2014 F1

Lotus fumes in garage after disappointing opening day

D4FF5A2487DBF604CB8229811D75A_h323_w329_m2_q80_czqSWbLUiReliability issues braced a tough start in Lotus garage to the Formula 1 season, the opening day of the season could not have been worse for Lotus with neither driver doing much.

Pastor Maldonado completed just two laps in the opening practice session while his team-mate Romain Grosjean sat on the sidelines.

Grosjean finally posted a time after emerging deep into the second session but his best from just 12 laps of the street circuit was more than four seconds adrift of Mercedes pace-setter Lewis Hamilton.

“We experienced quite a few issues today,” Lotus technical director Nick Chester said.

“We were delayed getting Romain’s car out in the first session due to a gearbox fluid leak whilst Pastor had an electrical problem.”

Renault Sport F1’s deputy managing director Rob White visibly squirmed in his chair as he tried to grasp for positives.

“The first race weekend is always a testing time and of course this year we’re feeling particularly anxious because we’re not as well prepared as we would have liked to have been,” he told reporters.

“Once again we’re behind where we’d like to be and the task now is to try and gain ground.

“If we take a step back and look at the kind of troubles that have befallen us and our teams, we’re behind where we should be in terms of times and in terms of our internal objectives.

“Independent of one’s level of competitiveness, it’s completely unacceptable to be coming to the first race as relatively unprepared as we are and without having run through all of the scenarios that we needed to.”

Maldonado has stepped in for Raikkonen but was left frustrated in the garage as the Finn posted laps for Ferrari.

“I’m feeling really ready for tomorrow,” Maldonado said.

“I spent a lot of today waiting to get in the car as we had some problems, which I think are still normal to have so early in the season with these new cars.

“It was clear that we’re not the only ones to suffer on track and we have to work very hard, and maybe harder than the others, to try to catch up and be ready for tomorrow.”

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