Kevin Magnussen and McLaren were fastest on the second day in Bahrain today as the teams gradually began to pick up the pace.
However, they are still far from the sort of lap times they are likely to achieve in full qualifying form come April.
Gerard Lopez took over as the team principal of Lotus on Friday as a replacement for Eric Boullier, fueling widespread media reports that the Frenchman is on the move to Formula One rival McLaren.
Lopez will combine his new role with his previous position of co-chairman at Lotus, which had a strong season on the track last year despite financial problems off it.
Sebastian Vettel was fastest on a wet Interlagos track to take pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix on Saturday and be in prime position for another record-setting performance.
In Formula 1′s season-ender on Sunday, Vettel can equal Michael Schumacher’s 2004 mark of 13 victories in a year and match the record of nine consecutive wins by Alberto Ascari in 1952-53.
The Red Bull driver, who wrapped up a fourth straight F1 title long ago, was more than half a second ahead of Nico Rosberg of Mercedes in treacherous conditions in a rain-delayed qualifying session.