Practice and qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix underlined the belief that Lotus was poised to bounce back from its nightmarish 2014 season, but the team left Melbourne empty-handed after a familiar slap from the hand of fate.

Things looked promising for the Enstone squad after Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado both qualified inside the top, and more so after Williams' Valtteri Bottas was forced to vacate his sixth spot due to injury. With five of the 20 entries not making the start, the odds on at least one points finish looked good, but neither driver was given the chance to show what the now Mercedes-powered outfit could achieve, with Maldonado being pitched into a spin at turn one and Grosjean suffered an unexplained loss of power before completing the opening lap.

"What a frustrating day!" deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi sighed, "Pastor's race ended through no fault of his own and Romain's race was over at the end of the first lap too. This is not the way any team wants to start the season and there were a few choice words in the garage when we realised our race was over so soon.

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"It was particularly frustrating as we had great potential to deliver very strong results today. The team is not downcast, however, and we have a lot of enthusiasm for the races ahead as we've seen what is possible from the season. The whole vibe of the team is tremendously positive."

Grosjean's retirement was more in keeping with the fortunes of the Renault ranks Lotus left behind over the winter, and remained unexplained as the team packed up in order to ship its cars and equipment to Malaysia for round two in a fortnight's time.

"We had a loss of power on the formation lap [due to] a technical issue which we are investigating," the Frenchman reported, "The first race is always a bit of a tricky one, and you never know what might happen but, unfortunately, it was bad luck for us today. It's not how you want to end your race, but it doesn't matter - I'm still very hopeful for the year. We know the car is good and we're miles ahead of where we were last season."

Technical director Nick Chester confirmed that Grosjean's problem had caught the team on the hop, but remained confident that it could be traced and dealt with before Sepang.

"We ran very reliably in pre-season testing, but sometimes certain issues don't manifest themselves until the season starts," he concluded, "Everyone back in Enstone will get to the root of the issue and we'll come back fighting in Malaysia. Fortunately today was one race in twenty and we've demonstrated over the course of the weekend that the E23 Hybrid has tremendous potential. We can't wait to exploit this."