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” A tragedy” – Valsecchi angry at Lotus’ decision to hire Kovalainen over him
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Posted By: James Allen  |  15 Nov 2013   |  12:52 pm GMT  |  271 comments

In all the drama of the 11th hour arrival at the Austin circuit yesterday of Heikki Kovalainen, there were strong words from Lotus’ reserve driver Davide Valsecchi, who was passed over for the promotion.

GP2 champion Valsecchi has attended every race this year in Lotus colours, waiting for the chance to drive the car, but when the opportunity presented itself, with the injury to Kimi Raikkonen, the team went for Kovalainen.

The Italian was called by team principal Eric Boullier on Wednesday and given the news. They went with Kovalainen because of his greater race experience in F1 and his recent Friday practice experience with Caterham.

Valsecchi did not hide his disappointment when speaking to Italian media yesterday,

“It’s a huge blow to me,” he said. “From the sporting point of view it’s a tragedy. It makes me angry to have lost the battle with Kovalainen who is not a great champion, not even an active driver; his last results were five years ago.

“If they had taken Hulkenberg I could have understood, even Maldonado, but this…

“I was sure that from the point of view of motivation and desire to achieve, the team would have taken me and I would have been right up there.

“Perhaps I lack experience but what chance do you have to gain any? Nevertheless, things change quickly in F1, so I won’t give up and I will be ready if they need me in Brazil.”

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271 Comments
  1. Rob A says:

    Fiesty words! But I have to say, entirely justified. Fair play to him for speaking his mind

    1. Spyros says:

      F1 is very short of drivers (and people in general) who speak their minds… I hope this guy makes it in F1 at some point.

      I really miss Villeneuve (the son) and Irvine…

      1. Pete says:

        I really miss Villeneuve (the father)

      2. Spyros says:

        I’m sure we all do. I didn’t mention him, because I was thinking of outspoken drivers, mainly, and I’m a bit too young to remember him, in his day…

      3. Elie says:

        Yes. As for being Outspoken- theirs talking out your backside outspoken and talking sense -outspoken. Jacques rarely talks sense..I think Irvine actually made sense most if the time

      4. Primum says:

        Villeneuve is possibly the most undeserving champion in F1 history driving one of a series of the best cars ever to grace F1. If Hill hadn’t been fired by Williams after ’96 for whatever daft reason he’d have won back to back championships. Villeneuve’s talent was flattered by two fabulous cars and after that he just couldn’t perform or develop the dogs he got afterwards.

        He inherited the last Williams car designed by Newey, powered by Renault and developed by Hill and obviously never learnt how to develop a car. (and suffered for Williams engine choices)

        In some respects you could argue Lewis Hamilton (having Alonso’s set ups to pinch in ’07 and a car developed with Alonso’s experience in ’08) was liable to go down a similar route, but he won in the 2009 McLaren and hasn’t failed to win at least once per season since, even after changing teams and struggling to learn the brakes on the Mercedes. Of course, he had three years with Button to learn but he suffered a dog season in ’09 and got off before their ’13 dog season.

        Villeneuve in contrast scored four podiums in 9 years after winning the WDC in ’97 scoring a total of 76 points. That’s less than he scored in either of his first two seasons. (78, 81)

        In fairness to him he did help the BAR move up to a position where it could get podiums, but he wasn’t even at Button’s level by 2003.

        Aside from spending 9 years moaning, his feelings of entitlement and then criticising other drivers, I really don’t see what him speaking his mind gave F1. The poster child of the dark side of putting a talented rookie into a top team. It took until 2011 for Hamilton to really get over this.

      5. Spyros says:

        We have very different memories…

        Villeneuve was very unlucky NOT to have beaten Hill to his ’96 WDC, which would have been unprecedented. No F1 rookie has since come so close to winning a championship as a rookie, except Hamilton.

        The main comment I remember when Villeneuve showed up (just after winning the Indycar championship, also at his rookie year, I believe) was “hey, overtaking in F1 isn’t impossible, after all”. Arguably, the ’96 Williams was as dominant an F1 car as this year’s RBR, or it would have been, in the hands of someone other than Hill.

        In ’97, Villeneuve was thrown out of the results in Suzuka, for reasons that I’ve forgotten… which cost him some points. That’s how that championship went down to the last race. In ’98, it didn’t matter what Villeneuve did, or how he developed his car: the engines were the ‘Mecachrome’ badged, year-old Renaults, which, as it turned out, were underpowered AND unreliable. Worse, that’s when we dropped the glorious 2m-wide cars, moving to the awful 1.8m-wide things we’re still lumbered with… and the only F1 designer who managed to crack that particular nut (and the equally awful but thankfully short-lived grooved tyres, also launched in ’98) was one Adrian Newey, i.e. the guy who just left Williams for McLaren…

        Them’s the breaks.

      6. I did support him as a driver at Williams but with time I have ended up thinking more or less the same than you. Especially after his poor performance at Le Mans 2008, and I gather they thought the same at Peugeot as it was his last 24 Hours with them. He literally handed victory on a silver plate to Audi during his nightly stint… A very dark moment.
        If he sometimes tells the truth, he certainly does speak too much. Especially against Seb, both in 2010 and 2012, just before the decisive race. We all miss his father greatly, he was a fantastic racing driver. Moreover, if he was around, there would be someone to tell Jacques to shut up.

      7. timothy clarke says:

        i would like to add though, that Jaques Villeneuve is one of the very few to have won an F1 Championship, a CART Championship and the Indy 500. as we all know, there are no Champions who did not have the best car or at least, the very nearly best car to win their Championships with. history tells no lies and his records speak for themselves.

      8. Boman says:

        i couldn’t agree more!

      9. Flyboy says:

        Harsh view of Jacques. In 1996 he raced the more experienced Hill wheel to wheel and only lost out at the final race. In 1997 he beat Shoe and trashed his highly regarded teammate. The massive mistake of him going to BAR effectively cut his career short and prevented our seeing him at his best.

      10. Monktonnik says:

        I agree with quite a bit of this

      11. Primum says:

        Spyros, Hill will never go down in history as the fastest driver in the world. An excellent development driver driving excellent cars, but fundamentally not on the same level as Schumacher, Prost, Mansell or Senna.

        Quite how good Villeneuve was compared to Hill is hard to say. Hill beat him by 19 points and 4 wins, which is a fair margin.

        The ’96 Williams was one of the most dominant cars ever built. 12 wins, 12 poles, 21 podiums in 16 races.

        The ’97 Williams wasn’t as dominant, but it was still the best car by far. The Ferrari wasn’t on the same level, but Schumacher dragged it there.

        He got disqualified for something to do with yellow flags or something during practise, similar to Button being penalised for red flags. Being sent to the back of the grid from pole and then disqualified was… utterly bizarre. But, then, outrageous stewards decisions were fairly common during the 90s. Schumacher’s disqualification was just, the fact he wasn’t disqualified for doing it in ’94 wasn’t.

        I’m not saying that he wasn’t talented as a racing driver (though I would probably argue he peaked a bit young at 26, his sole achievement since then is 2nd at Le Mans), just that as a Formula One driver he left a lot to be desired once the honeymoon was over.

        Going down to the last race of the season in ’96 he put it on pole and then got away poorly. Comparison with Hamilton in Brazil 2007 entirely justified. In a race Hill only needed to come 6th to win the championship on countback even if Villeneuve won (7 wins to 5 in that case), it was pretty tenuous stuff. Granted, in light of F1 in recent years (2007, 2008, 2010) where a driver has overhauled an unlikely lead it’s certainly possible.

        Flyboy, Frentzen was highly regarded? He won once in the Williams and twice later during one of Jordan’s good seasons, but he wasn’t even good second driver material.

        timothy clarke, he achieved all of that within 3 years. Mansell didn’t manage to win the Indy 500, but he did win CART the year after winning the WDC while trying to tick the boxes. Bourdais won four Champ Car titles back to back before moving to F1 and flopped. Obviously success in multiple forms of racing means something, but consistent success has always been the hallmark of the F1 greats. Flash in the pan champions tend to get forgotten with time.

        Of course, we’d have forgotten about Villeneuve too if he didn’t run his mouth quite so much. He’s not Piquet in the 80s, but he does his best.

      12. Brent says:

        What a crock. “He inherited the last Williams designed by Newey and developed by Hill and obviously never learnt how to develop a car”.

        Newey cars win races! Mecachrome engines and new teams do not! Mecachrome never won a race and that BAR didn’t until Honda bought it and spent a Billion dollars.

        Villenueve made a poor choice in starting with BAR, if he had moved to McLaren, who were courting him, it would have been a different career.

    2. Mike Martin says:

      LMAO, I like this kid allready!! Damn he just speaks his mind huh? :)

      Amazing, Davide I promise you if you ever make it in the F1 I will become your fan and root for you.

      We need guys like this in F1. You made my day.

      Cheers

      1. Max Smoot says:

        +1

    3. John McCormick says:

      Absolutely. I like Valsecchi a lot. He had lots of nice things to say about Kimi. He’s a great guy and did well in GP2.

      So harsh.

    4. Tealeaf says:

      Haha too right Kovalainen is exactly what he described, also why hasn’t Lotus explained why they have overlooked Davide? They went for Hulk, Schumi and probably others but their ‘reserve’ driver never had a look in even though he’s not the best choice anyway but thats not the point, I mean Kovalainen will end up looking like Fisichella when he drove fpr Ferrari and its probably correct drivers like Maldonado or Perez would have been a better bet.

    5. All revved-up says:

      Clap clap clap. Bravo.

      A feisty young chap who speaks his mind.

      His passion for F1 burns strong.

      1. Tyler says:

        I agree, F1 needs more drivers like him

    6. Nika Wattinen says:

      I agree.

      I like Heikki. I follow him on Twitter. I don’t think he deserved to lose his seat at Caterham in the first place and I’m sure he’ll do a good job in the Lotus… But he’s had his chance.

      With two races to go, does Heikki give Lotus a singificantly better chance of sneaking above Ferrari and Mercedes than Davide Valsecchi? I don’t think so.

      Valsecchi is quite rightly annoyed. This should have been his opportunity to show the paddock what he can do.

    7. Rod says:

      I agree. Valsecchi is most likely faster than Kovalainen.
      That they even though of Schumacher shows they’re desperate and losing focus. Keeping the job in house would have probably been a big booster to everyone and a surer way to get points.

    8. Phil Glass says:

      Valsecchi def counts himself as one from the Kimi side of the garage, and seems to be always watching eagerly to see what he can learn from KR.
      Maybe he can negotiate for himself some friday practice…….

    9. BRad says:

      Welcome to F1 Val. A major kick in the guts , but its good you spoke your mind.

  2. John O'Sullivan says:

    Why are reserve drivers employed at all. We’ve seen in the recent past that they are not used when required. Is it a regulation that a team has to name them but is not required to use them?

    1. Glennb says:

      I agree with you mostly.
      The only time I can see an ‘inexperienced’ reserve driver getting a guernsey is if Driver ‘A’ became illor unfit on the friday and was unable to continue. The teams would most likely not have enough time to chase down an experienced driver to fill in on zero notice.

  3. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    I agree with VALSECCHI. Anyway, how an “angry” driver could survive in F1?

    Some people say that PEREZ was fired by McLaren for being “arrogant”, and they hire Magnum in a season where “experience” is important.

    VALSECCHI has to see that good relationship with the teams’principal is everything – example BUTTON… if not, you have to smile just to continue- exemple HULKENBERG.

    Who should replace VALSECCHI as a reserve driver in 2014?

    1. The Hulk is sought by Force India, and beloved at Sauber, even though he is considered very demanding.
      Had a deal been struck with Telmex at McLaren, I do not think Checo’s “arrogance” would have mattered at all… Anyway, when you hire an F1 driver, taking a would be “arrogance” into account is not very sound.
      For Davide, it is impossible not to feel sympathy towards him, he ia a GP2 Champ, he has been waiting for a chance for the whole year.
      And suddenly he finds out that being the third driver counts for nothing, who wouldn’t get mad?
      (Besides his team claims to be hard up and tries to lure the Schu back for two races…)
      Davide deserves all our support and sympathy.

    1. KRB says:

      So, like 2012, we’ll have 23 drivers in the DWC standings.

      Quick! When was the last season where there were less than 23 drivers in the DWC standings?

      Goferet, don’t fail me now!!! :-)

      1. Tim says:

        I wonder what has happened to Goferet? Haven’t seen any posts from him for a while.

      2. KRB says:

        Geez people … it actually wasn’t that long ago. 2008, 22 drivers in total.

  4. Rayz says:

    Strong words from Davide but he is absolutely right. It is pointless having a reserve driver if you call someone else when you need one.
    Deserved a chance.

    1. Sebee says:

      Not under the circumstances.

      Lotus made the right call. Anyone who would do otherwise under these circumstances is incompetent to run an F1 team.

      Pipe down Valsecchi, this is no time to get you feet wet. Lotus is looking for points, maybe podiums. Not for you to go through your learning curve.

      1. Hulk says:

        I agree very much. It’s about who can make points for the Team not about careers.

      2. Rayz says:

        Kovy is not going to deliver 2 podiums, which is what they need to overhaul Ferrari and the Mercs.

        So why not give the young lad a chance. Once Kimi left for surgery it didn’t matter who they brought in. Kovy will get up to speed quickly cos he is only a year out of the sport and has had a lot of team changes before so will be more adaptable but he won’t be on the pace of Grosjean or Raikkonen and that is what they need to get 2nd or 3rd in the championship.

      3. Rudy says:

        It is a scandal man! I really hope Lotus ends 4th and take a lesson. You DON´T do that to your drivers. Would you be pleased if your girlfriend or whatever ask 3 others to hang out before telling you, the supposed logical option? You´d be PISSED and dismiss her ASAP!
        Common sense.

      4. Sebee says:

        Did you see where Heikki is so far in P2?

        Let’s evaluate the decision after the weekend.
        Pre weekend and post Friday it’s looking good for the Heikki call.

      5. Javier Marcelo says:

        p8 in qualy, not much. Will see tomorrow but I don’t spect much more.

        Its extrange no one say a word about how arrogat was his comment about Koval. He can be ungry to the team but… Some respect!!!

      6. Tickety-boo says:

        Cruel but very true. This is about the team, and whilst HK is no shining talent he is not a petulant immature boy-racer either. HK is probably the best of the rest given who had already turned it down. Can you imagine Valsecchi and the likes of Maldonado on track at the same time – carnage, the boy needs to engage the gear in his brain before releasing the brake on his mouth.

      7. MJT says:

        I agree completely. Points are way too important to Lotus. It took 1,5 seasons for Grosjean to achieve the level where he is now, getting serious points. Inexperienced racing driver is much, much less than ” a guy who is not a great champion”. Mark my word, Heikki bring points, he may even beat Grosjean.

      8. NickH says:

        As soon as Kimi left they lost 2nd in the championship. It doesn’t matter who they bring in

      9. NickH says:

        As in they can’t get 2nd, they will stay 4th.

      10. Tim says:

        I agree 2nd is (and was a long shot) but 3rd is within reach. That is, I suspect, why Ferrari arranged/encouraged Kimi to have his back operation straight away – hoping they would handicap Lotus. So far, and it’s only FP on Friday, it looks like their plan may backfire.

      11. Kay says:

        Your beloved Vettel came about by driving as a third driver for BMW. So why can’t Val be another Vettel? Don’t sign them off until they are tried and tested.

        Heikki is a proven mediocre material. He couldn’t do anything with the champ winning 2008 McLaren, can’t see him fare any better in a Lotus.

  5. RobertS says:

    I agree with Valsecchi he should be angry. He’s the reserve and simulator driver for a reason. He deserved to have his chance. I fully understand the teams decision but I think it was wrong.

    1. J.Danek says:

      Well with like 6min to go in Q1, Kova is around 6th fastest…SKY just cut to Valsecchi who was looking very sour, but I doubt he could do better thus far…

      1. RobertS says:

        I agree completely Valsecchi wouldn’t be able to get close to what Kovalainen could do. I think Kova doing a great job, very impressive. But on principle they still should of hired Valsecchi

  6. Lars says:

    Had it been the first two races I’m sure Valsecchi would have been there, but with a great sum of money at stake I fully understand Lotus move. A safer bet I’d say.

  7. mrVettel says:

    Cry, Valsecchi, cry.

    1. Sebee says:

      Hey Mr.

      Nice comments if you’re going to use that name. We don’t want to start the booing again. :-)

      1. Tyemz says:

        If I didn’t already know how to look for the funnier comments here, I ‘d have known with this one.
        Step 1: scan the comments section for the username “Sebee”
        Step 2: Watch out for a smiley at the end of the comments
        Step 3: Start chuckling even before you ‘ve read the comments
        Step 4: wait for a few hours and repeat step 3

  8. jee1 says:

    I agree he is disappointed,but there was no need for strong words against Kovalainen..Valsechi has never raced yet ,and Kovalainen is a GP winner,and a racer who has finished many races…

    1. jeroen says:

      Well he has won 1 race and driven cars that won the championship. He also has not driven for a while so I think Valsechi is right and I bet Kovalainen will struggle to score any points, let alone get close to Grosjean. It is a shame how the Enstone team is actually doing great on track but starting to look like an organisation is disarray.

      1. Ya gotta have some class in this game. Let’s hope that some day with some team that DV gets a chance to let his driving do the talking and that he learns NOT to dis others without substance behind your comments. HK let his driving do the talking and is 5th on the time charts following P-2 at COTA in Austin: Vettle; Webber; Rosberg; Hamilton and then Kovalinen — Grosjean is 2 places further back.

      2. ilol'd says:

        it seems nobody understood Davide is the GP2 Champ, as in the past Maldonado and Hulk, while Kova didn’t win it. Gp2 is going to dead rapidly if the champ can’t regularly find place in f.1 the very next season, you don’t spend 1.5M to get nothing, clear enough? Leimer won’t be part of the game too, so gp2 is doomed. Shame.

        BTW, as you seen, to get nothing i’d prefer to give credit to my tester, instead they decided to go with Kova, and he was yet outside top 10 before having his f\wing changed. Double shame for Enstonef.1.

    2. Tealeaf says:

      Maldonado is a race winner with an inferior car to Kovalainen, do you rate him?

    3. ilol'd says:

      if you noticed he listed 2 drivers that won gp2, as him, and one not, Kova

    4. Supersi says:

      Absolutely spot on.
      Valsecci makes out that he’s some kind of race winner when he’s not even raced yet.
      Didnt Heiki win Loeb in his own rally car at the race of champions a few years back.
      I think a lot of people forget Heiki has won in F1.

      1. Kay says:

        Fluked a win in F1, that’s about it. Even Jens and Coulthard did better than that.

  9. Olli says:

    You gotta feel bad for Valsecchi. He doesn’t get any chances to show what he can do despite being a reserve. Apparently he also gets excruciating headaches in a matter of minutes in the simulator, or so I’ve heard.

    Irony of fate or some such.

    1. J.Danek says:

      I don’t feel bad for him now! [mod]

      1. James Allen says:

        Be careful, your posts are bordering on the unacceptable.

        If they continue in this vane they will be moderated out – Mod

      2. SPYKE (canuck) says:

        One of the best aspects of this website is the absence of trolls and haters

      3. gpfan says:

        Wouldn’t it be “vein”?

      4. Wade Parmino says:

        What did he say? What did he say?

        It’s so frustrating not knowing what scandalous words lie beneath the mod brackets. ;)

      5. J.Danek says:

        Dear Moderator &/or James Allen: I’m very sorry for whatever I said that was deemed inappropriate. I made a series of rapid-fire replies to several comments on this thread and others, and genuinely am not sure what the specific problem was in this instance. I endeavour never to use profanity and don’t troll for the sake of trolling, and I’d appreciate any specific feedback you’d consider sending via email (your have the address w/ this comment, no?) because of course I don’t wish to be prevented from expressing my views, even if they are at times quite passionately-stated.

        Last week, after I made a long comment about the financial machinations going on in F1 w/ CVC and the need for spending caps, you (James Allen or moderator??) said that I wasn’t the “typical punter” or something to that effect, and I was flattered…so I hope that praise has not now been rescinded!

      6. James Allen says:

        Just keep the standard of comment up, constructive debate, no ad hominem attacks etc and no swearing. Simples

  10. John Zammit says:

    This will not have endeared him to the Lotus team management.

  11. dansus says:

    Love this guy, should be in F1 on personality alone.

    1. Sut says:

      Indeed. It’s not like Kovy is any good.

      1. Heikki says:

        I think Kovalainen is a very good choice. Lotus is still fighting for 3rd place, so they need points, not a rookie to learn F1.

  12. Ace says:

    Is it just me? Or do Lotus not know how to treat it’s drivers properly. Heidfeld, Petrov, Raikkonen, and now Valsecchi…the only reason Grosjean isn’t on this list is because Boullier is his manager and boss at the same time.

    1. C Lin says:

      Its not just you. I think the same too about how those drivers were treated.Disappointed with Lotus.

      Grosjean has Boullier & also TOTAL.

    2. Spyros says:

      The last time a team boss also managed his driver, was also in the Enstone factory, and involved an Italian manager and a Brazilian driver…

      To say that this relationship didn’t end well, would be a bit of an understatement!

      1. Sebee says:

        What happened? Something unethical? ;-)

      1. Lopes says:

        I wouldn’t add Kubica to that list, I think they actually treated him well.

        But you made me remember that when Kubica had his accident Lotus went with Heidfeld, despite having half a dozen reserve drivers…

      2. Ace says:

        Good God how could I forget him.

      3. Sebee says:

        Exactly, I think they treated him well. Even gave him the freedom to race elsewhere, which in hindsight…

      4. J.Danek says:

        Kubica? He’s Polish!!

        Nelson Piquet, Jr. & Briatore Flavio…

    3. NickH says:

      Well in terms of Raikkonen yes. He’s won 2 races for them (Alonso needed piquet jr to crash at the perfect moment to win), endless podiums. I hope Kimi told Alan Permaine to *** off when he left in Abu Dhabi. He’s put Lotus back on the map, got them to the positions where they are in the championships the last 2 seasons and scored more than double the points than chicken goujon. And yet they tell him to F%^#!$* move over when they screwed his strategy again. I’m so glad he is leaving this joke team

    4. Valois says:

      Bruno Senna maybe?

  13. Sudha S says:

    Good on you Davide Valsecchi for being truthful and for saying what you think. We are sick of all the PR blah, blahs from teams and drivers. McL cuts Perez loose this late in the season and the usual “Oh we wish him well” etc. Things they do not mean at all.
    Good Luck to this young driver in the shark pool that is F1

    1. J.Danek says:

      YES! IT was infuriating to read the mutually-masturbatory send-offs and goodbyes b/w McLaren and Perez. SO FAKE!

  14. Polestar says:

    So, Lotus changed from a likeable runner-up to a backstabbing and unreliable team. Shame.

  15. ManOnWheels says:

    The term “reserve driver” is generally overvalued – you better have a waterproof contract that also means what it says you are.

  16. Sri says:

    He should go to a lower grid team where he can become a regular driver. No point in continuing another year of “reserve” driver and that too if the team do no even use you for that role.

  17. sridhar rao says:

    James, In the wake of this, should it be made mandatory for teams to promote their third driver in case the main drivers are not available….otherwise the poor fellow will continue to be taken for granted

    1. James Allen says:

      You cannot make people do things. There can be all sorts of reasons why decisions get made and you have to let the team makes its decisions

      1. eric says:

        What do you mean? I believe they ‘make’ people do things all the times….. They call them rules.

      2. iceman says:

        If you made it a rule, but the team decided they wanted to put someone else in, you’d suddenly find the reserve driver being indisposed with an acute case of mystery injury syndrome as well.

      3. Random 79 says:

        Yes, but then they let them get away with anything…They call them loopholes.

      4. Ace says:

        Breakaway series because of $40m budget cap? remember that saga of “making people do things”?

        Lotus has their reasons (I consider them wrong)….needing the points etc etc

      5. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        Maybe it’s needed some more testing.

    2. NickH says:

      Literally no point in a 3rd driver these days in the F1circus. What is actually the reason of having one? All they do is take up 10-20 seconds of airtime on tv during quali or the race when the tv director thinks we want to look at reserve drivers…

  18. Steve Boden says:

    Got to say i’m gutted for Valsecchi. He’s a good driver and deserved the chance. I think he would have done better than Kovalainen will.

    What is the point in teams having reserve drivers if they don’t use them? In my opinion, It should be mandatory that your reserve driver is the one to step in when needed.

  19. Random 79 says:

    And that ladies and gentleman is how you shoot yourself in the foot.

    For his outburst about his team choosing a more experienced driver for two races to help them with their championship hopes Valsecchi might have just lost his chance of a proper drive.

    Don’t get me wrong; he has every right to be angry, but I think in the long run he would have been better off with just a nod and a smile.

    1. Dai Dactic says:

      Considering Lotus’ moves over the last few months the company itself is ‘missing both feet’ and Valsecchi simply recognises this.

      The real issue is the lack of F1 testing – absolutely farcical and a hindrance to the development of the ‘sport’.

      There is no such thing as a ‘long run’ in this fatuous game.

      1. Random 79 says:

        Yep, the long run in this context would have been in about two months time: An eternity in F1 ;)

        Luckily there will be a return of testing in 2014 (even if it will be limited compared to the good old days) so hopefully in similar circumstances a driver like Davide should have a better chance next time.

    2. Mike Martin says:

      Hehe, not so fast there buddy. I own a company myself and I would insta hire this guy. He shows me backbone, courage and bravery while his career is in a still very fragile state/position. Not many people would dare to speak up at this time.
      I can assure you there are other team bosses who see this like I do.

      [mod]

      1. Random 79 says:

        Well, if nothing else it’s good to know that if this Lotus thing doesn’t work out then Davide still has options :)

      2. Tim says:

        It’s funny, you see bravery, courage and back bone. I see lack of judgement, fool hardiness and a poor appreciation of his, somewhat, perilous position ;-)

    3. eric says:

      Which is of course what perpetuates this nonsense/crap. People don’t speak. If EVERYONE spoke then it would be norm. Lets be real, Lotus is not far from done given their financial situation.

      1. Random 79 says:

        True.
        Mostly true.
        True.
        Probably true.

        I do like drivers who call it how they see it and I do like the fact that Davide spoke up for himself. I just think that in particular instance he might have been better of biting his tongue and biding his time, but I may well be wrong.

      2. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        Maybe it’s all about VALSECCHI do not have a sponsor…

        So it’s about pay drivers. Sad.

  20. Ross says:

    I can understand this situation from both sides. If Lotus were not so desperate for money I am sure they would have gone with Valsecchi.

    What this further highlights is what a sham of a series GP2 has become. The reigning champion did not get a sniff of a race seat for 2013 and is snubbed by his own team to act as a replacement for the last two races of the season. Fabio Leimer is not even being discussed as a candidate for even the bottom of the F1 ladder and with the exception of perhaps Nasr and maybe Calado I do not expect any of the current crop to make it to F1.

    F1 fans can complain about pay drivers in F1 but take a look at the GP2 roster this season and tell me if you were a team owner would you take any of those drivers unless they came with a giant sponsorship deal.

    F3.5 is the only place to find the stars of the future, those in GP2 are merely the dregs of drivers deemed not good enough to make it without a major budget. Nico Hulkenburg maybe the last truly great GP2 graduate.

    1. Sean says:

      I could not agree more. The GP2 business model is in worse shape than F1.

    2. Valois says:

      I’d take Nasr. He shows himself incredibly mature and focused in intrrviews for such a young driver, let alone his good results in categories before GP2.

  21. Omniprescient says:

    I can understand DV, and I feel sorry from him. On the other hand, Lotus played safe, and if to believe Joe Saward, some other considerations were involved when deciding. No need to be angry, disappointed – yes. Do not burn bridges, take it on your chin and move on, son.

  22. Random 79 says:

    “I will be ready if they need me in Brazil”

    I like his optimism, but Heikki would have to do a Badoer for that to happen.

    1. Sebee says:

      Substitute the #7 Lotus car for a girl, and this little Davide Heikki spat has a whole new dimention, doesn’t it?

      Valsecchi needs to be a man and not be so emotionally delicate. This is the F1 Paddock. If he is looking for hugs, he should try passing by the turn 1 grandstand. Casting director made a call, suck it up Davide.

      1. J.Danek says:

        Well said, Sebee!

        Do you remember when F1 stars like Senna who were real men brought hot girlfriends (or mistresses) to the paddock and actually paraded the eye candy around a bit?? Now most of the drivers seem like adolescents still…boys really, not men…and they bring their physio (or their father!!) to the tracks. And even those who still bring a girl like Button don’t bring really sexy ones. Shame, really.

      2. Random 79 says:

        I think you might have gone off on a slight tangent there…not that we mind ;)

      3. Tim says:

        And even those who still bring a girl like Button don’t bring really sexy ones. Shame, really….

        That’s a bit harsh – Alonso’s girlfriend makes your teeth rattle ;-)

      4. Sebee says:

        Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s woman! ;-)

  23. Dan says:

    Agree with Valsecchi.

    Lotus’ decision makes a mockery of Reserve/development drivers.

    Heikki may have race experience, but his results? Well… yeah.

    Surely Valsecchi couldn’t be worse than Heikki despite his lack of experience.

    Hugely dissapointed in Lotus.

    1. Sebee says:

      No, FIA made a mockery of driver development with testing limitatinos.

      Make 1 Friday session mandatory for reserve drivers and more drivers would be “ready”.

      1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        Make an Union of reserve drivers…

  24. Supersi says:

    The problem with F1 is that there are too many spoilt children coming in at an early age who have heads greater in size than there driving ability.
    Valseci is in no position to bad mouth Heiki with this verbal excrament.
    These kids should show some respect to the other drivers, especially more experienced ones.
    Where is this kid getting his sources anyway?
    -Uh Kovelainen is a good driver
    -He’s a winner
    -He was in F1 more recently than 5 years ago
    -he has more F1 experience than you

    When were you last in F1 Valsecci?
    Are you an F1 winner?, hhmmmmm, ohhhh wait…your not an F1 driver yet and winning gp2 is like comparing an A* in a 7 year olds maths exam to an A* in a Phd level exam.

    1. Stabo says:

      Valsecci drive gp2 series 5 years before win title.He is not kid. He is gp2 veteran.

      1. MJT says:

        YES, and I bet he was real good in carts too?

      2. Tim Scarratt says:

        “GP2 Veteran” isn’t exactly a shining accolade right now – the series seems to be suffering from the same issues as it’s predecessor International F3000 did where the series is touted as the official F1 Feeder category but in practise its winners are overlooked in favour of drivers from elsewhere.

  25. Sebee says:

    Tragedy? Headline scared me. I thought there was an accident at the track.

    Turns out someone just took someone’s toy away.

    1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      ;)
      Turns out it was never his toy in the first place.

      He was promised he’d be next to get a shot but now it’s bath and bedtime and the toys are just for the older kids.

      Unlucky, keep trying and look for toys that aren’t just black and gold.

    2. captainj84 says:

      I thought it was a quote from Kimi when he couldn’t bend down to pick up his beer :)
      In all seriousness though, it is very strong words by a youngster aimed at the team and also a personal dig at KOV which I think is way below the belt. Fair enough KOV isn’t a world champ, but he is a solid race driver who has a wealth of experience and very good race craft. Yeah Valsecchi is a GP2 champ, but it’s apples and oranges! I’m looking forward to seeing KOV back in a car, lets hope he can keep GRO honest.

      1. Sebee says:

        Lotus went through quite a trip with Grosjean learning how to handle the starts. They can’t afford DNFs before lap 1 with Davide.

        I hope Heikki keeps it clean. Clearly he’s the new Heidfeld of the grid, the “Super Sub” able to save those in need. I just hope he can overcome the excitement of being back in, keep cool, bring it home in Austin.

  26. Michael S says:

    He should not have picked on Heikki. He should have kept his anger aimed at Lotus. Heikki is a very solid racer and has wins to his credit which is more than he and Ro Gro can say.

    1. SteveS says:

      “Wins”? HK has one F1 win to his credit. He’s a distinctly average driver … and that may be giving him too much credit.

      1. MJT says:

        You don’t know much about F1, if you say HK is average. Would you say Button is average (he’s 9th for now)? Truth is that a car means a lot in this serie. Even a great driver can’t get results in a lousy car but a lousy driver gets now and then good results in a great car.

    2. Tealeaf says:

      Kovalainen is more than average, his race pace is actually shocking.

      1. Tim says:

        isn’t that statement contradictory ?

  27. Ricardo says:

    This story reminds me of António Felix da Costa, who is Red Bull World Formula Renault 3.5 great driver and everyone expected him to go to Formula 1 in 2014, but instead was replaced with no one knows who Daniil Kvyat ($$$)… Guess Formula 1 has this plot twists over and over…

    1. Kirk says:

      I haven’t seen any probe that Kvyat is a pay driver (being a Russian doesn’t make you a pay driver) he has some credentials that could be compared to da Costa. And Toro Rosso, I think they don’t need external money in that way, they have Red Bull. On the other side, if Vergne doesn’t improve, be sure one of the other guys will be on his seat (da Costa or Carlos Sainz Jr.)

    2. Kimi4WDC says:

      Well tell Felix to perform better next time. Simple as that, Kvyat outperformed both Felix and Carlos, hence his seat at TR.

  28. Philip J Fry says:

    I know that feeling all too well. If you don’t have the experience you can’t get the job and you can’t get the experience if you don’t have the job. I really feel for the guy.

    This makes a mockery of the young driver tests and reserve driver role. F1 should instigate a mandatory mileage for official reserve drivers in both team cars per year to avoid the safety and experience worries of inexperienced deserve drivers and put a stop to this nonsense.

  29. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

    Understandable and pity for Davide and also Heikki’s situation.

    I think F1 should go far a rule change here. Friday Practice 1 should be used for reserve drivers, young drivers, and out of team driver testing only.

    They’d be out on track straight away, no hanging around for half an hour wanting some action on a green track.

    They can rubber in the track and gain experience. Better evaluation of future talent, experience for the young guys, especially those who win titles then cannot race the following year in GP2. Split FP1 into two parts, firstly a long run with everyone starting on the same fuel level, then a low fuel qually type session.

    Make FP1 a lot more action packed, plus with only FP2 to setup for qually and the race it’d keep the main men on their toes and get them out on track for the whole session – if the juniors haven’t put their car into a wall!

    In the meantime, Davide should pick up a Euro Millions lottery ticket – £80m winning may be enough to put Maldonado out of the race seat next year ;)

    1. Mike Martin says:

      +1

      Some good and innovative points you got there.
      The hide and seek game with fuel loads/levels is a pain for a long time. We the fans should be able to see/know all whats going on especially if you paid 600 for a ticket.

      I also think there should be a extra chassis for the rookie.This will generate extra costs which are not appreciated but nobody likes a rookie in their Sunday race car.

  30. gazz says:

    Shameful…… with 2 races left and no further development on the current car the team should have rewarded DV with a drive. No respect for them now.

  31. Juzh says:

    He’s right. It’s stupid to have your reserve driver flying around the world only to have him dumped in the end.

  32. glen says:

    Whatever the rights and wrongs are of the current Lotus situation, they do seem to operate like a more natural Formula One team. They remind me of the 1980′s and 1990′s Formula One.

  33. Grant H says:

    Sour grapes wont get you anywhere buddy!

  34. Richard from Perth says:

    The guy must be gutted. Are his comments all that helpful for him?

  35. KRB says:

    Yep, the total Catch-22 of how do you get experience if no one will give you a chance?

    Feel sorry for Davide … I’m sure he would’ve done just as well as Heikki.

    JA, I’ve appreciated when Davide’s been in the booth with you for some FP2 sessions. He’s pretty good at it (yeah, I know, not what he would want to hear right now, but still).

    1. James Allen says:

      He’s been very good, you’re right!

      1. Darrin from Canada says:

        I really enjoyed the back and forth from the two of you. Nice to hear an unvarnished conversation between 2 people interested in helping us fans get a peek past the – um – authorized version… The young American yesterday was also very good (once the control room compensated for his very bass voice, and we could hear him). I find your FP2 broadcast every bit as interesting as many of the race telecasts, keep up the excellent work James. So far Nelson Mandela is the only honorary Canadian citizen, but only because I don’t have a vote. :)

      2. James Allen says:

        Cheers! Thanks for that.
        The young American in FP2 yesterday was Alexander Rossi, Caterham reserve driver

      3. KRB says:

        Sorry, on a tangent, but here’s been a few more in Canada … The Aga Khan, Aung Suu Kyi, the Dalai Lama, and Raoul Wallenberg. Three were bestowed since 2006.

      4. Darrin from Canada says:

        Well then there is no excuse!

  36. zedthegreat says:

    Brilliant. Speak your mind and not sanitised corporate words. And I agree totally.

  37. Joost says:

    Never think it is wise to express like this…

  38. Chris Ralph says:

    Aah Davide, perhaps better to keep schtum and see what next year brings – if you’re a sensible young chappie. Lotus may well be thinking – stick Heikki in for the minute to shore up Manufacturer’s Champ chances, then re-assess. Do not bite the hand that feeds… Even if you’ve only been fed scraps so far.

  39. JD says:

    He has a point!

  40. James says:

    Lotus have single handedly killed the relevance of GP2.

    The very experienced reigning GP2 champion is apparently not ready to drive in F1, yet several lesser drivers (with bigger wallets) have graduated up this year.

    1. Dino says:

      This! You are completely right. It was a big mistake to reduce F1 testing. GP2 and WSR is not enough to prepare drivers for F1 racing, you need to test them properly on a current F1 car to gain experience. Anyway teams will expend the money on simulators and wind tunnels…

    2. Simmo says:

      So it’s also Lotus’s fault when other teams have gone for bigger wallets??

      Lotus have gone for the best decision in their interest here. Your comment couldn’t be more unfair / wrong to Lotus.

    3. Abe says:

      @James:”Lotus have single handedly killed the relevance of GP2.”

      I dont think so. Lotus currently has the 2011 GP2 champion driving one of its car and is in negotiations with the 2009 and 2010 GP2 champions for its second seat. And its current reserve, and rightly miffed, is the 2012 GP2 champion.
      It may be a coincidence but I think they are the only team that are keeping the GP2 relevance alive!!

  41. Andreas says:

    I’d be upset too, if I were him. Lotus might be entirely right in their assessment that they needed someone with more experience, and I’m happy for Heikki. But as Davide says, if you are the reserve driver, your job is to be around for exactly this type of situation. And when there’s very limited testing, how else are you going to gain any experience, if not by being thrown in at the deep end?

    I suspect Heikki will give a solid performance, possibly a bit over what Valsecchi would have done. I doubt it’ll be enough for Lotus to fight for 2nd in the WCC, though. But if the Caterham 2014 ride doesn’t materialise for Heikki, there just might be an open spot as reserve driver at Lotus next year…

  42. Ed says:

    I think if this had happened at start of the season rather than at the end he may have got his chance. It appears Lotus need every penny they can get at the moment and that means prize money is a priority. I feel for him tho – not much point in having a reserve driver in whom you don’t trust when it really counts.

  43. shame on you says:

    It’s not only experience, it’s about what Kovalainen has reached so far. Also Valsecchi should see this as an favor for him. When he get his opportunity, there will be more time that 2 races. Heikki will probably beat him hands down then also (in the same car atleast, maybe even in Caterham)…

  44. kimi says:

    i know he’s frustrated but he who never races in f1 shouldn’t talk bad about more experience driver than him.

    1. Abe says:

      In that case @kimi, lot of fans talk about other drivers in F1 and none of them have raced in f1!

  45. Random 79 says:

    Tragedy: A dramatic composition, often in verse, dealing with a serious or somber theme, typically that of a great person destined through a flaw of character or conflict with some overpowering force, as fate or society, to downfall or destruction.

    Yes, it’s a tragedy ;)

  46. Andrew Carter says:

    He can be as angry as he likes, the facts remain the same that he is an unproven rookie with a largely average junior career behind him (that GP2 title came in his 5th(!) year and with a rather average field) and would not have helped the team secure decent points and second in the title chase. Kovalainen most certainly will be scoring good points for Lotus and has had more seat time this year than Valsecci so wont need to dal himself back into the game as much.

    And am I the only one that finds Davide’s disrespectful attitude towards Kovalainen, a driver thats achieved far more than he is ever likely to, to be absolutely terrible.

    1. FW14B says:

      No, and as a result of such comment his F1 career could well be over before its begun.

      Lets hope Heikki can let his driving do the talking.

    2. Athlander says:

      I think his comments towards Kovalainen were terrible too. He should be channeling his anger and disappointment at Lotus for not having faith in him and Formula 1′s limited testing depriving reserve/test drivers from getting mileage.

    3. tarun says:

      really!! I thought he was as quick as grosjean at the young drivers test. the guy is quick and its really hard on him. just imagine being in his position waiting for so long and then finally getting a chance which has been taken by an ” experienced driver” I totally agree with Valsechi, Kovi’s performances were with mclaren 5 years ago. lotus have nothing to lose they are sitting in 4th position, they should have taken a risk on DV.

      1. Andrew Carter says:

        Really? There were many of us that thought he was amongst the best drivers on the grid in 2011, despite lugging around a Lotus/Caterham and was pretty good last year as well.

        Lotus have plenty to lose, they’re fighting for 2nd in the Constructors Championship which is worth quite a bit of money to them.

    4. All revved-up says:

      He was very disrespectful to Heikki.

      Happy that he speaks his mind – but not the disrespectful bit.

  47. Erik T says:

    Bringing back in season testing would be a start.

    1. Frank Dernie says:

      It is a big problem for engineers, tyre manufacturers and drivers that in season testing is banned.
      OTOH it was the rule change that saved the most money, and with several teams really struggling financially it is impractical to bring backand is unlikely to happen.

  48. mjsib says:

    Think he should be directing his anger at Lotus who have been happy to take Davide’s sponshorship money. More money that doesn’t get paid to the drivers. If I was Hulkenberg I’d seriously avoid this farce of a team

  49. Matt Shea says:

    “From the sporting point of view it’s a tragedy. It makes me angry to have lost the battle with Kovalainen who is not a great champion, not even an active driver; his last results were five years ago.

    “If they had taken Hulkenberg I could have understood, even Maldonado, but this…”

    Understand his frustration but that’s ugly stuff, right there.

  50. Allie says:

    Probably not the best idea to be so critical – but there is no point in reserve drivers if you’re not going to use them in this exact situation. how does he get experience if someone doesn’t give him the chance.

    If I was him, I’d be looking for employment elsewhere.

    1. Random 79 says:

      “If I was him, I’d be looking for employment elsewhere”

      It’s all sorted: Mike Martin’s going to hire him ;)

  51. Olivier says:

    That is very harsh on Kovaleinen! Didn’t he make it into the top five of 2011 on this site?

    No, I am fully with Lotus here. Experience and Prize Money is what counts now.

    Good Luck to Kovaleinen! Let’s hope for the best: He could still end up in the top ten of the 2013 Driver’s Championship :)

    1. Random 79 says:

      “He could still end up in the top ten of the 2013 Driver’s Championship”

      Mathematically correct, but insanely optimistic :)

  52. David says:

    No, I agree. We also don’t know how Lotus view his performances when he has driven the car in testing.

    They have made a pragmatic decision in order to try to maximise championship position and revenue. No-one is bigger than the team.

  53. Lotus Racing says:

    Bu hu huu. Real cry baby champion (;

  54. DK says:

    Is reserve driver in Lotus F1 get paid?

  55. AuraF1 says:

    Poor choice of words from captain haircut there. Reserve drivers are there in case of an emergency – a driver breaks his leg or gets a bad stomach bug with no warning. When a team has several weeks to find a replacement they have a duty to call around and find the best option.

    They called Hulkenberg, hell – they even called Schumacher – and so they should. Any team in a close fight should try to field the best driver they can get. Davide is an unknown and his problems with the simulator mean its a risky prospect. Heiki may not be top 10 material but he’s a safe pair of hands who’s driven on these 2013 tyres recently.

    All he’s done now is sound bitter and hard to manage – nothing a team wants in a driver.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Captain Haircut: I like it :)

    2. Steve Rogers says:

      Finally some wise words! You’ve explained exactly how it works. After all, no team would employ a reserve driver for no reason at all. They may not have any race opportunities and therefore are unlikely to score any points for the team, so they need to be cheap. On the other hand, when a substitute is needed he should give the maximum points possible… and points are worth millions. A classic example of a good choice of reserve driver was Damon Hill, who helped Mansell score oodles of points by being a great developer.

  56. Gary says:

    And in other news, a young man did not get the promotion he was expecting, to aisle manager from cashier, at the King’s Road M&S. Boo hoo, I mean seriously.

    David Valsecchi needs to learn how to comport himself in the media else he may never get his opportunity in the car on race day.

  57. Janis1207 says:

    Well,
    That notorious Lotus-Quantum deal (which has been a week away for months now) still hasn’t materialized.
    If so, it is conceivable Lotus needs money badly indeed. And not just for the next year – it seems, they lack money to pay off even the current contracts. Lots and lots of engineers abandoning this ship proves it!
    So the extra prize money for P3 (or if they are lucky, P2) in the championship could be essential for them (and not so much for Ferrari and Mercedes).
    So it’s Kovalainen who they hope will bring home a couple of points where Valsecchi is rather likely to crash overeager to prove himself… .

  58. Robert says:

    These final races could make or break Lotus’s finances – do well and make millions, do poorly and they lose millions in WCC money. Kovi was the best pick they could make with that much on the line, his recent practice at Caterham, and his large experience base – he hasn’t just finished a race, he’s won one.

    Valsecchi is fooling himself to think that he has a better chance of bringing home points in his first F1 race than a GP winner like Kovi. He should KNOW better than to say this stuff in public. He was fine to say he was gutted, but then the next words have to be “but I understand the team’s decision given the stakes, and I will work closely with Kovi to ensure that he is as familiar with our car as he can be for these races”. If he did THAT, he would at least be a reserve driver next year, maybe even get a seat at some point. Now? Not so sure…

  59. Owen says:

    Such comments made in anger will have done him no good at all! Understandably Lotus needs someone who has the best chance of scoring points and Heikki is probably the best “reserve” around at the moment as his practice runs will have kept him just about in the groove though aclimatising to a completely different car with little notice will be a challenge – but a good choice under the circumstances!

  60. German Samurai says:

    Kovalainen proved in 08 and 09 he’s only making up the numbers in F1. Will be funny if he can match Grosjean.

    1. Valois says:

      He already did, for now (FP2). Surprised me too.

  61. Brace says:

    Davide’s words might sound harsh, but he is right to be unimpressed by being overlooked for Heikki.
    First of all, Heikki had more than enough opportunities to show what he can do, and he came off spectacularly unimpressive.
    When he had a championship winning car, he didn’t finish just behind his teammate, but finished the last of the top 3 teams’ drivers and even behind Alonso. He had just one win and two podiums from that whole season. In 2009, he didn’t even manage a single podium while his teammate won 2 races and got 3 more podiums. That year he managed to finish behind Alonso in that horrid Renault and level on points with Massa who drove only the first part of the season, when both Ferrari and McLaren were much worse than in the second part!
    Besides being a bit likable to someone, I don’t understand why would anyone say he deserves a chance. He had plenty of them and some in top line machinery.

  62. LL says:

    Come on, give the young guy a break. He’s very disappointed for a good reason, and he spoke it out. Maybe not diplomatic way to go especially mocking Heikki – who as pointed out has some proven results – but still it’s not that serious offense in the situation.

    I just hope Heikki delivers, for Lotus’ but mainly for his own sake. And I am from Finland so I am not looking at this through Italian glasses either…

    I think there’s an outspoken culture in Lotus: Alain: get the f**k out of the way, Kimi – Kimi: quit yelling a**hole or how did it go ;)

  63. peccah says:

    Valsecchi should have learned from his teammate Raikkonen that if you want to go to the top you gotta exert some sort of control of negative emotions. This ‘tragedy episode’ makes him perceived as a small whining child! Heikki truly is a very solid racer and therefore a lot more safer bet for Lotus on this occasion, when they really have a competitive car and they need still many points in order to get to the 3rd position. They surely do not to want to miss this target because of a rookie driver like Valsecchi!

  64. K says:

    He is an employee and has to respect what his employer that is paying his bills says.

    There is always the door.

    1. Random 79 says:

      That’s assuming his employer actually is paying his bills ;)

    2. Shane says:

      If my boss employed me to wait patiently, forsaking other potential opportunities I would be upset too.

  65. Steve J says:

    Naive and shortsighted by Valsecchi. His frustration is understandable, but this hot-headed reaction rather validates Lotus’ approach. Pretty poor form too to dismiss Kovaleinen in such derogatory terms.

  66. Rich C says:

    I like his attitude, even if I think he should have kept his mouth shut.

  67. TrueFinn says:

    Bye, mr Valsecchi! Look out the next time you see a finn in the same race as yourself ….. or maybe that’s not an issue, as you won’t be racing on the same level much longer.

  68. JB says:

    Strong words. If he can let his driving do the same level of talking, I will like him. Otherwise, he is just another windbag.

  69. Hugo H says:

    Stop complaining! That´s how good u are, even Kovalainen was chosen over u.

  70. Opa says:

    Ferrari is smiling…

  71. jmv says:

    Lotus team… what a MESS!!

    The only thing that is well managed is Grosjean´s career… but wait: he is managed by Eric Boullier!

  72. WhatIf says:

    What if Lotus hasn’t been happy with what Valsecchi has done for them this year? I know the testing is very limited but there’s been some and simulator work is key nowadays. If the team thinks the guy is not ready to step in, why on earth would they put him in the car?

    So, maybe he doesn’t have enough talent. Also proven if it took him several years to win GP2. None of the great drivers needed more than 1 or 2 years.

    Attacking Kovalainen shows no respect towards his fellow racers. It’s not Heikki’s fault he was called.

    If Valsecchi lacks talent and now shows he lacks style as well, he will never race in F1. Crying in public with below the belt comments has nothing to do with character.

  73. Lev Piautzer says:

    Valsecchi I know youre Italian, but you are taking this too personaly. Grow up.

    The team management must be actually pleased with your reaction, as your unmaturity is reassuring them that hiring Heikki was the right call.

    Shame.

  74. jazzy says:

    why cant people just enjoy the sport not put every one down, every body is good in there own way,

  75. Olli Bagge says:

    I can’t beleive what this kid saying. He has no experince whatsoever. Heikki, ands down, the best available driver for Lotus. I’m sure Heikki is going to well in the remaining races. This dude would be as his best selling hitdogs. Ghee.

  76. Agent Orange says:

    Judging by this outburst it would appear the team made the right call not to promote him yet with the WCC so finely balanced.

    Right now, talented or not, they need someone calm and focused to pick up the points.

    I did chuckle at this though! Let’s hope Pastor doesn’t end up at Lotus for Valsecchi’s sake eh?!

    “If they had taken Hulkenberg I could have understood, even Maldonado…”

  77. Dan says:

    This wasnt a reserve driver scenario. If Kimis back had been injured on Friday or Saturday and they needed a driver for the rest of the weekend then that IS a reserve driver situation. Here Lotus had a few days to get an experienced top driver into the car. Kovalinen is very good and a reliable point scorer.

  78. michael grig says:

    may be lotus looked for someone with experience to bring in points without fuss; davide as it looks is kind a “furious” pilot, the least lotus want now; anyway his time is not in the bag

  79. MR says:

    Lotus are a joke………… I just hope good people like Boullier get out of there otherwise they may be tainted by the same brush……….. Grosjean and Total need to re-assess their position………

  80. Frank Dernie says:

    It is tough on inexperienced drivers to get a drive in a team looking for big points. Experience makes a big difference.
    Early in their carreer even the very best drivers tend to only show promise, rather than pay back the Team’s investment with results. In fact very few teams have ever got their investment back, in that half the budget goes on each car so each race educating the driver costs the teams millions yet the driver may move teams before paying them back for taking a gamble on them.
    Fans don’t take this into account IME.

    If he gets a F1 contract he is unlikely to be able to remain outspoken. For those old enough remember the change in Keke Rosberg between Williams, who did not control what he could say, to McLaren , who did. They all do now.

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks for that, Frank

    2. Valois says:

      Great post!

    3. Elie says:

      The same reason Raikkonen is not exactly revered for his spoken words despite his driving. Nice post

    4. Steve Rogers says:

      Wow, Frank Dernie’s here! Respect, Mr D.

  81. Tyler says:

    This guy is a complete breath of fresh air, i’m tired of the stale, stiff, corporate Mclarenesque puppet’s that toe the line and do only what the suits direct….the sport needs him and 10 others like him.

  82. Monika says:

    Absolutely right decision! Heikki is a really fast driver – just look at him already in the 2nd practise! Davide, grow up and stop complaining.Go Heikki go!

  83. Shane says:

    Yet another reason to lift the testing ban. There are many options available to reign in costs and ensure young drivers get the experience they need, many great ideas posited in the comments on this site. How many Vettels and Alonso’s are slipping through the cracks? If testing is too expensive, you don’t deserve to run an F1 team.

  84. Michael Carty says:

    Hekki was the correct choice. He is a proven quantity. Valsecchi must have something personal with Hekki.

    Ooh look. Hekki is the lead Lotus !!

    Hekki has achieved more than Valsecchi. Both GP2 champions

    Valsecchi will never get am F1 drive

    1. KRB says:

      Heikki isn’t a GP2 champ; he came 2nd to Rosberg in 2005.

  85. Razza1 says:

    all you guys should look at 5th. place in practice 2.

    1. Phenom says:

      Exactly. Valsecchi has painted himself as as entitled, disrespectful brat and I truly hope Kovaleinen can continue to demonstrate this impressive early form so somebody can put a microphone in Valsecchi’s face and get his thoughts again.

  86. Rickson says:

    Yeah, sure his reaction is understandable from a personal point of view but also very unprofessional for a guy who should should do everything in his power to keep his chances of every landing a F1 race seat alive. And a sure way of not doing that is lashing out like this.

    Seriously, take a look at this guy’s racing record. Sure, he won the GP2 championship but come on, it was his fifth season. I mean, who drives five seasons in a feeder category if he’s really any good? Before his fifth season of GP2, absolutely no achievements worth mentioning.

    Now he has bought a test/reserve driver seat at Lotus and thinks he’s the new Vettel.

    His team is heading to the crucial last two races of the season in a tight battle with Mercedes and Ferrari and the last thing they would need is a rookie learning the ropes.

    On the other hand, Heikki knows the Renault engine (same as Caterham’s), knows the Enstone team (Mark Slade even was his race engineer at McLaren), has experience of this year’s tyres, is a solid and reliable driver, is a mature and calm personality, has driven F1 this year, surely has his motivation running as high as possible and probably didn’t even ask for any salary.

    So there you go.

    1. Michael Carty says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Well said

  87. MR says:

    Frank, James… in response

    There are similarities in the mega billion buck industry of aviation where young pilots fly for free just to get hours and experience and are essentially taken advantage of during that period…..so F1 and its mini circus is not alone. It does’nt make it right though does it……..

  88. F1 Bobby says:

    Understand why he’s upset but Kovy is the right choice with places at stake in the Constructor’s championship.

  89. Ron W says:

    Very interesting comments on this development!

    Part of my job is hiring people to work for me. I have junior engineers that are trying to make the step up to senior engineers. I will have no hesitation in hiring an external person over an established internal person despite how long they have been with the company. Sometimes this ‘upsets’ the person being overlooked – I know because it has happened to me too. So you can either lash out or focus on getting better. Lashing out will only hurt your chances of a seat and people seem to forget that Lewis had all the new parts that Heikki didn’t have during his time at McLaren. He’ll deliver a solid finish I have no doubt.

    1. Dai Dactic says:

      Interesting comment!

      So you’d pay a junior engineer to sit in a corner doing nothing and then hire an external professional because the former ‘lacked experience’. . . ?!

      1. Ron W says:

        No, I pay him to do his/her job. If they feel they are above their job they can happily find employment elsewhere.
        Obviously I’d rather this didn’t happen because you lose your personal investment and detailed company knowledge they have acquired.

        If Valsecchi feels that his time in the Simulator, driver briefings, circuit walks young driver testing etc etc isn’t worth it, he knows which way the door is.

      2. Dai Dactic says:

        If ‘pay him to do his/her job’ implies constraining a skilled graduate or technician to engage in work beneath their potential then obviously the fault lies with management.

      3. Ron W says:

        @Dan: Potential being the key word you mentioned. Thus his potential is greater than his current ability. Everyone must crawl before they walk and Valsecci must remember he is a small part of a big team. Play the team game, support the team decision, work harder to prove your mettle. It is extremely difficult to do mind and that is where his management have failed him. I have no doubt there are many Engineering Managers on here like me who see exactly why Lotus did that they did and agree with it. And then there are the people who make armchair decisions who can’t see the bigger picture.

      4. Dai Dactic says:

        @RonW
        I’m glad you acknowledge that his ‘management have failed him’.

        They have simply constrained him to ‘crawling’ and not allowed him to ‘prove his mettle’ – thus making the act of ‘working harder’ a self-defeating exercise.

        The real issue is that Lotus failed their prematurely-departed 2013 lead driver as well – and no-one could accuse him of not ‘working hard enough’. I guess the latter is now happily armchair-ensconced recovering from a ‘watch-your-back’ problem.

  90. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    VALSECCHI is arrogant (PEREZ). lol

  91. veeru says:

    I think he spoke well. actually spoke his mind.

    but kovy bashing is a little extreme…

    welcome to the world of f1

  92. Bruno says:

    This made me look back at the history of GP2.

    * Valsecchi was champion after his 5th full season. Had only scored one podium in feature races in his first two seasons.
    * Kovalainen was 2nd in the championship in his first (and only) season. He scored 4 wins and 8 podiums in feature races that year.

    So Mr Valsecchi I’m afraid your GP2 title is no match to Heikki’s runner-up campaign…

  93. David says:

    Can understand his frustration – and I get where people are coming from when they welcome drivers talking openly rather than in ‘corporate speak’ – but to criticise heikki personally and publicly like that just isn’t classy.

    1. Phenom says:

      Really well put. We all appreciate drivers speaking out of the confines of the media script but to disrespect other drivers (especially those who have achieved much more than him) is pig headed and dumb.

  94. roberto marquez says:

    Am I the only one concerned that we are spendings hours discussing if that team did that is it right or not ? or that this driver is better but has trouble keeping tyres ? or he was given a drive through because his 4 tyres went out was too harsh but …. ? We should be talking about epic battles for first place , or that somebody consistently skid out of every corner to catch his rival, or that Mr x crossed the flag with a flat tyre because he refused to stop. Formula 1 is becoming more and more like a computer game, with NO RISKS, NO REAL EMOTION , NO REAL HUMAN HEROES. Like the american say IT HAS BECOME POLITICALLY CORRECT BUT ALSO INFINITELY BORING. James I use capital letters for enphasis , no disrispet meant whatsoever.

    1. Rich C says:

      As I have often said, F1 these days is *not about innovation, *not about winning.
      Its about not *losing.

  95. Jaska says:

    I hope Lotus will dump this tenderfoot for good. I mean, what he really expected? He thinks that only a great champion is justifiend supersede his greatness?
    He is nothing but tiny spoon-fed brad obviously needing some proper spanking…

  96. Kevin Green says:

    Silly boy he will end up burning his bridges with the team. Of course it was logical to put a decent (carefully thought out) driver in when 3rd or even possibly 2nd spot is still at stake we are talking absolute millions in difference to the tune you could sign the best 2 drivers on the grid easily + some!

  97. Torchwood Five says:

    Frankly, I know very little about GP2. I watch the occasional race (read: the occasional race plays when I can’t be arsed to change the channel after watching the F1 stuff on Sky), so I can recall at the beginning of the year noticing that while the GP2 champion, Valsecchi, only had a reserve driver position, several of the runner up positions below him had F1 drives.

    Perhaps that was something to do with his taking 5 years in the feeder series, and the others perhaps taking less seasons to show their mettle.

    Also, interesting that Martin Whitmarsh pulled Kevin Magnussen out of a GP2 test, saying it was inferior to Renault 3.5.

    Has GP2′s reputation declined?

  98. Denis 68 says:

    Agree with Valsecchi,(minus the Kovalainen sledge) love how he speaks his mind even though he has never even raced in F1.

    He’s just the charater that F1 needs, Kimi has taught him well this season.

    James do you know who Valsecchi’s manager is?

    1. Joe Papp says:

      “James do you know who Valsecchi’s manager is?”

      Valsecchi himself said during SKYF1 interview that his managers = “lotus team bosses” or something to that effect…so Eric B & Co.? or the Genii guys?

  99. Richard D says:

    It seems pointless having a reserve driver all season and not use him when needed!

  100. Mr_Peabody says:

    Valsecchi just documented the depths of his organizational immaturity. And likely secured his exit from F1.

    Heikki is a pretty solid choice for Lotus. I would like to see him make the best of it.

  101. Elie says:

    Totally understandable reaction from Davide. But unfortunately this business is about as much about risk management as it is about personalities.
    Any right minded team principal would have made this call. Heikki is not the fastest driver in F1 but he has great experience and has driven a current car. We all saw last year at Monza during Grosjeans suspension that a good reserve driver on the grid for the first time is a struggle to make P12. An experienced driver is at least a chance at top 10and every point right now is worth millions. It could be that Heikki fails but at least he has less risk and more chance at big points than Davide.
    It’s only human to feel cheated by this but on the flip side it would be a tremendous risk for Davide himself.. If he failed what then happens to his position at Lotus not to mention his F1 career ??. It’s tremendous pressure for a rookie to come into such a spotlight and therefore the slightest shortfall could be viewed as the biggest failure.
    Maybe Davide is trying to mirror the Iceman persona but he is not Kimi just yet. & all he’s managed to do is spurr Heikki on to a very Good Friday.

  102. Kimi4WDC says:

    Management of Lotus team is a joke. Not sure if they will even make it to the grid next year.

  103. Kay says:

    ““If they had taken Hulkenberg I could have understood, even Maldonado, but this…”

    Glad someone spoke sense. Heikki is no good driver, not even comparable to average drivers.

    1. Elie says:

      A wee but harsh and he’s already proved his mettle to some extent..

    2. John in San Diego says:

      Kovalainen may not be top tier, but he is both a GP2 and F1 winner, and he has current experience.

  104. Thompson says:

    8th for Kovi… Lol

    That’s probably the best Kimi could have done. Now if he can pick up places like Kimi, that’ll make the race worth watching.

    1. Sri says:

      Kimi with short wheel-base car would have got about 5th or better. He did that in his last race.

      1. Elie says:

        I think better as he was finally coming to grips with the tyres over one lap.he was quicker than Romain before the quali penalty in Abu Dhabi. Which means he probably was a chance at a P3..

  105. Marty says:

    Certainly Valsecchi should be disappointed by the Lotus decision and yes he will have also been expected to comment, but to have such disparaging comments toward Kovalainen was totally uncalled for.
    Could it be that his apparent sense of entitlement and seemingly impetuous attitude are the exact reasons why Lotus went to the steady hand of Kovy instead of him?

    1. Joe Papp says:

      good point(S). hadn’t considered the fireman aspect – just the incendiary nature of Valsecchi’s comments. Did he ever apologize, btw? Too bad Heikki couldn’t convert 8th to points. oh well.

      1. Joe Papp says:

        oops. that comment was meant for Chris Chong #107, but I agree w/ you too.

  106. Chris Chong says:

    It’s quite simple, really. If I was a team owner fighting for constructors’ standings with 2 races to go, would I pick the 2012 GP2 champion, or a driver who can (very) calmly ask a marshal for a fire extinguisher to douse his burning racecar (which he had also very calmly parked in a safe spot, and climbed out of, before it was engulfed in flames)?

    Nerves of steel, folks.

  107. Dave Aston says:

    Hilarious. They’ll probably revoke his superlicence for saying what he thinks.

  108. Mark K says:

    Grosjean 2nd, Kovalainen 15th.

    Smililar underwhelming performance as in his McLaren days.

    Will team principals never learn?

    They must surely give Valsecchi the nod in Brazil.

    1. J.Danek says:

      How would having Valsecchi in the car magically have kept the front wing producing the same downforce and driveability sensations as during Quali, thereby not necessitating the team pit HK to change it, and how would this have also kept the KERS from failing?

      Lotus makes it clear that your Valsecchi isn’t their man, and HK is going to Brazil and will be working w/ his engineers to analyze and understand the data from USGP:

      >>LOTF1: ‘WHAT WAS THE ISSUE?’
      >>HKOVA: “It was difficult to know exactly what was going on, as it felt like I just started losing front grip. We had issues with downforce so we changed the front wing and after that it was much better, although still not as good as it had felt previously this weekend. I’m not sure if it was the car or if the driver was just a little rusty! There was a KERS issue too about halfway through the race, though not enough to account for my lack of race pace. We’ll have a good look at the data and hopefully be on top of things far better for the race in Brazil.”

      >>source: http://www.lotusf1team.com/2013-United-States-GP-Heikki-Kovalainen-Sunday-Interview.html

      I don’t think people fail to understand Valsecchi’s frustration and disappointment, but his lack of diplomacy in publicly insulting his new Lotus teammate while questioning the capabilities of the team’s leaders (who also manage his career, literally) undermines the very potential you are so convinced he possesses. Disingenuity isn’t |that| effective and arguing that the team principals are ignorant/stupid (“Will team principals never learn?”) is a bit…well, it stinks! Do you also make the same criticisms of Caterham for employing KOVA in a specific capacity previously this season?

      I think it would be better just to say that you’re upset for Valsecchi that he’s not getting to drive, rather than speak derogatorily of a grand prix-winning driver and his new employer & team leader!

      1. ilol'd says:

        Heikki was 11th when accused misterious front wing issues, you know you can loose your job when a lot of bucks are floating and you loose it by a wrong call, especially when dueling for 2nd position in a cash stripped team. not talking about Heikki, of course.
        Heikki’s F\W wasn’t visually damaged.

  109. John in San Diego says:

    Disappointed for Valsecchi. I feel his frustration, and his comments are understandable, if undiplomatic. But the folks in the know seem to think that Kovalainen’s experience will provide a better chance of a points haul at this crucial time in the season, especially with the money at stake for the teams. Also recall that when another inexperienced driver, D’Ambrosio, subbed for the suspended Grosjean in 2012, although he brought the car home, he scored no points. As it turns out, Kovalainen did not score at Austin either.

    1. J.Danek says:

      It’s too bad that Heikki didn’t convert his excellent qualifying performance into points, but at the same time that people are arguing that Lotus erred in selecting him and that Valsecchi would surely have performed better, one could make an equally ridiculous argument that at least Kovalainen didn’t crash and destroy the car and also ruin some other drivers’ race…

      In the end, it’s pointless to argue counter-factualized F1 performance-hypotheticals when the only race result anyone can swear to are those that have already been recorded! And by that account, Kovalainen remains undisputedly the better choice of driver…

      1. ilol'd says:

        so back in 2007, in Dennis shoes, you’d have hired Dela Rosa instead o Hamilton?
        Brilliant!

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