Date: 24th March 2014 at 9:34am
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Lotus fear that real improvements will not show until the Spanish Grand Prix in May.

The Australian Grand Prix race weekend was one to forget for the Lotus team.

Winter testing had shown a rapid downward spiral for the team after ending the 2013 season on a relative high.

Lotus missed the first winter test in Jerez completely and then struggled for mileage in the Bahrain tests.

In the end the Australia race weekend was pretty much just an additional test session for the team.

Friday’s practice came and went with neither driver completing a lap during free practice one, free practice two saw Grosjean complete 12 laps whilst Maldonado remained in the garage.

On Saturday, Maldonado completed 15 laps in FP3 but Grosjean remained in the pits.

In qualifying Maldonado failed to set a time, whilst Grosjean completed a time which was over six seconds off the pace.

The race saw both drivers having to retire due to a faulty MGU-K [Motor Generator Unit-Kinetic] component, part of Renault’s power-train.

Maldonado had completed just 29 laps, whilst Romain Grosjean retired after 43 laps.

Lotus will go into the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend, hoping for signs of improvement.

Red Bull Racing showed just how quickly they turned their season around, however Lotus Technical Director Nick Chester doesn’t appear to be overly confident that Lotus are capable of finding such a quick fix.

In fact with Malaysia quickly followed by Bahrain and then another fly-away race in China, it could be the fifth race of the season in Spain before real improvements are shown.

‘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 to Sky Sports.

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

‘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, 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.