Jarno Trulli has admitted that 2010 has turned out to be a much more frustrating year than he anticipated - but is still confident that 2011 will be much more fruitful.
The Italian feels he has borne the brunt of Lotus's teething troubles this season. He said he always accepted that switching from the lavishly-funded Toyota factory team to the fledgling Lotus squad would be tough, but that his misfortune this year has made it even harder.
"The transition has been really big, but fortunately I've lived in a small team before, so I knew already where I was going," said Trulli.
"It has been a very difficult season in fact - it was harder than expected in one way, but things went even worse for me because it doesn't seem like this season has been on my side. Between reliability and a couple of my mistakes, it hasn't seemed to work out this year.
"In one way I'm happy it's all happening this year because we can hardly score a point, so better for it to happen now rather than next year, when we can probably fight for points. But definitely I've been a little disappointed by everything.
"I have had a lot of troubles with reliability generally. It's not just one problem. I have a full list which I don't want to go through. It's just been hard to accept sometimes, but that's the way it works. Even when things were looking good, something turned round to be bad."
He remains confident that this year's tribulations will be proved worthwhile when Lotus produces a much more competitive and reliable 2011 car.
"We are focusing on next year's car, and all this season has been a kind of transition season preparing for next year," Trulli said.
"They didn't have time to produce a competitive car, and actually they did a better job than expected if you consider the other new teams.
"I'm really confident for next year, but obviously I had to suffer this year."
Lotus has been the most competitive of the new teams for most of the year and is currently in 10th position in the constructors' championship on countback. But Trulli admitted that the team was concerned it could lose out if Virgin or Hispania pulled off a lucky result in an attritional or unpredictable race.
"We don't want to finish the season behind any of the new teams because of a crazy race," he said. "We know that we are the best, but you don't want to miss the one and only chance you'll have all season to finish in the top 10. We have to be very careful."
He is optimistic about the team's chances of performing well in his home race this weekend, though.
"Looking at what we were able to do in Canada, we are reasonably optimistic," said Trulli.
"But as it's our first season, it's always hard to predict how our car will perform on each track. We still have to understand our weakest point and our good points. But we are reasonably confident."