Heikki Kovalainen is confident that Team Lotus has put its reliability problems behind it despite a troubled preseason with the T128.
Lotus managed just over 2,500 miles in February and March, suffering from a number of mechanical problems, but the Finn believes that the team made a big step in the final test at Barcelona.
"I'm not worried about the reliability," said Kovalainen. "It's the first car that the team designed ourselves and I think that the problems we have had are perfectly acceptable. If you look at the final day that I had in Barcelona, I didn't have a single problem. We can't guarantee that it's bullet-proof, but it's pretty good."
Kovalainen expects to be close to the midfield pack on pace during the Australian Grand Prix weekend and that the team, which is only in its second season in F1, is making good progress.
"The progress that we have made since last year is very good," he said. "At the moment, I think that we are ahead of the other new teams and have pulled ahead of them. We are not too far behind the cars ahead of us and probably Force India is next target. We are on the right track, but still need to improve. The car needs more grip, more downforce, that's the main issue. This car is a good base, so I'm very happy."
Teammate Jarno Trulli admitted that the preseason mechanical problems held the team back. He is hopeful that by maximizing the mileage this weekend, Lotus can start to realize the car's potential.
"The pace wasn't too bad," said Trulli. "We were more affected by the reliability gremlins than any pace problems. When you can't run very much, you cannot develop the car the way that you want, so we are a little bit behind on that.
"We can exploit the car better, but now we just have to concentrate on getting the best out of the car in the first part of the season."