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Pastor Maldonado says it’s hard to judge the true form of Lotus given the lack of miles the E22 has run, but he remains upbeat about the team’s prospects.

Both cars retired in Australia after completing their longest runs to date.

"€œThe preseason, it was quite tough for us," he said today. "€œWe’€™ve been working very hard and trying to push to solve all of the problems. These kind of problems, when you get at the bottom of the problem, you see that they are not huge problems: easy to fix, but it took so much time from the test.

"€œIn the first race again, we missed free practice, even on Saturday, qualy, so we’ve not been able to do proper long runs and to see our real potential of the car, because of this kind of issues we’ve had. And now I hope to have a better weekend. We’€™ve been working hard again to try to improve. We improved quite a lot for the race. We had never been able to run for more than 10 laps together, and during the race we did more than 30 laps with both cars –€“ which is a step forward. Now we are fully focused on finishing the race, and I think if we finish the race we will be in a good position to fight for good places."

Despite his optimism, he admits it was hard to judge where the car stands relative to the opposition.

"€œIt is very difficult to say, just because everything is new for us. We will need some more time in the car, especially to explore the potential of the car. It’s very difficult to say. The feeling is not bad, but against the other teams we need some more time in the track, and try to do our best to catch them. I think it’€™s going to be a very tough beginning of the season but again things are changing quickly in Formula One. We’€™ve been working very hard, the team is quite good on reacting and hopefully this race will be much better for us."€