Lotus drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli are confident that they will be much more competitive in race conditions tomorrow when they can generate some tire temperature, as the team struggled to get near the midfield again in Melbourne qualifying.
Despite optimism that Lotus had taken a big step forward over the winter, its drivers assumed their habitual 2010 positions in qualifying in Australia, with Kovalainen 19th and Trulli 20th.
The team has struggled with tire temperature issues all weekend, and Kovalainen was also hampered by a wing problem in Q1.
"Unfortunately, the rear wing was stuck in the high-downforce configuration for the second run which definitely masked the real pace there is in the car," he said. "We've also struggled with getting the most out of the tires all weekend but I think the increased temperatures tomorrow will suit the car much more and we'll be in good shape to show what we can really do in the race."
Trulli agreed that Lotus will move forward on Sunday.
"We'll clearly be much quicker when we can get the tires up to full temperature so it'll be an exciting race for us tomorrow and I think we'll be in good shape to push the guys ahead who we were much closer to in the warmer conditions in preseason testing," he said.
Team boss Tony Fernandes insisted he was content with the qualifying result.
"I am happy with qualifying," he said. "Obviously, we are paying the price of the limited running we had in testing, but I have to admit I was a bit nervous before the session and having seen where we ended up I am pleased with what both drivers produced today.
"We continue to learn all the time and as this is essentially a completely new car we have to work hard on a number of areas to help us achieve our full potential, particularly on tire management – the car looks like it has Malaysian blood as it clearly prefers hotter conditions!"