The new Lotus E23 has started running earlier than expected in pre-season testing, with Pastor Maldonado completing the Mercedes-powered car’s first installation lap at Jerez. Lotus had admitted that the car was only fired up for the first time on Saturday, and with the need to transport it to the circuit in southern Spain it would likely mean only two days of running. But it appears that preparations went better than expected, and after overnight work they’ve managed to get the car ready for today. The team’s running might not be more than shakedown runs until tomorrow and Wednesday, but it’s good news for the Enstone outfit when little has gone right for them recently. They switched to the Mercedes power-unit for this year after a combination of Renault power deficiency and a flawed car design led to a disastrous 2014. The E23 is instead following its competitors by having the most powerful engine and replacing the walrus nose with a more conventional one. Maldonado and French teammate Romain Grosjean remain for this season, and will be hoping the new car gives them more of a chance to compete. With the Lotus out on track, all of the teams apart from Force India are running in the first pre-season test. Although Caterham and Manor (formerly Marussia) have entries for 2015, their well-publicised financial woes make it unlikely we’ll see them race this year.