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Renault says late start to F1 season is Lotus's problem

Ongoing issues with the troublesome Lotus E22 are a consequence of the team's late start to the 2014 Formula 1 season, according to engine supplier Renault

The Enstone squad skipped the first pre-season test at Jerez because the car was not ready in time, and after a promising start to testing in Bahrain it ended up completing the fewest laps of any team across the two tests at Sakhir.

The struggles continued during the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, where Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado missed most of free practice and were consigned to the back of the grid in qualifying, after encountering new issues with their Renault power units.

Both cars improved in the race, making it past half distance before suffering identical failures with their MGU-K (kinetic energy recovery) units.

Renault's head of track operations Remi Taffin said Lotus's ongoing issues were due to a lack of running that can trace its roots to that late start to pre-season.

"We lack running with Lotus, so we're lacking experience," he said. "We're lacking knowledge of the car, as simple as that.

"Even on our side we lack experience on how to deal with the power unit and to be completely fair we had so many issues that are sequential.

"We had lateness building the car, we had problems with our power unit and mapping, we had problems with driveability and the clock just keeps on turning.

"We were very safe on everything [with Lotus] because we wanted to do the mileage, but unfortunately we had this failure.

"Nothing else would have prevented the cars finishing very close to the top 10."

MILEAGE OVER SPEED

Taffin reckons the E22 will make big steps forward if it can just continue to rack up mileage over the coming races.

"The solution is very simple: we get to Sepang, we run with the same sort of set-up we had in the race [in Australia] - we know it's working - and we just want to run," he added.

"We don't want to take the last tenths out of anything, we just want the mileage.

"If we take the mileage the laptime will come. It's just a matter of putting things in the right order."

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