Lotus have taken “a big step forward” reports Pastor Maldonado, after the Venezuelan enjoyed his first full-day of uninterrupted running in the team’s twin-tusk E22 on Wednesday.
Maldonado suffered a disastrous weekend last time out in Spain, crashing in qualifying, before an anonymous run to 15th at the chequered flag.
While his team-mate Romain Grosjean has hinted at the minor resurgence of Lotus over the last two races, qualifying well in China, before gaining the team its first points of the year in Spain, the Venezuelan is still yet to score a point for his new team, having joined from Williams over the winter.
Yet, on the back of a trouble-free run to fastest overall on Wednesday during the post-Spanish Grand Prix test, Maldonado explained that he now possesses a new-found confidence in the car, which he insists is improving all the time.
“That was a complete day for us and my first normal day of testing this season,” he said. “We didn’t have any problems and we gained a lot of good running with good track conditions compared to yesterday’s.
“We ran to plan and completed everything we wanted to do. We learnt a lot more about the car, the set-up and performance is improving all the time so I’m feeling more comfortable to push too.
“It’s been a big step forward today which hopefully means we’ll be much better for the rest of the season.”
Lotus suffered a major set-back in their pre-season preparations when the launch of the E22 was delayed, forcing them to miss the opening test of the year in Jerez.
Since then the team has been playing catch-up, managing a series of reliability issues, all while attempting to close the gap on its rivals.
Lotus’ Trackside Operations Director is adamant that after a stuttering start, the Enstone-based outfit are now back on track, with further progress expected in the coming races as the team continue to draw more speed from the still untapped potential of the twin-tusk E22.
“With the data we have collected over the last two days and the progress we’ve made, we’re in much better shape heading to the next races. There is plenty of potential in the E22.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic