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Lotus to defend Australian GP crown on the back foot

Mar 12, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

Pastor Maldonado Getty Images

It’s no secret that Lotus hasn’t had the smoothest of preseasons, with only limited running achieved at the two Bahrain tests.

Rather than sugarcoat it though, or try to cover it up, Lotus’ technical director Nick Chester makes no excuses and says they’ll just have to make do with what they have for the upcoming Australian Grand Prix.

“To be blunt, we are starting further back than we would like to be,” Chester admitted in the team’s official pre-race release.

“I think that the first two races of this season will be very challenging for us, however it also depends on the solutions that Renault Sport F1 will be able to bring to the table too. Overall, and for all teams, we will see much more reliance on the power units than we have seen in the past.”

The changes year-on-year since Kimi Raikkonen’s victory some 12 months ago in Melbourne: Raikkonen out, Pastor Maldonado in on the driver front. Eric Boullier: out as team principal, now at McLaren.

And of course, the sweeping regulations changes make it new for everybody, but particularly Lotus since it missed the Jerez test.

Expectations, then?

“Our target (for Australia) is to finish the race,” Chester said. “As we have done so little mileage it is difficult to estimate where we will be at in terms of performance.”

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