After a disastrous Australian GP weekend, when the team encountered a spate of reliability issues with its E22, Lotus is braced for some more tough times as it bids to make up for its lack of early season running.
But it hopes that smaller steps forward in form over the next few races will be followed by a return to its previous strong form for the start of the European season.
Speaking about how he thinks the team will fare over the next few weeks, technical director Nick Chester said: "It is difficult to make a strong prediction after the weekend we have just had in Australia, especially with the limited mileage under our belt.
"I'm certainly hoping for an improvement for Malaysia and then some more in Bahrain, although as they are back to back it is likely to be small steps.
"It may well be Barcelona before we are in a more stable position and compete at the level we want to be at.
"One thing's for certain, we're not sitting back; we're pushing all the way with the focus on extracting the maximum from the E22."
Although the progress of the E22 mostly depends on improvements to its Renault engine package, Lotus has been working on aerodynamic development in the meantime.
Chester added: "We are still producing new bodywork and have some good upgrades coming for Malaysia in all areas around the car.
"We will keep pushing as hard as we can with the upgrade programme."
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