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Maldonado hails 'big step forward' for Lotus after test

15 May 2014

Pastor Maldonado believes Lotus made real and significant progress during this week's two-day test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The Venezuelan topped the day-two timesheet and racked up more than 100 laps on what was his first trouble-free day of testing in 2014.

In addition to Maldonado's running, reserve driver Charles Pic managed 70 laps on day one, making the session Lotus's most productive test of the year so far.

The Enstone-based squad had previously suffered poor reliability in testing, with pre-season being particularly torrid. In Bahrain in February the team averaged just 29 laps per day over eight days on track.

Maldonado said his smooth run in Spain was crucial, allowing the team to make strides with both set-up and performance work.

"It's been a big step forward," Maldonado said of the second day. "That was a complete day for us and my first normal day of testing this season.

"We didn't have any problems and we gained a lot of good running with good track conditions compared to [day one]. We ran to plan and completed everything we wanted to do.

"We learnt a lot more about the car, the set-up and performance is improving all the time so I'm feeling more comfortable to push too. Hopefully [that] means we'll be much better for the rest of the season."

Alan Permane, Lotus's trackside operations director, said Lotus's prospects for the rest of the 2014 campaign had been lifted by the two days in Barcelona.

"We completed everything we set out to do today," he explained, "including aero assessments, mapping work, energy recovery scenarios, evaluations of set-up and ride height, tyre usage programmes and so on and I'm pleased to say the E22 didn't miss a beat.

"We completed over 100 laps today so it's been very good to see what is possible when we have good reliability.

"With the data we have collected over the last two days and the progress we've made, we're in much better shape heading to the next races. There is plenty of potential in the E22."

Lotus's positive test performance comes off the back of their first points finish of the year, with Romain Grosjean having claimed eighth place in Barcelona last weekend.