Romain Grosjean has issued a downbeat forecast for himself and Lotus ahead of the Australian Grand Prix as he heads into the opening round of the 2014 F1 season having yet to complete a race distance.

Already on the back foot compared to its rivals after skipping the first F1 outing of the pre-season in Spain last month, Lotus came to the two tests in Bahrain eager to make gains with its uniquely designed E22.

However, much like its Renault-engined counterparts, Lotus drivers Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado have been beset with technical gremlins, with Grosjean's time on track today ending prematurely due to an engine failure.

It means the Frenchman has completed just 91 laps during the entirety of the pre-season tests, with no opportunity to conduct a full race distance ahead of the 2014 curtain raiser in Melbourne in less than two weeks' time.

"We can't do a race simulation until the grand prix itself, so there will be a lot to think of in the car," he told assembled reporters in Bahrain. "This is the situation we are facing, so all we can do is try to work as well as we can until we get to the grand prix and then discover how it is to race 300km.

"We will go to try and score points. Being there to compete is nice, but [being uncompetitive] is not what we want. We are not in a nice situation but that doesn't mean it is over so if we can try to save as many points as we can early in the season then we can try to recover."

Despite the persistent setbacks for each of the Renault-engined teams, Grosjean nonetheless feels as though the Lotus team is making progress.

"We did as much as we could from the little amount of running we had. Every time we stopped we tried to improve. Some things went in the right direction, but I think it's more complicated than everyone thought, so there is a lot of work to do on our side and a lot of work on the Renault side.

"We need to work together and achieve what we want to achieve. It won't be easy, but I think we have improved."

New team-mate Maldonado has fared slightly better than Grosjean in testing, notching up 147 laps in total.



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