Pastor Maldonado admits that Lotus could face a challenging start to the F1 season in Australia if the current Renault engine issues can't be resolved prior to the first event of the 2014 campaign.

The Venezuelan saw his final day of pre-season testing come to an early conclusion when an engine issue and small fire limited him to just over 30 laps - leaving him down in tenth on the timesheets.

Speaking afterwards, the former Williams man admitted that further problems with the new powerplant were cause for concern but insisted that he was confident that Renault could resolve the issues that have so far blighted its pre-season work.

"We had an issue with the engine which a big worry for us," he said. "It was my last day of pre-season running and we planned to do a race simulation but couldn't. Hopefully we can do one tomorrow as we need more time [on track] to be ready for the first race.

"The guys [at Renault] are very professional and are working very hard on the engine, and are trying to react as quickly as possible. We are waiting for answers and looking forwards but at the moment it looks like the first race will be hard. However, you never know and they have been making progress with the software and settings throughout pre-season and hopefully the four teams running together can help them to improve the performance of the engine."

Despite his limited running, Maldonado said he was confident that Lotus had a strong package to work with once it gets on top of the engine gremlin as he now turns his focus towards Albert Park.

"We didn't have time to complete all of our plans but the car seems to be quite good," he said. "The baseline isn't bad, although there is a lot for us still to work on around. The engine problem meant we weren't able to run enough, but hopefully in free practice in Melbourne, things will be much better and we can have a good qualifying and start to the year."



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