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Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Jan 2013   |  9:46 am GMT  |  103 comments

Lotus F1 boss Gerard Lopez has set his team a bold objective for this season: finish in the top three of the Constructors’ championship table this year and end the season on the same level as the best teams.

Last season Lotus ended up fourth after a strong year, particularly with Kimi Raikkonen, who was third in the Drivers’ standings ahead of both McLaren drivers.

But if their other driver Romain Grosjean had been more consistent they might have gone some way towards bridging the 75 point gap to McLaren. The Frenchman scored just 96 points compared to his team mate’s 207.

But Lopez, who owns the team 100% via his Genii Capital investment company, told Gazzetta dello Sport that the team proved several things in 2012,

“The quality of the drivers; the speed of Grosjean; the development push, which meant that we arrived at the last race in our best shape; the confirmation that for the second year in a row we were able to build a competitive car. If we can optimise these four things we’ll be at 100%.”

At the launch of the E20 in February last year Lopez said the objective was, “to bring the car up to the front of the pack, probably trying to aim for fourth as a reasonable goal for this season.”

Lopez is proud of the performance Raikkonen put in last year, particularly as many people told him that the Finn would be unmotivated,

“That makes me smile,” he said. “I was sure it would be like this, Raikkonen put in a great work load to compliment his talent and the results are the fruit of that. Here he feels like he is being used for what’s most important and for the rest of the time he is free. He’s found a balance. I speak to him every week and he feels good. He has enthusiasm and desire. I want drivers, not robots.”

As for Grosjean, Lopez defends his driver whose wildness led to him sitting out the Italian Grand Prix after a ban was imposed, but adds, “There were other drivers who had more reprimands than him..but he paid the price for the others. However he showed he’s quick. I’m expecting a lot from him this year.”

The final note is on the rumours around Lopez wanting to sell the team. He says, “We (Genii Capital) won it 100%. But we’ve always said that if there are any investors who want to get involved with shares, we are ready. But I have no intention of selling the team, because it’s a fantastic way to develop our business. With the sponsors we talk not only about their place on the car, but also about wider business activities.”

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103 Comments
  1. maximaz says:

    Im sorry Mr. Lopez, your development push is still way below the Top 3, even force india after summer break, when the car fallen off pace radically.

    Focus on the wrong development path again, the infamous passive DRS, and paid the price. In 2011, it was the EBD. These incorrect judgement on focusing the right development path should be further refined.

    Im curious why the team failed to provide a simple power steering tools that match Kimi ‘s need for whole year long??

    Invest more money Mr. Lopez, thats the only way to improve the in season development.

    1. Kimi4WDC says:

      Due to that development push in mid season trailing behind Mercedes and Force India I lost couple of years of good health!!!

  2. lanceRover says:

    The development rate still lacking big as we saw since hungary, the car had fallen off pace heavily.

    Incapable to provide Kimi a compatible power steering…..and the strategy department need to be further improved. Pit crews fitness to enhance the pits time which often exceed 3.2 to 4.0++ sec

    There’s a period only Romain receive new upgrades from valencia to hockenhaim while Kimi had to wait until Hungary due to insufficient resources of the team.

    Surely these issues had to be sorted to reached top3 in 2013. Money, money and money…..quality of racing operation side etc. Ferrari and Rbr did the best job than any other.

    1. Aplomb says:

      Historically Renault built 2 different grades of cars for each driver, who is getting the best shot at Renault now ?

      To James, IIRC Lopez does not “own the team 100% via Genii capital” … the investors in Genii capital own the money he is playing with I would assume ?

    2. Chromatic says:

      Mark Slade has said that budget restrictions meant they had to give priority to the car development push and put Kimi’s steering preferences on the back burner. And when they see Kimi duelling millimetre- perfect with Schumi and Hamilton and Button, etc, they reckon that what he’s got can’t be all that bad anyway. McLaren and Ferrari had the resources to give Kimi the steering sensitivity he wanted.
      But If they want KR to deliver more in 2013 they had better find the extra cash. Give Kimi the tools and for sure, he will do the job.

  3. AndyFov says:

    I don’t really consider that a bold target, that’s pretty much what the Enstone team need to be aiming for.

    It’s more realistic than saying “we expect to be title contenders” and less demotivational than “we hope to be one of the stronger outfits in the midfield.”

    Top three will be a struggle though, they’ve got to rely on one of Ferrari, Red Bull, or McLaren to drop the ball and hope there aren’t any rabbits in Ross Brawn’s bag.

    Still, regardless of where they end up, they should set their sights no lower.

    1. Liam of Sydney says:

      Indeed, if you don’t think like a winner, you will never be one.

  4. Munish says:

    The car is too sensitive to temp. Only work well in extreme hot condition, cant generate enough heat on cool weather.

    If they can sort it out, it would be a major boost in terms of consistency and qualifying pace.

  5. Alex W says:

    The whole “Lotus name thing” is still so bizarre to me, in what is otherwise a very well run operation. They have the drivers, they nearly have the car, Lotus can be top 3 next year, so long as they actually make money from their main naming rights/sponsorship, and Grosjean fufills his full potential.

    1. Wade Parmino says:

      Yes I know. The real ‘Lotus’ died with Colin Chapman. Although, it is very nostalgic to see the new Lotus running with the John Player Special color scheme (they’d never get away with it if it was still an available cigarette brand).

      1. Miha Bevc says:

        According to Wikipedia JPS is still available brand.

      2. Tim says:

        It remains available in many countries.

        Tim

      3. Tim says:

        P.S. Minus the “John” appellation.

        Tim

      4. Sami says:

        That is very unfair towards Peter Warr and Gérard Ducarouge. Yes the 99T was not that terrific, but nevertheless it was the first car to win a GP with an active suspension (Senna, Monaco 1987). That innovation was the brain child of Colin Chapman as far as I remember. (I may be wrong).
        For me the real Lotus died when the Chapman family sold its stake in 1990, so I am not that far away from your opinion.
        However I think Enstone is doing an extremely decent job and no harm at all to the Heritage.
        I also find very difficult to get over nostalgy when I see that black and gold livery.

      5. Martin says:

        I believe it was another engineer, probably Peter Wright, who came up with the idea and then sold it to Colin Chapman. From memory Peter Warr wasn’t a fan of the concept and it took quite a while for it to come back (effectively 4 years). The comment I recall was that Chapman fully supported it once he saw what it could do (probably ride height control).

        Cheers,

        Martin

      6. toleman fan says:

        >The real ‘Lotus’ died with Colin Chapman

        +1

  6. goferet says:

    I think the fact Lewis left Mclaren is giving lots of teams hope for the coming season.

    Yes Lotus are aiming for the top 3 slot in the constructors table says more to the fact that the top teams do not trust the Perez – Jenson partnership (not to mention the Mclaren outfit as a whole with their pitstops & reliability woes)

    So yeah, I too think Lotus are going to do the business in 2013, however, the likes of Grosjean may need to see a sports psychologist because when someone like him is hell bent on not making a mistake, this usually has the negative effect of lose of confidence and ultimately lose of form.

    Anyway as fans we’re thankful the Lotus team stood up to be counted for competition is good for the sport in general e.g. Monaco Grand Prix 2012

    *Correction*

    With Lotus having finished 4th on the table last season, just realized Kimi will have the number 7 car in 2013 and seeing as the #7 car has never won the driver’s title… Well, you know the rest.

    Also I seem to recall one of the bosses at Lotus saying they’re targeting the 2015/2016 seasons for back to back championship wins just like they did in the 2005/2006 and 1995/1996 seasons.

    1. Bluefroggle says:

      so they are going for 5/6, 5/6, 5/6 then

    2. Brad says:

      “With Lotus having finished 4th on the table last season, just realized Kimi will have the number 7 car in 2013 and seeing as the #7 car has never won the driver’s title… Well, you know the rest.” Man, that is a bad stat!!!

    3. Wade Parmino says:

      1996 was dominated by Williams (Damon & Jacques).

      1. Dave C says:

        I think he meant 1994-1995.
        For Enstone to succeed they need a full manufacturer’s backing, a top class principle and 1 of the top 3 drivers, at the moment they haven’t got any of them.

      2. tarun says:

        Dave, you are underestimating Mr Raikkonen!

  7. captainj84 says:

    I need to say I was never a renault fan in the past but this new incarnation is far more to my liking. Their focus on racing first and the corporate money making machine second is the way all teams should be. It has been amazing watching Kimi thrive in the conditions he clearly wanted at McLaren and Ferrari. It would be great to see them finish in 3rd next year, the only thing is I think it will be my favourite team Mclaren who will be pushed down to 4th. I think Kimi has another championship in him and I think if Lotus keep moving forward as they have been the past two years and keep the investment at a high level then it will be possible! Good luck to them!

    1. Munish says:

      i bet kimi being present in the team does help that as he was well known for not being political.

      however, the Eric – Romain relationship still come in handy for example the team gave all the in season testing slot to Romain, and also the upgrades package from valencia to hockenheim were reserved for Romain first….while Kimi had to wait until hockenheim to get the same tools.

      if alonso was there, it will becomes ugly.

      1. captainj84 says:

        I have a sneaky suspicion that most drivers would be not very happy and perhaps pretty vocal about that situation, but I think Kimi is like “M’eh!” :)

    2. Elie says:

      You will be converted to Lotus as I have since the return of the Iceman and Mclaren consistently imploding. I started loosing faith in them in 2011 when a they started favouring a mediocre driver over their own world champion and again this year when errors and a low midfield drive from Jenson cost them a serious shot at both titles ( a certain WDC for Lewis)..

      How does the song go .. ” If your not really here then don’t want to be either.. Black & Gold..” – should be their theme song.

      1. captainj84 says:

        I definitely agree with you, Mclaren are their own worst enemies from their pit stop errors/reliability issues consistently costing good results to not changing the team dynamic/atmosphere/ethos to keep Hamilton……Now I am not saying a driver is bigger than the team but when you have a world class driver and you don’t do EVERYTHING in your power to keep him then you are shooting yourself in the foot! If Jenson doesn’t get “the balance” sorted and Sergio doesn’t screw the nut then Lotus’ 3rd place dream could be more of a reality.

      2. Doug says:

        I’m Sorry Elie but your comments are uninformed & short-sighted.
        Yes, McLaren really dropped the ball last season..but to blame it on a Jenson Button bias within the team is just wrong….He’s also a World Champion don’t forget!

      3. Elie says:

        I’m not blaming Maclarens technical and operational problems on Jenson in fact they messed pit stops with him also.

        But if people can’t see what was happening in that team even from where they sit at home then I feel very sorry for them Uninformed YES- I heard everything he said after Canada when he pushed a lewis into the wall (& lied about it) I heard him taking cheap shots at Lewis post Monaco & other races with other drivers, instead of supporting his team mate or at worst – keeping his mouth shut..I hear what a nice guy he is within the team and what an outstanding driver he is- even when he is being lapped by his team mate-yet the minute Lewis makes the slightest mistakes he is shot to pieces by everyone !! – it’s unbelievable!!- I think Jenson is a very cunning team player that knows how to pull strings and win people over & good luck to him for that!. But good luck also to Mclaren because they lost the guy that was pushing Mclaren forward when others where going backward.

        I don’t need foolish falsely informed people who can’t see past their noses & rely on some trashy sites to make an opinion on a driver. I’ve been watching F1 long enough to make my own opinions by watching the races and listening to the drivers and have worked in politically charged environments myself – i can smell rats before most people have been eaten up & spat out! Same way Ferrari pushed out Raikkonen for Santanders money and Alonso then told the whole world he was not motivated.when clearly he was more motivated than any guy on earth.

      4. David S says:

        Agree. With a button centric approach looking likely and new Pirelli’s looking very Jenson friendly I see every chance of Jenson taking his second title in 2013.

        As for Mclaren’s pit stop performance I draw your attention to the second half of the season which put every teams performance to shame and included the world’s fastest ever stop and a lightening fast stop for THREE wheels!

      5. Bart says:

        ” I started loosing faith in them in 2011 when a they started favouring a mediocre driver over their own world champion”

        Hamilton’s under-performance/personal issues affecting his driving/incidents with Massa in 2011 was why he lost. Not because the team favoured Button.

      6. Dave C says:

        Mediocre? Is this the same Jenson Button that overtook Hamilton at Brazil and through speed and good strategy pulled 47sec clear before the safety intervened? Also who scored the more points over 3 years together even though he suffered more mechanical troubles??? If Jenson is mediocre then Hamilton must be diabolical.

      7. Elie says:

        Lewis had many more car failures than Jenson ever did !!. Lewis finished this year on 190 pts (to jb 188)and had 2 mechanical failures in the 2nd half alone !- he probably would be WC if the car was reliable and no pitstop/ fuel failures.Last year despite Lewis’s worst year – he was the only one to fight with Red Bull & was taken out by Jenson in Canada. Was Jenson any hope of being even close to Red Bull last year ??Jenson himself has already warned Nico Roseberg to watch out for the Lewis speed. In a one on one fight on track on the same car- Jenson is beaten almost every time by Lewis yet people like you want to bang on about his strategies, etc..-to hell with it engineers and others can do that!-you want the fastest guy in your car and can adapt a poor handling car. Not a guy that finishes outside the 10 in a Mclaren when Saubers are finishing on the podium!. My bet is that Sergio will be quicker than Jenson by Bahrain.

  8. James says:

    I want drivers, not robots.

    This!!!

    1. Sami says:

      As far as the boss is intelligent, there is hope… And Mr.Lopez certainly is. I wonder what they think of that statement at McLaren.
      Never mind…

      1. Simon Donald says:

        I would hardly call Jenson Button and formerly Lewis Hamiltonm now Sergio Perez charisma vacuums!!

    2. Grabyrdy says:

      I wonder if Renault – oops sorry, Lotus – ever ask Kimi to tuck his shirt in ?

  9. Elie says:

    I would personally like to congratulate Gerard Lopez for the good sense to sign Kimi Raikkonen -when only a few ( this poster included) ever doubted he had the speed and desire to return so strongly.

    Sure Lotus fell off the development front post Hungary and that really hurt them. But they did incredibly well after India to fight back. When you consider they are really a mid field budget type team- to be fighting with the front guys was a great effort. Now is it really Gerard’s philosophy that ” he does not want robots”.. or Kimis own personality that inspired everyone !..- probably a bit of both and long may it continue.

    I think the new Pirellis will help lotus’s slow warm up characteristics. What I’m most excited about is that the DRS limitation will put greater emphasis on driver ability over single lap. I think this will suit Mercedes powered cars where horsepower is an advantage also. I really hope Grosjean is wiser this year as Lotus could easily achieve 3rd or Better this year.! Roll on Melbourne !

  10. Jules says:

    Grosjean is widely acknowledged to be the fastest driver in F1 today. That’s fastest over one lap in any given machinery.

    But, like many before him, he’s young and inexperienced and therefore very accident prone

    1. Blade Runner says:

      Jules, where did you get that information about Grosjean being the fastest driver in F1? This is NOT a wind up but a genuine question, is GRO really that fast? I am very surprised to hear this statement but if it is based on fact not just fantasy I will change my opinion of him.

    2. Chris says:

      I doubt that this is “widely-known” information. The only thing widely-known about Grosjean is his erratic driving in his second F1 career and his lackluster driving in his first.

      He has shown flashes of speed, but that does not make him the fastest driver on the grid “in any given machinery.” What kind of statement is that anyway? Grosjean has only ever driven for Renault in F1.

    3. audifan says:

      widely acknowledged ? you cannot be serious …widely acknowledged to be the wildest perhaps

    4. Andrew Jarman says:

      Didn’t know he was widely acknowledged to be the fastest – but it’s certainly true that he’s got to be amongst the fastest – him and Maldonado both. If they can sort out their hot headedness they’re both going to make an impact over the next two years in my opinion…I still hold that McLaren should have tried to get Pastor rather than Sergio Perez…

    5. Simmo says:

      At Mercedes. Maybe back to McLaren.

    6. Gudien says:

      Correct. We always forget F-1 is constantly moving forward. Alonso is aging, Webber and Massa are retirement bound, Vettel is constantly picked to lead Ferrari. Nothing remains the same.

    7. ciau says:

      Young and inexperienced, so so … ?!
      Frijns is young and inexperienced, but not RoGro.
      Vettel is 25, Grosjean is 27 and Hamilton 28 years old. How much time does he need ? And more important how much time is F1 willing to give if he continues the way he ended last year no matter how fast he is ?

    8. Elie says:

      I don’t buy into this. Kimi passed him several times on track this year on equal tyres . Kimi is 10 years older and was finding his feet again & matched him 10/10 in quali We haven’t even started talking about Hamiltons quali pace yet! The very best drivers don’t keep making the same mistakes – they make new ones finding the limits of themselves and the car. If he crashed 10 different ways last year people can say- oh well he’s finding the limits- but crashing in the first corner every time is not a signal of someone who learns very fast and when he wasn’t -he was going backwards and crashing in the midfield ! I’ believe Grosjean is Lotus’s weakest link and I would not have re-signed him.. There are many drivers who are ballistic over 1 lap in any other category but F1 is another ball game and 70 laps is what you need. I really hope he comes round quick but I somehow feel he needs all this season to even be consistent if ever!- hope Im wrong and he succeeds with Kimi in moving Lotus into the top 2- because that’s definitely possible.

      1. Chromatic says:

        +1

        Grosjean is a distraction, and should not be a top priority for the team in 2013. How do you teach someone not to panic when he sees more than one car near him? Maybe a top sports shrink can fix that problem, but I doubt it

      2. Sami says:

        I usually agree with you Elie, but not this time. There was a time where “spatial awareness” was called maturity, it was some decades ago…
        Romain crashes too much at the starts? So did Jody Scheckter, Gilles Villeneuve and Andrea de Cesaris to name but a few. And they grew out of it. Give the kid a break, I think keeping him was wise, if he harness his ardour we may have a terrific driver. Yes he may be 27, it doesn’t matter, this has been his first real year in Formula 1, just give him a chance.

      3. Elie says:

        Well I gotta give him a chance as Gerard Lopez is a clever man who made the best possible call with Kimi. But what annoys me most is that stupid people are already saying he’s the fastest guy and after 2012- Im cant see how anyone can say that- he may surprise someday & I Respect your view Sami-but I still have my reservations.

    9. Megan says:

      It is widely acknowledged that Grosjean is the fastest driver in F1 today? I must have missed that memo. Grosjean is fast and especially in qualifying, but he still has a lot to prove.
      People go on and on about speed but speed isn’t everything, there are lots of fast drivers in F1. The thing that sets the WDC apart is that they are able to be more consistent then the rest, being fast consistently without making errors.
      Alonso and Kimi are very good examples of drivers who entered F1 while they where very young and they were fast immediately with hardly any mistakes.

    10. Rahul says:

      ‘Grosjean is widely acknowledged to bethe fastest Driver in F1 today.’ Who on earth acknowledges this apart from you? From as early on as Bahrain, Raikonen has said that he puts emphasis on race pace rather than quali. In the race, Grosjean is nowhere bar a few times when the car is good and the tyres are working well. ‘In any given machinery’? When the car has proved to be off the pace, Grosjean hasn’t shown an inate ability to be clever behind the wheel to outdrive the car. Also, it’s not enough to just be fast, you have to have racecraft as well, as Hamilton proved in 2011. But Grosjean doesn’t have to worry about that, because he’s not widely acknowledged to be the fastest driver in F1.

    11. Bart says:

      “Grosjean is widely acknowledged to be the fastest driver in F1 today. That’s fastest over one lap in any given machinery. Far faster than the current world champion and far faster than our own poor, dear old Lewis.”

      Classic.

      1. Aplomb says:

        You really could not make that up could you ?

        2013 is just with us, but already we have a Troll of the Year candidate.

        “poor Lewis” Yes, it must be so hard, being widely recognised as the fastest, most talented driver of his generation. Poor guy indeed !

  11. jpinx says:

    Leave them alone – they know what they are doing ! ;) …sic

    1. Mike says:

      Loving It.

  12. Joseph Simmons says:

    If you look at the 2012 top 3 constructors, whose the weakest competitor, probably McLaren, with the new driver and a very consistent driver. Now can the two Lotus drivers prove to the task of outperforming the McLaren duo. Next can Lotus improve their pit stops which has been weak to underperforming to challenge the top three? Lastly, can Lotus keep pace in car development with the top three? With Burn and possibly Honeywell joining Lotus as sponsors, this could fuel development pace in 2013. In 2013, in order to reach the top 3, Lotus will need to deliver 4 wins; will Kimi and Romaine have the car and the commitment to bring home the results.

    1. Megan says:

      Kimi already outperformed the Mclaren duo last yesr.

  13. Guillermo says:

    Looking at the big picture, top 3 looks very realistic in 2013.

    I also think they are favourites to surprise everyone in 2014. They have just signed a blue-chip sponsor, they retain a world class driver and they have a solid history of producing the best car after major rule changes (see 1994 and 2006). Renault also seem to be the most committed to the new engine regulations and know how to produce winning equipment.

    With my tongue firmly in my cheek, I would say that Kimi is likely to be a three time world champion before Alonso, Hamilton or Button.

    1. Gudien says:

      I’ve always wondered how this team, whether it be named Benetton, Renault, or Lotus can year in and year out produce competitive machinery.
      Whom will be the #1 driver at Lotus in 2013; Kimi or Romain? My money is on Romain.

      1. toleman fan says:

        >I’ve always wondered how…

        They can’t.

        They don’t.

        They get knocked down (1985, 1996, 2007).

        But they get up again. ;)

    2. Elie says:

      In my eyes Kimi is already the equivalent of a triple WDC and anyone that watched 2003 & 2005 seasons would know why. I hope your right though there is no one more deserving – it’s just up to the team now.

  14. Scuderia McLaren says:

    My heart hopes this happens. That Lotus and Raikkonen have an equal or better season that 2012. I think I’d just be giddy if Raikkonen genuinely had a crack at the WDC!

    My head says they won’t. Can’t see Red Bull falling back too far, if at all. Ferrari WILL throw the kitchen sink at the car and with Massa (maybe back) they won’t be out of top 3 WCC. And McLaren, well without Lewis they are an unknown now. Zipper, whoops I mean Button will get his fair share of pts but Perez is a ? mark. He had a dreadful end part of 2012. The other aspect is Mercedes could also pull out a mega car and with Nico and Ham, it could be mega.

    Head says no. Don’t have much faith in their continuity year on year or even development over a full season. Plus Grosjean I think won’t really change much. His racer instincts seem damaged. Raikkonen can’t carry a whole team for a solid WCC place. Not at the top end of the grid.

    1. Wade Parmino says:

      RG can help out by crashing into their main rivals. ;)

      Seriously though, if RG can manage a pole position where he can get a clean start, he should be able to win. His problems are when he starts in the middle of the field.

    2. Warren Groenewald says:

      “Raikkonen can’t carry a whole team for a solid WCC place. Not at the top end of the grid.”

      You may want to watch second half of 2009 and most of 2012 again then. I’d say top 4 is pretty much top end of the grid.

      1. Scuderia McLaren says:

        Ferrari finished 4th in the 2009 World Constructors Championship. It was also one of the worst starts to a season for Ferrari. In combination with this, up until the Hungarian GP, late in the season, Massa was beating Raikkonen. This season is hardly an endorsement of Raikkonen being able to carry a team to a good WCC postion. You might be refering to the final few GP’s, where Raikkonen pulled out a few solid podiums. It is my view that had Massa not had the Brawn car spit a suspension linkage in his face at 200kmph that he’d have continued to be the better pts provider for Ferrari as he was to taht point and was in 2008. Raikkonen’s end of year performances in 2009 must be veiwed with the context of his team mates being Fisichelle and Badoer. He did out score them, I grant that point. But 2009 is hardly a ringing endorsement of Raikkonens quality to drag a team to a solid WCC position.

      2. dstaisey says:

        From Hungary that season it was driver and not the car that took the headlines. Reason was that Ferrari again focused on Raikkonen and got A equipment.
        Before Massa was favored ever since Spain 2008, for reason we all know now. But since you don’t, it fair to share with you. Santander Alonso.

      3. Breezy says:

        Those few podiums were achieved with car whose development was halted a few months prior. You also forgot to mention that kimi also won at Spa.

        As soon as Ferrari started focusing on Kimi’s car instead of trying to force he starting producing results beyond the capability of the car he was driving.

      4. Sri says:

        2009, Kimi had better performance and less points than Massa did up to Massa’s accident. He qualified better than Massa did, but only in a couple of races Massa ended up doing better. I distinctly remember in quali Massa went out in Q2 with P11 while Kimi dragged that Ferrari into top 10 for Q3. But Massa was free to choice the strategy being outside top-10 and he ended up in top-5 (or thereabout) in race where as Kimi went backwards due to lack of choice of proper strategy as he qualified into Q3 (his gasoline quantity was thereby fixed for the race stint). Sometimes one has to see the finer details than mere points to see who performed better. Kimi gave the first podium and first points to Ferrari that year and overall he could have done better than Massa had the season panned out with full participation from Massa. 2008 definitely was Massa’s for whatever reason Kimi did not perform (motivation or car liking).

      5. Scuderia McLaren says:

        dstaisey Reply:
        January 9th, 2013 at 11:55 am
        “From Hungary that season it was driver and not the car that took the headlines. Reason was that Ferrari again focused on Raikkonen and got A equipment.”

        So which was it? The driver or the car? If Ferrari focused on giving Raikkonen A equipment and Raikkonen got better results as a byproduct of the better equipment / car, does that not mean the improved equipment / car was the factor, not Kimi. Which is it? When you figure it out, let me know.

        Breezy Reply:
        January 9th, 2013 at 12:02 pm
        “As soon as Ferrari started focusing on Kimi’s car instead of trying to force he starting producing results beyond the capability of the car he was driving.”

        What? Don’t understand the comment however just to clarify how does a driver produce anything “beyond the capabilities of the car?” If a driver produces a result, by definition the car had the capability. The key is all cars have varying capabilities and great drivers however consistently around the true capacity of the car. Good drivers hit those capabilities sometimes. Poor drivers perform under the cars capacity. No one can do something with a car that the car can not do or does not have the capability. Otherwise if they do, then the car clearly CAN do said thing.

        Sri Reply:
        January 9th, 2013 at 5:19 pm
        “2009, Kimi had better performance and less points than Massa did up to Massa’s accident.”

        Um, how does a driver, in a sport where results are measured by points, “perform better” than his team mate with fewer points. It’s not like it was only 2 rounds and Massa lucked a good result. It was Hungary. Rd13 I think or thereabouts. Massa had more points. Massa performed better by the definition of the FIA, the drivers and probably all team principals. I am not speaking of rivals in different cars saying they “performed better” despite having less pts, but team mates in the same equipment. Qualifying is only about giving one a chance to get a better race result in order to score more points in order to accumulate as many as possible to place as high as possible on a points based championship. Pts is what counts to a WCC and I stick to my point, Raikkonen hardly carried Ferrari to a strong WCC position in 2009.

    3. Munish says:

      [mod]I wonder who’s the one who carry the crappy 2002 spec mclaren all the way up to championship fight with ferrari and ended up losing only two points?? Where did the mclaren finished that year?? 3rd?? in an 2002 spec car as the new car development project failed to materialize.

      Cant believe the new breed of f1 fans can be so blind. [mod]

      In 2009 kimi won a race and 4 podiums after the car halted development in germany. The simulator claimed it wasnt possible but kimi did it anyway. These statement came from the engineers andrea stella himself.

      1. Munish says:

        forgot to mention it was 2003 season when kimi drove the 2002 spec mclaren and ended up 2 points behind ferrari.

      2. Scuderia McLaren says:

        Hmmm this whole “did or didnt Raikkonen carry Ferrari to good WCC pos in 2009 single handedly” is getting a little old. perhaps the conflict lay in the definition of what it means to carry a team single handedly.

        A lot has been written about this final comment I made in my original post and for me it is time to move. The debate is getting illogical. I think you missed my point about car capability and Raikkonen not being able to outperform it by definition.

        However for the record if you read my first post I am actually a Raikkonen fan. I want him to do well. I only mentioned that I dont think Raikkonen can take the whole Lotus Team to their goal without Grosjean’s help, given the level of competition as compared to a decade ago especially. I didnt believe he could single handedly do this. He will more than do his part I am sure.

        After I made that post, Warren Groenewald mentioned that I should look at the end half of 2009 for evidence that Raikkonen can indeed carry a team single handedly. To which I think that this is not a ringing endorsement of someone carrying a team at all.

        Munish. I agree with you in respect to 2003. That was a mega year for Raikkonen and a year I would categorize that he did in fact “single handedly” carry the team. I just disagree that he did it in 2009, which was what the discussion evolved to. I think that he did not do this in 2009 for all above already posted reason that I wont repeat.

        Oh yeah, and I wish I was a new breed of F1 fan as you claim I am. I would do a few things differently this time around that is for sure.

  15. Fellowes says:

    Based on last season’s performance, I think these ambitions are fair enough. Much will depend on the performance of the top 3 of course, and whether Lotus can improve on their development and race strategy/operations to sustain a challenge.
    However, I am confused that they have set such a target but still opted to retain Grosjean as a driver. I believe more consistent and reliable drivers were available, who could have provided more regular points, and then allow Grosjean to mature his racecraft in a lower team.

  16. Amerigo says:

    3rd is realistic IF:

    1. they start the season as they did in 2012
    2. Grosjean would be more consistent scoring points
    3. Kimi keeps his head cool (exactly like did in 2012)
    4. development works better from summer on!

    but it will be tough with Mercedes and Williams probably trying harder too!

    All the best Enstone team and I hope you’ll get that 3rd spot!

  17. Bhaskarrac says:

    Are we talking about Lotus-Genii, Lotus-Renault, Renault-Lotus or Lotus Caterham? :D

    1. Mitchel says:

      Obviously it’s Fake JPS-Fake Lotus-Fake Renault we’re talking about!

      1. Wanja says:

        I thought we were talking about Toleman.

      2. toleman fan says:

        +1

      3. Martin says:

        Customer Renault, not Fake Renault – but otherwise right

    2. Simon Donald says:

      Toleman-Renault Sport F1 I though!?

  18. Blade Runner says:

    I had not known about only GRO getting the latest car updates since Valencia. What was the teams thinking behind this?

    Try the upgrades out on GRO, because if they dont work it does not matter so much?

    Try them out on GRO because he needs a better car to get near the front of the pack? or…

    RAI, did not get them because he did not put the hours on the simulator, testing them?

    Are any of the above the reason or is there something I am missing about this, strange new part bias, toward GRO?

    What was the thinking behind it? Anyone care to enlighten me and the board?

    1. Sebee says:

      I know you’ve been wanting to get an opportunity for a drive. Well, your ship has come in and your drive is here Blade Runner! Famous designer and everything.

      http://www.lacie.com/uk/products/product.htm?id=10613

      :-)

  19. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    2013 team positions:

    Logical scenario:
    1. Red Bull
    2. Ferrari?
    3. Lotus
    4. McLaren
    5. Mercedes, or Sauber

    or

    extreme scenario:

    1. Red Bull
    2. Lotus
    3. Ferrari
    4. Mercedes
    5. Sauber
    6. McLaren…

    Who knows, still a lot to play.

    1. Skett says:

      REALLY extreme scenario:

      1. Marussia
      2. Caterham
      3. Toro rosso
      Etc.

      1. Mitchel says:

        Really Really Extreme scenario:

        1. Footwork
        2. Tyrell
        3. Simtek
        4. Pacific
        5. Lola
        6. Forti
        Etc.

  20. Thompson says:

    They should be aiming for the title!

    Kimi is a solid asset – consistant & fast, a great outside bet for WDC 2013.
    Renault engines have won the last 3 WDC’s and constructures too, its all there, all they need is the luck

    Lotus really are in contention for 2013.

  21. Irish con says:

    No matter what after all the talk I still expect a Fernando V Sebastian fight for the championship next year. Button isn’t good enough to beat those 2 over a season unless the mclaren is half a second faster at every track.

    1. Chad says:

      And then he’d only just beat them.

      Haha…love the barbed put-down.

    2. Wanja says:

      Don’t underestimate the quality of drivers in formula-1. I’d say the difference in speed between the best and the worst driver today is no more than 0.5 seconds on average, regarding the drivers that have driven one full season.
      The rest is car, race tactics, luck and avoiding stupid mistakes.
      Button surely is one of the best drivers around. Given a car that suits his driving style perfectly he’s hard to beat by anyone else in the same machine; which applies to most of the guys in Formula 1.

  22. Well you wouldn’t expect them to aim for anything less really

    Very interesting that they are using F1 as a base to grow and expand the advisory part of their business (Genii capital). This sounds like a very unique idea, but I must admit that it does not sound like a long term strategy.

    Nevertheless, they are doing a good job managing Lotus at the moment and I hope they manage to continue the rise in performance this year

  23. jawsf1 says:

    what on earth are you talking about fastest over a lap? what team principle or comentator or respected f1 insider has ever said this who is NOT connected to grojean or lotus?

  24. Marybeth says:

    If they run Kimi as their first driver instead of their 2nd & with Gro running Friday r&d for Kimi instead of the other way around they will have a much better chance.

    1. Elie says:

      Kimi has 10 years experience in F1 and had already shown that he can bring a car up to speed very quickly. I’m not sure I would be taking that chance with a growing team like Lotus by putting someone with only 1 years experience.

  25. jb says:

    If Kimi’s first year comeback is this good. I see only improvement on the second year.
    The Enstone team must give him the right gear though.

    Grosjean still have a lot to learn. I’m definitely not convinced about his abilities yet.

    Anyway, Kimi is real title contender as long as the car is there for him.

    1. Elie says:

      Agree on both counts JB

  26. Alexyoong says:

    James, sorry to go off topic.

    Will you do a piece on Helmut Marko’s rather surprising recent comments on Mark Webber (as reported on Autosport, taken from the Red Bulletin)? Though perhaps frankly truthful, I find them astonishing given Webber is still a Red Bull driver, and especially given his obvious dislike for perceived favouritism to Vettel.

    Thanks,

    Alexyoong

  27. Sebee says:

    Come on Bernie! Take some of the Red Bull money and give the Austrians a GP in 2013, and give us a 20 race season.

    What’s the big deal?

  28. Raikko says:

    Every year we get the same sort of predictions which just extrapolate the performance of each team from the end of this year into the next with some guesswork regarding driver line ups. Honestly no one really knows what the order will be! But hey I’ll make a completely unfounded prediction for a consistent top 10 combination while we’re at it: Williams-Bottas.

    1. Elie says:

      Yeah I think this Bottas could be the real deal! His Friday practise times were often as good as Senna & Maldonafo in 2012. Another flying Fin – being it on !

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