Lotus rely on Renault
Technical director Nick Chester insists Lotus will be able to challenge for race wins early in the season, if their engine problems are resolved.
All the teams who use Renault engines struggled in testing and Lotus in particular have endured a tough pre-season, while the problems of defending champions Red Bull have been well documented.
Lotus didn't attend the first pre-season test in Jerez and ran out of time at the final test in Bahrain to complete all of their objectives with the new E22 car, but Chester believes by the time the third race of the season comes around, at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain in April, they will be able to compete if they can make progress with Renault.
"It [how long it will take Lotus to be competitive in 2014] will all depend very much on the progress we have made with Renault Sport," Chester is quoted as saying by ESPN.
"The first couple of races will be difficult. By the time we get to race three we will be back into a much better position. It does depend on how quickly the Renault fixes come in during that time.
"I don't think it's a lack of understanding [of the Renault engine], it's a lack of running. We understand the power unit, we just need a lot more mileage. Renault need more mileage to make sure they understand the power unit will cover everything they want, and we need it to make sure the chassis will be reliable over a race distance."
Lotus have brought in Pastor Maldonado to partner Romain Grosjean ahead of the 2014 season following Kimi Raikkonen's move to Ferrari.
Lotus can be backed at 7500/1 to win the Constructors' Championship, while Maldonado and Grosjean can be backed at 8888/1 and 8888/1 respectively to land the Drivers' Championship title.
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