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Grosjean lands Lotus comeback drive alongside Raikkonen
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Grosjean
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Dec 2011   |  8:03 am GMT  |  94 comments

Romain Grosjean is back in Formula 1. The 25 year old Frenchman will drive alongside Kimi Raikkonen in a deal which has clearly been brokered by French oil company Total, which has also extended its sponsorship of the team for a further two years.

Team owner Gerard Lopez of Genii hinted recently that the team might well change both drivers after a lacklustre 2011 season, which saw Vitaly Petrov criticise the team and Bruno Senna drafted in half way through the year to replace Nick Heidfeld.

Grosjean did a stint in F1 with the Enstone based team during its days of Renault ownership in 2009, after the sacking of Nelson Piquet, but he wasn’t ready for F1 and didn’t hold onto his drive.

Managed by Gravity, which is a Genii group business, Grosjean was the obvious fit alongside Raikkonen this time. He’s fast, has a point to prove and has more experience now, having won the GP2 series.

“I am thrilled to be one of the team’s race drivers in 2012,” said Grosjean. “There’s a big grin on my face at the prospect of getting behind the wheel of next year’s car, and I feel very privileged to be given this opportunity. To be racing alongside a former world champion and someone who is hungry and returning to Formula 1 will be a great experience, and I’m sure will help raise my level of performance too.

“I feel that my successful season in GP2 Series has helped me mature a lot, and I am a much more complete driver than I was last time I was competing in this sport.

“I will not disappoint and I wish to thank all the people without whom this return to F1 would not have been possible. Total, which supports me since 2006, and Gravity Sport Management, are first on this list.”

So having gone without a French driver for several years, we now have two – Grosjean and Charles Pic at Marussia.

There had been some rumours emanating from Russia that Petrov might transfer there in exchange for Timo Glock moving to Lotus, but today’s news would appear to scotch that.

Bruno Senna is without a drive again and will be looking around the teams with seats to see if his performances in 2011 have attracted any interest.

Robert Kubica is in rehabilitation from his career threatening arm injury, but it does not look like he will come back to this team, if indeed he does manage to come back to F1.

The next item on the agenda is what happens in the relationship between Genii and Group Lotus. There are two theories doing the rounds at the moment; one has it that Group Lotus is going to complete a buyout of the F1 team, the other is the reverse, with Genii buying Group Lotus from Proton.

A third possibility is that things will stay as they are. As Raikkonen is fond of saying, “We will see.”

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94 Comments
  1. ed24f1 says:

    Certainly one of the boldest and riskiest driver line-ups in recent years!

    Grosjean did deserve another chance though, so good luck to him.

  2. Ricky says:

    Possible for Pic to be demoted to test driver to slot in Petrov? Will be a better move for Pic in career development anyway.

  3. Regis says:

    Great news !! He deserves it.

  4. Roo F1 says:

    Sutil, Petrov/$$$, Senna… I suppose the BBC can at least recruit a driver for their coverage now

  5. F1 Fanatic says:

    James what is your gut feeling about Bruno Senna’s F1 future ?

    1. James Allen says:

      Hope he finds something. He had some good performances

      1. F1 Fanatic says:

        But realistically, with such a satuarated driver market, do you think he even has a chance to challenge for a team like, for instance, Williams?

      2. Dan Orsino says:

        Williams will stay with Maldonado and Barrichello.

        They won’t allow anything to get in the way of their plan to come last in the constructors next year.

      3. Mic V. says:

        @Dan: Touché…!

  6. K says:

    Hmm… interesting. Sad for Bruno as I was hoping he’ll continue and tell the world what he can do.

    We will see how things go.

  7. Jordan says:

    Petrov going Marussia would make sense from a marketing and financial point of view, but it would be a scary prospect having him and Pic responsible for the developement of the car/team!

    James – if Marussia were bold enough to do this and allow Glock to exercise his get out clause, do you think he’d be a chance at Williams? Or is Sutil firming up there?

    Hoping Ricciardo is announced at Caterham soon ;)

    1. Kenty says:

      The though of two rookies trying to turn around Williams….. I SHUDDER AT THE THOUGHT

  8. Jack says:

    I might be mistaken but isn’t he also managed by Eric Boullier? At least Renault have no history of their team principle shoehorning in his own drivers…

    1. Jack says:

      or Lopez sorry, so swap principle for owner.

  9. Lea says:

    I feel for Bruno but happy to see the back of Petrov…

  10. Neshaen says:

    This is the final piece of the puzzle. Sutil to Williams is now a given. Ricciardo to either Torro Rosso. I hope Bruno Senna gets a drive somewhere!

  11. lux says:

    Good for Grosjean, he deserves the drive.
    I heard he’s actually half French, half Swiss but drives under a French license. True?

    1. Mic V. says:

      True! He was born in Geneva and holds dual nationality (French + Swiss). He indeed drives under a French racing licence, therefore represents France in motor racing. Everybody seems to agree on that, except from the BBC who refers to him as a “swiss” driver…

  12. Darren says:

    I am sure Grosjean is better than he showed in his last F1 outings, however it seems harsh on Senna to dumped after showing pretty well in a difficult situation. I hope he gets another chance somewhere else.

    I would have thought Petrov with his Russian backing would have found a spot in the new teams, but there seems to be a glut of new drivers with backing at the moment.

    I guess recent history prevented Sutil from lining up at Group Lotus. He would have been the perfect measuring stick for Raikkonen. Now KR will have a more time to adjust with less pressure form his teammate.

    1. kidVermin says:

      Funny How The Driver Market isn’t big News unless it involves the Ferrari, McLaren duo. Even the Mercedes signings felt like non-events to me back in 2010.
      But this is actually a very interesting situation. Barrichello, Sutil, Liuzzi, Senna amongst others are looking for drives on a fast diminishing Grid. Sutil basically has Williams left, and my Gut tells me that Rubens is out there in favour of Sutil and his Medion money, HRT already have Pedro so experience becomes a non-issue when considering the second seat, but Barrichello has proven racecraft while Pedro is shaky in this dept. And therez the Trulli Anomaly, this driver market is actually interesting, kimi’s return has probably cost a lot of people severely.

  13. Dmitry says:

    At last sanity prevailed and Lotus (Renault) did what they had to do a year ago.

    I am from Russia myself, but you know what – I didn’t feel even one time (during the last 2 years), that Petrov deserved his seat in Renault. He is not a very bad driver, but neither is he “good”… I just don’t think that he is F-1 grade driver. I totally believe that he and Russian motorsport have a very very long road ahead of them, before some driver from Russia can be called “good”.

    I simply don’t believe in miracles and the power of Russian oil money – even if the track in Sochi will host F-1 in 2014 no money will buy a truly talented and skillful Russian driver in the nearest 5-10 years.

    1. azac21 says:

      In the same way Lotus Renault is not a very good F1 team. Actually they dont sound like a team at all. They are more like a bunch of investors trying to make money and nothing more. Unfortunately they use the Lotus and Renault names.

      1. Alexis says:

        Yes I agree. The only change they needed to make this year though was getting rid of Boullier.

        Petrov and Senna would have made a decent pairing. Presumably Raikkonen is being paid a very very hefty sum.

      2. Trent says:

        I can’t help but think the ‘other’ Lotus team deserved the name a lot more than this one does…

  14. Janis says:

    Not a big surprise, really.
    I already mentioned it here that with the crash of Snoras Bank, and its owner Antonov under criminal investigation, Petrov might not get as much support money as he had promised to Genii. Since his performance on the race track was also not so special, it was an easy choice for Lotus…

  15. Jonathan says:

    Sad to see that sponsorship money is so often a decisive factor in securing an F1 seat these days.

    I hope that Bruno Senna gets picked up by someone. Like Nico Hulkenberg in 2010, I thought he had done enough to earn a seat — but clearly talent alone is no longer enough.

    1. herowassenna says:

      That is of course if you believe he had this abundance of talent.

      Liuzzi was a World Karting and F3000 champion but has never seemed especially good in a F1 car.
      Senna hasn’t won anything, and seems to have traded on his Uncle’s legacy.

      All drivers who get to F1, are some of the top drivers in the world, they all have talent. Some also happen to have funding behind them, after all Schumacher was a pay driver at Jordan. So lets not get carried away…..

      1. lecho says:

        Senna was second in British F3 in 2008 in front of di Grassi, Maldonado, Buemi, Petrov, Chandhok, d’Ambrosio, Kobayashi AND Groesjan. It was his third full season of racing and he would have taken the title the next year, but after Brawn deal falling apart he took a sabbatical from formula racing and went for Le Mans series. Then in 2010 he joined HRT which turned out to be a disaster.

        You surely can’t say that he’s trading someones legacy, unless you say the same for ones like Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve or Ralf Schumacher – basically everyone who has or had a racing driver in his family that was superior to him.

      2. Andy C says:

        Indeed, and two of those people happen to be WDCs in F1 by the way :-)

    2. PNWBrit says:

      “Sad to see that sponsorship money is so often a decisive factor in securing an F1 seat these days.”

      It was almost ever thus…

  16. Paul says:

    Grosjean is certainly more worthy of a Renault seat than Petrov or Senna, but I felt there was something to the Glock rumours.

    What happens to Petrov now? Could he still feasibly move to Marussia with Glock possibly going to Williams?

    And when was the last time a team fielded two drivers that hadn’t been racing in F1 for at least two years?

    1. Phil C says:

      HRT fielded Chandhok and Senna in 2010 – both rookies…

  17. Ade says:

    Could be another frustrating year for the guys and gals from Enstone then…

    1. Al says:

      Very interesting use of the word “Could” there.

      So, Renault and Total, both Nationalised businesses, putting money behind a driver, on Nationalist grounds, not talent ?

      I would not accuse Eric Boulier of this though, he actually manages Grosjean, so has a Flabbiotastic % $$ earner out of this arrangement, all the while getting paid to manage the team.

      Do the French actually have a word for “incestuous” I wonder ?

      1. Rich C says:

        Its called “conflict d’interest”

        And why this is even allowed is beyond me.

      2. Nationalised? You might need to check your facts. The French government only owns about 15% of Renault and 5% of Total, a private business from scratch (later buying the French owned Elf I believe).

        Luis Taxis (Team AirAsia GP2 driver) reckons an F1 driver needs to bring 5 to 6 million dollars to have any chance of being on the grid, as well as a certain ability.

        I think Grosjean is there on merit more than financial backing, and Lotus/Genii must be getting from Total.

      3. Nationalised? You might need to check your facts. The French government only owns about 15% of Renault and 5% of Total, a private business from scratch (later buying the French owned Elf I believe).

        Luis Razia (Team AirAsia GP2 driver) reckons an F1 driver needs to bring $5-6 million to have any chance of being on the grid, as well as a certain ability.
        My gut feeling is that Lotus/Genii must be getting that sort of money from Total for having Grosjean lining up against Kimi. There is obviously a connection with the French background which probably has to do with the prestige image of Total in marketing terms.

        However, I believe it is Grosjean’s performances (on and off the track) in 2011 that helped him get the seat. Unlike Petrov and Bruno Senna, he has won titles in F3 Euroseries, GP2 Asia and GP2 (=prestige and pedigree). His FP1 performance in Brazil showed promise too.

        From a factual point of view, the French/Swiss driver seems to deserve his Lotus F1 seat for 2012 more than Petrov and Senna. Adrian Sutil was surely never in contention after his debacle in China (with LRGP’s Eric Lux).

  18. Vipin says:

    This is really a bad decision by Lotus.

    They must have hired Rubeno or Sutil instead of Grosjean.

    1. Vik says:

      Perhaps the more interesting point is where Robert Kubica fits into all this. The signing of Raikonnen and Grosjean suggests that Kubica no longer has a confirmed drive when – or if – he returns to F1. Pairing an ex-WDC and former ‘fastest driver in the world’ with a young, hungry, talented team-mate seems eminently sensible long-term, from both a racing and business perspective. But what of Mr. Kubica? All that love seems to have evaporated rather rapidly.

      1. JamesF1 says:

        I think Kubica has deliberately taken himself out of the equation by not pushing for a deal to be put in place for next season, whether he was fit to start the season or not. Renault (Lotus) were, in the words of Eric Boullier, only ‘morally obliged’ to offer him a seat but I think we will see RK pounding around Maranello in a 2010 Ferrari next year, prior to taking Massa’s seat for 2013 if he is fit enough to do so.

  19. DK says:

    I hope Renault can transform itself into a likeable team because I really dislike what they did this season. Especially it seems Boulier is not going away!

    Give the two “comeback kids” decent cars then we will “wait and see what happen”!!

  20. Gus82 says:

    I’m confused by the negative comments about Grosjean, and sponsorship meaning more than talent.

    HE IS THE CURRENT GP2 CHAMPION!

    Therefore Lotus (2012) have actually went for two of the best drivers available.

    I feel for both Petrov and Senna as they’re decent drivers but I don’t believe either was ready for a team in the top half of the grid, they both need time to develop at a smaller team under less pressure and I think it would be great if Petrov was given a test or reserve role at Marrusia with Friday tests and the opportunity to get into a race seat in the future.

  21. quest says:

    I am surprised at the number of people saying that Senna did a good job. Over the last few races he was battling the green lotuses, barely holding them back, sometimes even falling behind them. Even if he came in midway through the season, there is no excuse for being that uncompetitive.

    Compared to him, Petrov was way more competitive and consistent.

    Let’ see what Grosjean makes of his second change.

    1. Phil C says:

      Senna also got the car into the top ten in qualifying on a few occassions, and showed well in a car that fell back massively as the season went on

      And let’s not forget his tests for the second seat at Honda shortly before they pulled out, when he blitzed the opposition, including Barrichello, and set a time only 3 tenths off Button in his first test session with an F1 car…

  22. Tom says:

    Interesting that the team included a statement from Boullier in the Grosjean announcement, but not Kimi’s. Perhaps a way for Boullier to quietly express his disapproval of Kimi Raikkonen getting a seat?

    Does anyone else think it odd is that team principals are allowed to manage drivers? That is a rather big conflict of interest, since presumably Boullier’s stands to gain financially from Grosjean’s appointment.

    1. Rich C says:

      “Does anyone else think it odd is that team principals are allowed to manage drivers?”

      Absolutely should not be allowed. Its a complete conflict of interest. How can I get the best deal possible if my Agent is the Team Owner?? Not a chance.

    2. CH says:

      My memory is Boullier having less than positive words about Kimi’s possible return last year, and doubt that Kimi was his choice this year.

      Be interesting to see how Boullier’s tough guy face plays with the likes of Kimi. Am biased, just feel when there’s a shortcoming in the team he seems to always point to someone else.

  23. mattw says:

    I think Grosjean has done enouph to warrent a second chance.

    Going up against ‘Comeback Kimi’ will be make or break for him, but that’s F1 for you.

    If Petrov does go to Marrusia, then for Glock – I think a driver of his experience and speed is much needed at Williams.

  24. Ralf F says:

    Clean sheet at Team Enstone then. I like it, none of the drivers there this year impressed. Grosjean definitely earned his drive with a stellar and mature showing in GP2.

    Now on to Team Grove…

  25. Rob Newman says:

    Big mistake. He didn’t do a good job last time and I don’t think he is going to do any better this time either. Senna didn’t do a good job so no surprises there. They should have stick with Petrov.

    Let’s hope the car will be better. We need more competition at the front.

    1. SplinterBoy says:

      Disagree. RG battered VP in the junior formulas & i hate to think how bad Mr Petrov would have been in that Renault at the end of 2009!
      Think RG will show his worth in F1 next yr

  26. Tom in adelaide says:

    Personally, i wouldn’t trust this team further than i could throw them. Kimi will teach them a thing or two though…..

  27. Dave says:

    Petrov to Williams?

  28. pram says:

    Grosjean beat Petrov at Race of Champions. I guess that’s how he earns his drive at Renault (or should we start to call it Lotus?)

  29. Troy Brisbu says:

    Sorry to see Petrov lose his seat as I liked how tough a competitor he was and his robust defence of position. Plus I liked the style of the guy…but on merit he lacked the pace you need to keep a top F1 seat and excited that Grosjean has received the call up.

    Senna did wel, but I still think on merit Grosjean is the better driver and more worthy of the seat.

    Time will tell but I think Grosjean will thrive with a team mate like Kimi who wont be disruptive to a rookies season if he upstages him

  30. ez_matt says:

    The relationship between Genii and Group Lotus is simply the SWAP of their owner stocks.

  31. Richard says:

    I think Adrian Sutil would have been an ideal partner for Kimi Raikkonen. Sutil is a very fast driver who really has not had an ideal opportunity to show what he can do, and would have kept Kimmi honest. Grosjean in my view still has much to prove in F1, but he is young so lets wait and see how he does. A bit tough on Bruno Senna whom I liked, but Petrov really has had a disappointing year compared to his previous stint.

    1. Dominic J says:

      Didn’t Kimi and Sutil have a habit of colliding?

      1. Richard says:

        I think there was a period when Sutil had a spate of accidents, but I’m not sure what the reasons behind that were. Anyway he seems to have matured and put in some good performances for Force India, and is known to be fast. As to how well Kimi does will depend I think how he gets on with the Pirelli tyres. Of course Lotus need to improve the car significantly if they are to get a sniff of the front grid slots.

  32. JEVthebest says:

    Hope now it’s JEV and Bianchi turn !!!

  33. Blaize says:

    Gutted , truly gutted. I cannot understand why Senna hasn’t got the drive. He proved himself for me.

    Grosjean isn’t someone i believe that can do anything Senna can’t do. This coupled with the fact that when Grosjean came in half way through a season and failed to impress compared to Senna this year whose done nothing but impress i feel lost as to why this decision was made.

    Oh well looks like Senna has to start again.

  34. Paul H says:

    I’m glad Grosjean is getting another shot as I feel he has more to offer than Petrov or Senna. But considering his mileage this year and Kimi’s lack of any on the new tyres, high fuel load and DRS I wonder how long it will take this team to get up to speed. It will be interesting to see how they do in pre season for certain.

  35. Spinodontosaurus says:

    Blaize, try comparing who Senna had as a benchmark this year compared to who Grosean did in 2009…

  36. Stuart Harrison says:

    Amusingly, the individual driver probably has very little bearing on the success of the team these days, what with the emphasis being on aero performance. So teams are probably right to shop around and attract sponsors to keep them in business.

    Doesn’t say much for the drivers though; gone are the days when driver skill meant the difference between winning and losing. Look at Alonso – possibly one of the best drivers on the grid and he managed only a single win all season, even that was substantially aided by a temporary restriction on blown diffusers.

    Hey ho. Let me know when F1 gets interesting again as I suspect with the dominance of Vettel and the Sky deal I won’t be paying much attention to the 2012 season anyway!

    1. herowassenna says:

      Interesting points.
      Myself? I have been saying for some years, Alonso, IMO is the best driver since Senna.

      Your last paragraph made me think, if Ferrari aren’t in the same ball park as Red Bull, I’m going to take up fishing.

    2. Rich C says:

      Yes, when the cars/drivers all finish the year in a two x two configuration it is hard to ignore that the cars are the dominant factor right now.

      And we all complain about the dominance of “aero” but,lets face it, for *anything that goes 200 mph “aero” is going to dominate simply due to the laws of physics.

  37. Brian says:

    Fair play to Renault/Lotus they have gone for performance over pay drivers – it is a refreshing change from all those stories of rookies handing over many millions for a pay drive. Mind you after the last couple of seasons for Renault perhaps it is a case of “lesson learned” as far as underwhelming pay drivers is concerned…

    1. Rich C says:

      Sorry, but you seem to have missed the part about Total signing up for 2 more years if they took Grosjean?

  38. Werewolf says:

    Grosjean was, I think, the sensible choice. His GP2 season was excellent, suggesting genuine potential, and his connections with Total lucrative. The guy’s previous foray into F1, late in the year into a team with real problems, against the mighty Alonso and probably before he was ready, cannot be used as a reliable indicator in my opinion.

    Petrov was really only recruited for sponsorship reasons anyway but it is to his credit that he performed rather better than many of us thought he would and he has, I think, won himself some fans with his efforts and likeable demeanour. He strikes me as a slightly slow learner, which leads me to believe he will only improve with another opportunity elsewhere.

    It is so difficult to be objective about Senna. The name and his charm make you will him on and the lack of a true litmus test thus far only compounds the problem. On balance, I think by the end of the year he should have been closer to Petrov (or even ahead) and perhaps made fewer mistakes. A third driver role might again be his best bet, preferably with a team that will allow him some Friday driving, which I cannot see being Lotus-Renault as both its drivers will need maximum mileage next year.

  39. Simon Donald says:

    The pairing of these two drivers will be interesting to see, both have a lot to prove, Kimi needs to prove he still has that raw skill he showed in Mclaren and Ferrari days. Romain needs to prove that his first F1 outing wasn’t a true reflection of his skill. Who will be the faster….

    I think Romain has a slight advantage i.e driven Lotus car this year and is current GP2 champ, but once Kimi is up to speed he could be the quicker, very good choices I’d say

  40. Baghetti says:

    Grosjean isn’t free of ‘sponsorship-backup’, but still I feel it to be a positive evolution that he’s getting Petrov’s seat who in my opinion is still more of a paydriver.

    Rather than allowing a return of in-year-testing, I feel it would make more sense to impose a rule that drivers cannot bring any ‘direct’ money to the teams. Of course there will always be sponsor-driver links and thus drivers that ‘indirectly’ bring money with them, but rather than spending money on in-year-testing I think it would be a more effective (but as always hard to control) rule to improve the racing and to bring better drivers into F1 if it were forbidden to directly pay for a seat…

  41. tim says:

    James,

    What does Robert Wickens have to do to factor like Grosjean obviously has? I don’t get why he’s been passed over so quickly, especially at Virgin Marussia. Should he race in another series and win again, or stay as a reserve driver, or just give up? I thought being North American might make him more appealing, with three NA races for next year. But doesn’t seem so.

  42. Nil says:

    Many posts from my GMail ID keep getting blocked! Why am I on the mod list?

    Here’s my post again:

    James a couple of questions for you:

    - Kimi calls it as he sees it. Vitaly got into trouble with the team for doing that. How do you see the team handling Kimi’s comments?

    - Does Kimi have clauses on the contract allowing him to compete in rally or other sports? He did that while at Ferrari but after what happened to Kubica, that seems difficult especially at Lotus.

    1. James Allen says:

      1. He’s not that bad
      2. I would seriously doubt it!

      1. Nil says:

        Thanks for the reply! One idea for the winter: how about having a post once a week or fortnight where you pick from your list of favorites seasons from the past and describe those in brief? Would love to read about those like Nuvolari, Varzi, Segrave and more recently Villeneuve, Lauda and Cevert.

  43. Nil says:

    This is completely unrelated to the post but I found it really interesting and might interest many here. I’m taking a course in Artificial Intelligence and here is some info on self-driving cars. Some of these are used to get street level views for Google Maps.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_BJUBpuvFE

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqDvbguZsAA

    Is research like this being done in areas of motorsport? Any info would be appreciated.

    1. Rich C says:

      I seriously doubt that AI-driven cars are circulating through our cities and towns all on their own just snapping away for Google.

      Someone is pulling your leg.

      You’ve no doubt seen the vids of some of DARPA’s contests in this field? They have a long ways to go.

      One day soon they will be *able to do this. But there will be such a huge outcry from the public about ‘safety’ issues that I really do not believe they would ever be made legal.

      1. Nil says:

        The Google cars do go through the streets of California at least. Here’s some more info on it: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/10/science/10google.html

      2. Rich C says:

        And if you look *verrryyy carefully, you’ll see an actual human bean sitting behind the wheel, “just in case.” And to avoid frightening the Luddites.

        So while I think its a marvelous technical achievement, what they are doing is really just a PR thing for google.

        It will never be accepted for these things to drive themselves around, especially when ppl start to think about their kids being hit by the 1 in a million that goes whacko.

      3. Alex W says:

        Within 10 years, it’s more likely humans will be banned from driving than robots, imagine a computer 1000 times cheaper, 1000 times more powerful, and 1000 times smaller than we have today, that’s what will be around….

    2. Rich C says:

      BTW the self-parking video is hilarious and this would be accepted as practical and useful now.

  44. Keith says:

    James,
    There have been a few rumours doing the rounds in the City about Genii looking to put together a fund, and given their current ownership of this team, then yes, the road car business looks a good fit. Also from the sounds coming out of the Far East, they want to get rid of Lotus, clean up their balance sheet.
    So if the race team can be respectable on the track, then it does raise the profile of the road car “division”, and of course the crossover of R&D would be useful.
    The road car market is here in Europe, not the Far East, right now, nor India or China, so having two “European” drivers in the race team, is a bonus, but the big question really is there performance on the track.
    I am sure you do remember the “old” Lotus cars had a fair amount of Renault kit in them, so the Race team with a Renault engine, nice fit.

  45. fernando chavez says:

    I think Boulier is the responsable person there, and he should go somewhere else, or take a different roll in the team, but clearly he is not the person for the job… you can change drivers left and right, and the problem is Boulier…. I mean, you at least have to improve during the year, not go backards, change drivers at mid year to hide the fact that the team is the one malfuntioning…. have some pride an quit…. next year, if renault fail again, well Kimi, just got back and the other one??, well we have to give him some time, its been two years you know…
    Excuse and more excuses.

  46. Bill says:

    An ex F1 World Champion and a current GP2 World Champion sounds very appealing to me!?

    Give them time, a good car, and ‘let’s see what happens’ :-)

  47. Persi says:

    I think Boullier is a big problem. I wonder if there would be clashes with Kimi.

    Can’t quite put it into words but there is just something about Boullier which makes me feel he is not a good team principal, would be horrible to work for and that he isn’t a very nice person. No people skills maybe?

    And to me they are still Renault. There is Caterham but there is no longer any Lotus.

    Senna seems like a nice fellow and I wish him well but I don’t think he’s very good. Petrov is ok, he at least improved from last year but to say his outburst (probably justified) didn’t have consequences is naive. I think Boullier was extremely incensed by it.

  48. Steve says:

    I thought that Boullier had quietly stepped down/was removed from the Team Principle job?

    I heard this about two weeks ago?

  49. Andy C says:

    I’m delighted to see this lineup actually, as it shows that they’ve gone for driver lineup rather than just Petrovs heavy backing.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Romain is a very talented driver who went into a terrible situation when he was last in F1.

    Yes, you can look and say the total monies would have helped, but this is about picking talent over money.

    Something that I’m afraid Williams GP under mr Parr appear to have thrown out the window.

    In my view Sutil has only raised his game when threatened with losing his drive. Maldonado will beat sutil, I’m pretty sure.

    What I’d like to see from Williams GP is a similar statement of intent, and pick the best young driver they can. Someone like Giedo Vandergarde would be a good choice.

    The F1 grid is congested now, IMHO because of the sheer number of seats either picked or influenced by the redbull driver scheme. Talented guys like Wickens cant even get a sniff over Pic etc.

  50. Tyler says:

    Two drivers that havent been in an F1 car for a couple of years…going to be fun to watch.

    All the question marks surrounding Boullier and Renault’s decsions in general are a bit suprising. This is the same team that sacked a driver that had reached the podium, and ended up scoring half the teams points total…running only half the races.

  51. I’m pleased for Romain and I think this will be a good move for Lotus. Grosjean’s previous stint with the team in 2009 came to him at the wrong time. His confidence took a big knock after that big accident in Monaco and he was in no shape to be moving up to F1.

    He was back to his best in GP2 last season and now looks very much like a man ready to succeed in F1. I think he’ll provide a quick and consistent benchmark for Kimi Raikkonen, and Kimi will need to be on his toes to beat him.

  52. Jesus H. Christ says:

    Neither one of these boners will accomplish much that is noteworthy in 2012 or 2013 or 1024 or (sorry). I figure Grosjean will be gone before the end of the year. They might as well put Hulkenburg in the car, Barrichello or B. Senna (BS).

  53. James says:

    james, sky sports had on their website the other day a story about kubica having a contract with ferrari for 2013 and that they wouldnt help him get back to fitness and will disregard him for this year altogether. have you herd anything on that story?

  54. Nick says:

    I think it should have bgeen Senna with Grosjean, Senna impressed in a very poor performing lotus in the second half of the season qualifying 7th at his first comeback race. Petrov didn’t get the seat because he criticised the team, which is a good decision by Boulier. I like Kimi, he is an old fashioned, quick driver who doesn’t care about the press, but he has been out of the sport for 2 years, that will cost the team as it did with Schumacher who was in a more competitive car. Both Bruno and Romain know what the team and cars are capable of, so should have been the ideal pairing, inswtead of paying Kimi a hefty amount to comeback at the age of 30 something.

    I think Bruno should be at Williams, I’m hearing it’s between him and Rubens for the remaining seat, but I’d go for Bruno because of his youth, relationship with the team and owner, plus he has experience with the Renault engines unlike Rubens.

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