Jarno Trulli insists he will not be able to perform strongly this year unless Team Lotus solves the problems with his car's power steering.
Trulli has complained several times that Lotus's power steering does not give him enough feedback when driving, thus making it hard for the Italian to extract the best from his car.
The Lotus driver also said he was expecting his team to be strong enough to fight in the midfield this year.
"These are not good times for me: the car is not efficient in its aerodynamics. After a 2010 of settling in, I was expecting to be fighting in the middle of the pack, instead we are always at the back. Lotus is still building up experience," Trulli was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport.
"The real problem is with the power steering, because it carries on troubling me. If I don't have clear feedback from the steering, as is always the case nowadays, I can't adapt: my driving is very precise and I can't make up for it nor I can feel the limit. It's like driving blindfolded.
"Kovalainen, instead, doesn't have these problems, so he goes quicker than me. In qualifying I can never bring out the best, while I do well at race starts, when the car is heavy because of the fuel load. But when it gets lighter it's trouble for me."
The Italian, whose contract with Lotus ends this year, suggested he is ready to leave Formula 1 if he can't find a competitive seat.
"I want to see how things evolve," he added. "I'm used to fighting for the podium, for victory. It's tough this way. I could have a look around and leave F1, without quitting racing.
"I'm not interested in Indy, while endurance racing like the 24 Hours of Le Mans maybe yes, with a strong team. But I'm not thinking about it now, I want to keep my mind clear. Then we'll see."