LONDON, England - Lotus, a race-winner in 2013, is braced for a tough start to the 2014 Formula 1 season in Australia on Sunday; it's target is just to finish!French driver Romain Grosjean, a regular challenger for a podium place in 2013, says he has accepted that the first few races will be hard but was optimistic that lost ground would be made up.He said in a Melbourne team preview: "We're not in a nice situation but it doesn't mean it's 'game over'. The weekend will mean maximising track time, finishing, and getting the best result possible."He has a new team mate - Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado.TOUGH DAYS AHEADLotus was fourth overall in the 2013 championship but won in Australiawith Kimi Raikkonen - since departed to Ferrari.The team also struggled financiallytowards the end of the year and missed the first test of the seasonbecause its cars were not ready.When they did turn up for the second and third Bahrain tests problems with the new Renault V6 power unitmeant they did far fewer laps than all the other teams in sessions dominated by Mercedes-engined rivals.Lotus has also lost team principalEric Boullier to McLaren; chairman Gerard Lopez has taken the job.Technical director Nick Chester said: "There is a degree of frustration, coming away from winter testing. As was evident in Bahrain, we have much more work to do with the power unit to get it working correctly with the chassis."To be blunt, we're starting further back than we would like. The first two races will be very challenging though that also depends on the solutions RenaultSport F1 can bring to the table."However he was optimistic that the cars, which tested with a distinctive split nose, would in time "become a very strong proposition".Chester said the solution to the problems encountered so far looked "fairly obvious" and should allow the team to make reasonably quick progress in improving reliability. It could be a false dawn..."Because of the low distance run so far the reality is that there might be issues we have yet to discover, which might crop up down the line and compromise reliability in the first few races."Our target is to finish the race. As we have done so little track distance it is difficult to estimate where we will be with performance." Stay with Wheels24 for the first 2014 F1 race, in Australia, this weekend.