Jarno Trulli says he has been frustrated by all the problems that have marred his start to the season with Lotus, and the Italian claims it feels as if he has hardly driven.
"Obviously, I knew that it wouldn't be easy, that everything would be new and we would need time," Trulli told Autosprint magazine. "However, I had expected at least to drive. Instead, after four races, I did not start once and when I got to the finish, it was because it was decided I should take the checkered flag but in far from ideal conditions. Bad luck seems to persevere on my car, everything happens on my car and my car only. So, to this day, my expectations have not been met.
"It's still early days to judge, we need more time for a reliable judgment," he added. "I knew it would be tough, but I practically haven't driven yet. I'll pass judgment at the end of the year."
Trulli's best finishes so far have been a couple of 17th places in Bahrain and Malaysia, but in both races the Italian was hit by problems that meant he was the last classified driver. In contrast, teammate Heikki Kovalainen has enjoyed a less troubled start and has 13th-, 14th- and 15th-place finishes to date. Trulli admitted his main goal at the moment is to beat the Finn, as he reckons Lotus has had no time to make a competitive car.
"On paper, our team is definitely the best among the new outfits in F1," he said. "We operate like a real team in the top series, but, unfortunately, we are only at 10 percent of our potential because of lack of time.
"There's no testing, and the racing weekend is the only chance to test and oil the structure. For us this is our apprenticeship year; we'll see the potential in 2011, when many structural problems will be behind and we'll be able to concentrate on the design of the new car.
"My aim today is to stay ahead of my teammate and to lead among the new teams. The rest is just dreaming: You can think of getting into Q2, but you need a disaster to happen, like it did in Malaysia."
He added: "The package with Cosworth engine and X-trac gearbox has little influence over the lack of performance, I think no more than 10 percent, so the problems are elsewhere. The thing Lotus has lacked is time, the main culprit for our difficulties.
"Had we had time to program everything more in advance; we would have better prepared the structure, the car, the gearbox, our hydraulics system and everything you need to start well. All this work is being done now, race after race."