Heikki Kovalainen fears that he will fall behind both Force Indias on the run to the first corner of the Spanish Grand Prix because Team Lotus is not running KERS.
Lotus is one of only three teams, along with Virgin and HRT, not running the hybrid system, which offers an 80hp power boost for 6.7sec per lap.
After earning a 15th place start – the team's best qualifying performance in a dry session and equal to their best showing in Malaysia last year – the Finn expects to be on the defensive at the start despite out-qualifying both Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta.
"They will have passed before the braking, if we all do the same starts," said Kovalainen. "The power of KERS is a lot and their straightline speed advantage is quite high anyway. That's one area where we are losing a lot because our aero efficiency is not very good here."
Kovalainen added that he is hopeful of being able to keep the Force Indias behind him in the early laps if he does make it to the first corner ahead. But once the DRS is enabled, he will struggle to do so.
"I am on the clean side and starts have been very good for us, so if I can get to the exit of the corner ahead I can stay ahead. But once they start using the DRS after a couple of laps, it will be difficult to keep them behind because their straightline speed advantage is 15-20kph."