Lotus driver Romain Grosjean has played down suggestions Lotus are a long way behind their rivals in 2014 development.

After a year of bad press over financial issues and the never ending saga over the Quantum Racing investment, Lotus had to ditch signing their preferred choice driver Nico Hulkenberg in place of the strongly backed Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado, since Hulkenberg has resigned for the Force India team for 2014.

Headlines were better on the track as the team won the opening round of the season in Australia and saw Grosjean emerge on the scene with a number of stand-out performances, notably fighting with the superior Red Bull's in Japan, eventually the team finished fourth in the Constructor's standings.

However, maintaining their competitiveness for 2014 could be easier said than done as news emerges simulator work on the 2014 car is yet to begin.

Lotus reserve Nicolas Prost tweeted on Monday that he completed the "last day" of running on the simulator with the 2013 car.

"Now flat out on 2014 car!" the Frenchman added.

What is worrying is that most of the top teams have been working their 2014 cars on the simulator for some months now, indeed Grosjean admitted he is yet to drive the E22.

"I hope to do this in late December," he told Brazil's Totalrace.

Asked why Lotus' preparations have been so delayed, Grosjean answered: "It is because it (the simulator) is a new tool for us.

"We are still working to make it as accurate as possible.

"When we get this synchronicity between the behaviour of the car on the track and in the simulator, we can change the focus to the car of next year," he explained.

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