Maldonado: Lotus will soon fight for podiums
22 March 2014 – Pastor Maldonado reckons Lotus will be in a position to fight for podium finishes in the near future.
The Venezuelan and team-mate Romain Grosjean retired from the season-opening Australian Grand Prix amid MGU-K problems, but both men remain confident about the underlying potential of the team's E22 chassis.
Speaking ahead of Malaysia, Maldonado said: "The E22 has a lot of potential and is feeling better to drive every time we go out. We've had a lot of initial issues with the car, but this has been the same up and down the pit lane.
"I'm impressed every time I look at the packaging of the car and I know that the work going on at [the factory in] Enstone and with Renault Sport F1 will make the E22 into a podium contender very soon indeed."
Maldonado completed 29 laps before retiring in Melbourne, with Grosjean hitting 43, prompting the former to make clear that while the team is hoping to reach the rostrum as quickly as possible, its current priority is to finish.
"It was the longest stint I've done so far and that’s very important for the engineers," added Maldonado. "Our immediate priority is to finish the races, but in Formula 1 you never stop searching for more pace as well."