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Maldonado to drive for Lotus in 2014 alongside Grosjean
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Maldonado
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Nov 2013   |  5:27 pm GMT  |  371 comments

As expected, Lotus have announced that Pastor Maldonado will join the Enstone-based team next season alongside Romain Grosjean, who retains his race seat for a third year.

Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg was the initial frontrunner to replace Kimi Raikkonen, who will return to Ferrari next season, at Lotus.

However, consistent delays in an investment deal with Quantum Motorsports meant Lotus required a driver with backing and Maldonado – with his $30m of sponsorship money from Venezuelan oil company PDVSA – entered the frame.

Maldonado leaves Williams after three seasons and 58 grand prix starts. The high point came in the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix when he took his maiden pole position and victory at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Maldonado, who finished 18th in this year’s drivers’ standings with one point, said: “It is a fantastic opportunity for me to join Lotus F1 Team for 2014. It’s no secret that I have wanted a change of scene to help push on with my Formula 1 career and Lotus F1 Team offered the very best opportunity for me to be competitive next season.

“The regulations and cars will change significantly so it is a very good time for a fresh start. I can’t wait to be racing in black and gold.”

Grosjean retains his seat at the team after a very strong end to the season which saw him take four podiums in the final six races to finish seventh in the drivers’ championship.

The Frenchman said: “I am very happy to have official confirmation that I will be continuing to drive for Lotus F1 Team next season. This past year has been tremendously satisfying for me.

“We have worked well together, and I know everyone at Enstone is motivated to continue the fight for every last point available. I am very excited about next year’s car and I cannot wait to get out on track for pre-season testing before heading to Australia for the first race of the season.”


Lotus team principal Eric Boullier added: “[Romain] has really made the most of his tremendous talent over the latter part of the 2013 season and will be a fantastic asset to our 2014 challenge.

“[Pastor] is a driver I have known since he drove for me at DAMS in the 2005 World Series by Renault season. It is clear that Pastor has pace and potential – demonstrated by his 2010 GP2 Series title success and then through strong races throughout his career at Williams F1 Team.

“We are convinced that we will be able to provide the correct environment to enable him to flourish regularly on track. We have been working on our new car in alignment with the new regulations for over two years and we are confident that we have a very good solution to all the challenges ahead.

“With Romain and Pastor I believe Lotus F1 Team will be able to cause quite a few surprises next year.”

The JA on F1 2013 year book is now available to pre-order. It is a large format paperback, with a Foreword by David Coulthard and featuring stunning photography from Darren Heath. It retails at £10-99.

Every copy ordered through this site will be personally signed by me. Copies will be despatched on December 7th in plenty of time for Christmas. To order yours and to be sure of getting a copy click on this link: JA on F1 2013 Book

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371 Comments
  1. sc0tty39 says:

    What a terrible decision by Lotus!

    Lets hope Grosjean destroys Maldonado next year and shows everyone just how average Maldonado is.

    Money should never be more important than talent in F1. The day Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes or Red Bull take a pay driver – F1 will officially be dead.

    1. Curro says:

      I’m not a big fan of either driver but the reality is that Maldonado is a race winner and Grosjean is not.

      1. Beg your pardon, Pastor has won a Grand Prix and Romain not yet. Period.

      2. Curro says:

        Whatever way you want to put it :)

      3. Rodrigo Martins says:

        Bottas basically destroyed Maldonado this year, Barrichello destroyed Maldonado, Just B.Senna who is a average driver that Maldonado won. Lotus just choose Maldonado because of is oil money.Period.

      4. MelB says:

        Which is exactly what Curro said :/

      5. I agree with you, Rodrigo, my point was that it is rather unfair to place Pastor higher than Romain.

      6. Noltan says:

        Not sure ‘destroy’ is the right word, but he was beaten by Barrichello and Bottas.

        Here are the qualifying numbers:
        2011: Bar 10, Mal 9
        2012: Mal 18, Sen 2
        2013: Bot 12, Mal 7

        It’s unfortunate that Senna was/is not really a good point of comparison in 2012, because he did have some bloody good quali performances in ’12 (13 times in Q3 and 5 in top 3).

        Maybe the most unfortunate thing 3 years at Williams, is that in ’12 they didn’t have more success from either driver – the car was apparently pretty quick.

      7. db4tim says:

        Sad on so many levels …the outcome of this will be the same and Lotus is the looser.

      8. Lee says:

        The Driver that won that Spanish Grand Prix in a Williams hasn’t been since before or since. This is the first time I can recall a top tier team taking a driver based upon sponsorship rather than talent. A very average driver indeed – sad milestone for the sport.

      9. Random 79 says:

        Maldonado has won a race and Grosjean hasn’t, but that doesn’t discount the possibility that he will.

        Some of the performances he put in during 2013 were worthy of race wins except for the troublesome little German in his Red Bull that – let’s face it – has been smashing everyone of late.

        Grosjean has improved massively and he will almost certainly win a race (that is of course assuming the 2014 Lotus has some pace to begin with).

      10. gpfan says:

        Well, db4Tim has pointed out that
        Lotus may be the worse for wear.
        Also, he states that they may be
        more loose than wished. Whatever
        that means.

        However, I am of the opinion that
        Maldonado’s millions may only help
        Lotus, and, therefore, Grosjean.

      11. BW says:

        However, Maldonado’s victory is his only podium, while Grosjean has them 9 already.

      12. Andy says:

        Good comment! ;-) I’m gutted Hulk hasn’t got the drive. Maldonado has shown an arrogance which does not match his ability. Grosjean has rolled with the punches made mistakes and got a lot better, which I think is testament to allow some drivers a few seasons to prove their worth.

      13. Andrew M says:

        The further we move away from it, the more convinced I am that Spain 2012 was a group hallucination.

      14. Wellbalanced says:

        That is an amusing comment

      15. deancassady says:

        something funky, anyways…

      16. leslie D'Amico says:

        isn’t Perez a pay driver?

      17. Fareed says:

        Ha Ha- great point!

      18. deancassady says:

        yes he is, but he’s pretty good.

      19. Alvaro says:

        …if that is so…why Mr Slim is paying for his seat?

    2. rey cruz says:

      MCLAREN JUST DID THAT WITH PEREZ

      1. TimW says:

        NO THEY DIDN’T

      2. Wellbalanced says:

        Ha ha ha

    3. ManOnWheels says:

      Let’s rather hope the two will have epic fights between each other on the track.

      1. Jock Ulah says:

        Exactly – looking forward to all that splintered carbon-fibre on the track.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Engineer: Watch out Romain, Pastor’s almost -

        *BANG*

        Engineer: Never mind…

      3. AlexD says:

        I have seen too many times what epic means for maldonado….

      4. Eff1osaurus says:

        for Maldonado…the word “epic” is usually followed by the word “wipeout”

        Good thing he brings the money – i bet his repair bill will take quite a bit out of that…

        All this about Maldonado being a race winner…yes, correct, he is one…but it’s only a matter of time before Grosjean is one as well. Remember, Grosjean has been teammate to Kimi…i’m sure the lad has learnt SOMETHING from the Iceman…even if it is only how to scoop the perfect ice-cream…

    4. AuraF1 says:

      Money shouldn’t be more important than talent but if Lotus had no funding they would just have built a poor car that wasn’t developed and Hulkenberg would be driving around in a car worse than his Sauber. The sad fact is all sport is reliant on money and F1 more than pretty much anyway. McLaren and Ferrari have bags of cash but they work their drivers hard with sponsor commitments. It’s all about cash in the bank at the end of the day. At least Lotus have the much improved Grosjean onboard to score points and possibly victories. And who knows perhaps Grosjeans conversion from first lap nutcase to regular challenger for podiums might even help the fast but dangerous Pastor sort his act out? At least Romain can safely start 2014 knowing he’s not going to be the crash kid in the team…

    5. James says:

      Technically by bringing Santander to Ferrari, Alonso brings the biggest ‘backing’ of any F1 driver ;)

      1. BigHaydo says:

        Well, seeing that Fernando made it to F1 without the Santander money in his back pocket would disqualify him from being a traditional ‘pay driver’. I see Fernando’s backing here being no different to Nike’s endorsement of Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods.

    6. jason eade says:

      r.i.p lotus f1 team. worst decision ever.

      1. JEZ Playense says:

        Hardly. If Lotus hadn’t recieved a big infusion of cash they may have slipped to mid field or worse gone into bankruptcy. They still might if they don’t pay Kimi soon.

        A sad decision, but a necessary one.

      2. Tim says:

        If the alternative to accepting Maldanados cash was to shut up shop and close the factory, would you still say it was the worst decision ever? I suspect the Lotus team finances meant they were between the devil and the deep blue sea with this one.

      3. Alvaro says:

        jason eade:…When Maldonado wins his second race…I Would like to know what you are going to say…and remember this like it or not…with a good car…there is a good driver(normally), but with a bad one…then you would say: “what a lousy driver”…!!!

    7. Wellbalanced says:

      Seriously underestimating Maldonado there

    8. Andrew Carter says:

      Given how much money those 4 have, it’s not going to be a problem. Everybody else, however, is stuffed.

    9. Quade says:

      How does that song go again? “All for the money…”
      Poor Hulkenburg.

      1. dren says:

        I think Hulk might be better off at FI or Sauber. Lotus has lost Allison and are hurting for money. I don’t expect Lotus to be as strong next year.

      2. Ravi says:

        +1 – Lotus will surprise on the down side, they are neither a works team nor a rich team. And now their driver lineup is at best, average, behind Ferrari,Redbull,Mercedes and arguably at par with McL. At best they may fight for top 4 and downwards

      3. For sure, moreover many other engineers have fled the outfit. To make things worse Pastor can be very fast if the car is all right, but he has proved at Williams he is no help for engineers when it comes to develop it. Can Romain play that role? We all have the idea that it was Kimi’s feedback which helped evolve the E21.
        A very, very dark looking future indeed…
        At FI, the Hulk will have the Merc engine, and it looks as it may prove decisive next year…

    10. I don’t think they had much of a choice. Someone’s got to pay the bills somehow.

      1. Kay says:

        Lotus just gotta hope the repair bills won’t be higher than what Maldo brings in…

      2. He didn’t crash too many times this year, didn’t he?

        Just Melbourne and Monaco?

    11. Tealeaf says:

      Erm I gather F1 is already ‘dead’ then! Mclaren hired Perez who is actually a pay driver. I gather Hulk is at FI and Sutil at Sauber?

      1. Cliff says:

        Not sure that Perez is a ‘Pay Driver’,the McLaren carries Mexican sponsorship on its Rear Wing, something that I don’t believe has been in place all season. Not sure that constitutes a ‘Pay Driver’, especially when you consider that he has not been retained for 2014.

      2. Perez was consistent and fast in 2012, he was very close to Alonso in Malaysia, and looked as he could have won the race. OK, he has strong financial backers, but to label him a “pay driver” is something I find rather unfair. Had the McLaren been up to what is expected of the team, he could well have won a couple of races this year.

    12. Ray Keeton says:

      Maldonado should not be in F1, never mind taking a seat at Lotus. He is a danger to the rest of the drivers.

      1. W-K says:

        Going by his past history before F1 not just to his fellow drivers. Monaco 2005 in Renault World Series broke marshals back in two places. And crashed under red flags in GP2, almost hitting 2 marshals.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kt5nt7IdyPs

      2. Richard D says:

        Quite right! Over the last couple of seasons Maldonado and Grosjean have been the maverick drivers of F1 so it will be interesting to see how they get on in a team together.

    13. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      Everything is possible, but I wonder how many times the top challengers like VETTEL, ALONSO, KIMI and HAMILTON will have to fight with MALDONADO on track, specially after the first stop.

    14. NickH says:

      Like Mclaren taking Perez?

    15. SNB says:

      Here Here , Pastor is just not good

      When will the team supremo’s wake up and grab Hulkenburg.

      stuff me he can drive

      I’ve had a gutful of no talent cashed up bozos

    16. VintageF1 says:

      I guess what i find so funny about this all is that only last year, fans have been saying “the competition has never been hotter etc etc”…”greatest grid we’ve ever had…”… Really? In my opinion, the economic downturn compromised our grid.

      James, perhaps an analysis of past and present grids is needed. Would be great to compare talent v pay driver in each major F1 era…

      1. TimW says:

        it would be interesting, I think they have always been in F1, maybe not in winning cars though.

  2. DK says:

    Let’s see what Lopez has to say about Quantum. I just wonder what is the feeling of the employees in Enstone on the bonus promised.

    1. ManOnWheels says:

      Quantum?
      Either it’s like Schiller would put it: “The Moor has done his duty, the Moor can go.” and they will keep a low profile until people have forgotten about it, or Ijaz will officially pull out of the deal using this choice as a reason to save face. I honestly don’t believe we’ll see anything else than that.

      1. What a script for a Hollywood blockbuster, have a look at this… (yes it is in English):

        http://www.lotusf1fans.net/en/2013/11/el-cebo/

    2. Peter Scandlyn says:

      Why would Lopez say anything about Quantum?
      The man’ll look foolish whenever he uses the Q word.

      1. Andrew says:

        Guess he won’t be watching the Quantum of Solance any time soon

      2. Peter Scandlyn says:

        ;-)

      3. James Clayton says:

        “Why would Lopez say anything about Quantum?”

        Because he’ll inevitably be asked about Quantum!

  3. Geoff Norman says:

    I hope Lotus will have enough budget to straighten out the damage.

    1. Gilles V says:

      The cars will be sponsored by JOHNNY BODY SHOP

    2. Sebee says:

      Right now they have legacy debt.

      Either Madonado’s money is going to pay that dabt or it’s going to his new car or combination of the two. Either way, it ain’t pretty at Lotus obviously.

      Add to this that Sauber is also in financial trouble, Nico looks to be going to Force India, who let’s be honest isn’t awash with cash either.

      My money is on a 20 car grid in 2014. I just hope it’s not 18.

      1. Tim says:

        Part of the delay with Maldanado being named at Lotus was, I believe, due to the Oil Company seeking assurances that their money was not being used to clear old debts – so it would appear that, as they have now signed up, they are satisfied that is not the case.
        With reference to 18 cars next season, I think some kind of clause exists, allowing teams to run a third car if the grid falls below 20 cars – that might be fun, but logistically pretty much unworkable in the current format with 2 car garages etc.

  4. Joe B says:

    Fairly certain Grosjean will destroy him.

    The extra income will even out soon enough, anyway – with Maldonado in a middle of the grid team again, Lotus’ carbon fibre bill is going to be rather large…

    Is Hulkenberg looking likely to stay at Sauber now?

    1. James Allen says:

      Force India, I believe alongside Perez

      1. Joe B says:

        Interesting line up for FI – serious talent against developing talent with something to prove. I hope they have a car decent enough for both to show what they’re capable of.

      2. Sebee says:

        How is Force India financially may I ask? Strapped? Afloat? In debt? OK?

      3. Fireman says:

        Better than Sauber and Lotus. It’s obvious. Hulk has had some trouble with payments so he chose the team based on the likelihood of getting paid.

        Kimi chose Ferrari because they have quite a load of money. Maybe that’s why they’ve had wind tunnel troubles. Cash flying everywhere.

      4. Erik says:

        We will finally find out wether McLaren took the correct driver between the two last year. I know it’s a moot point but it will be an interesting comparison nevertheless.

      5. TimW says:

        good point, with all the Maldonado bashing I had overlooked that point. I think it will finish in the Hulks favour, but it will be close.

      6. Doug says:

        McLaren did make the right choice..Perez was improving..but didn’t match Button. I’m pretty sure he’ll fare the same against Hulk..if not worse!

      7. Kris says:

        That’s a fresh and potentially interesting line up. I feel bad for Di Resta, but mainly because it’s one less British driver on the grid. Ultimately, his performances haven’t justified him keeping his seat. I imagine there will be a lot of people bemoaning the fact there are so many pay drivers, but not all the drivers in the midfield are pay drivers and, if you do have the luxury of taking a guy on talent and the Hulk is available, then it’s a bit of a no-brainer in terms of Hulk v Di Resta. At the same time, take out the pay driver aspect and compare Perez to Di Resta… has Paul really done a better job over the last two years? I’d argue that he hasn’t.

      8. Martin says:

        I agree with your analysis on those three. I feel that di Resta is competent and that given the right car he’d do pretty well and the reasons he won F3 and DTM championships are applicable to F1, but the standards and the cars are just that bit tougher.

        Looking at this season, there was never really a point where I felt Sutil was doing a better job over a weekend than di Resta. At times Paul was well off the pace in qualifying, but Adrian seemed to get that by having a car with excessive tyre wear.

        However, di Resta had a couple of crashes all by himself in Singapore (costing several points) and Korea. Sutil was starting to look quite good at the end of 2011, and I remember him putting an excellent drive together in Brazil to beat Rosberg to I think fifth place. After Bahrain this year, he didn’t really get my attention, which possibly says a lot about tyres.

        To me Hulkenberg is worthy of a top drive in F1. Perez and di Resta mid field cars and Sutil worthy of a midfield drive in a team that needs some Euro chipped in.

    2. madmax says:

      Fairly certain you are wrong and they will be very evenly matched!

      1. Joe B says:

        Sporting bet?

        *Extends arm for virtual handshake*

      2. TimW says:

        Really? A driver who matched up well against Kimi against a driver who was beaten by a rookie, I’m fairly certain Pastor will be reaching for the big book of racing drivers excuses very soon!

      3. Tim says:

        I found it interesting that Grosjean only really started matching Kimi, after Lotus decided they liked him best – once Kimi had announced he was leaving for Ferrari. It would appear to demonstrate how significant it is for a driver (Grosjean at least) to be the teams favourite. It will be interesting to see how things work out, personally I don’t think either of them are an ideal choice for lead driver and I can only see Lotus slipping backwards next season.

      4. TimW says:

        Tim, I’m sure having the team around him has helped but Brundle says the team have noticed a difference in Romain since he became a father. Whatever the reason, the turnaround has been remarkable, maybe Pastor is capable of doing something similar, but first he needs to recognise that he has done something wrong.

      5. Fireman says:

        @Tim

        You’re pretty stop on about this.

      6. BigHaydo says:

        If Maldonado blames his team for sabotage in public, he could well be writing this book shortly. Shame, he missed the Christmas rush to make it a best-seller.

  5. AlexD says:

    Two comments from my side:
    1. Kimi made the right choice not to race in the last 2 races
    2. Lotus is going downhill and with Maldonado on-board it will be very easy for me to have zero regrets for them to do so

    P.S. sorry for Hulkenberg that he did not get a top drive for next year, he is a top driver.

    1. Fireman says:

      Don’t worry! That Force India might be the best choice with Mercedes engines.

      1. TimW says:

        with Force India’s traditional low drag aero package and that Mercedes donkey in the back, it might just be worth a tenner on Hulkenberg at Spa and Monza!

  6. AlexD says:

    “With Romain and Pastor I believe Lotus F1 Team will be able to cause quite a few surprises next year.”

    I do not think that people are surprised anymore that Pastor crashes people out during the race. He will need to come up with something new to surprise. Also Romain…he did very good job in the last couple of races. I hope that Pastor will not wake his old habits to crash people at the start. What a team it is going to be!

    1. Robert says:

      Excellent strategy by Lotus: Paster takes the competition out and Romain wins the races.

  7. Urko says:

    Yes, and they will also change their name into “LoLtus;)

  8. AMSG says:

    So that’s it then. Hulk and Perez at Force India, Sutil at Sauber with either the Mexican or Russian pay driver and Paul Di-Resta off to work at McDonalds……

    1. Gordon says:

      Isn’t it all very depressing.

      1. AMSG says:

        Yes, as soon as Paul started saying Indy Cars was exciting, we knew he was out of F/I.
        But as some media outlets said earlier in the year. He just lacked personality projection. Not knocking the fella at all.

      2. Kris says:

        That plus the fact he got outraced by the Hulk in 2012 and simply wasn’t good enough in 2013. Sad but true, and, despite the natural tendency to favour the Brit, he’s had more of a chance than guys like Alguesari and has had as much of a chance as a guy like Kobayashi. Time to move on, see what else is out there and maybe come back in a year or two.

        At the same time, if Sutil is still in a decent drive next year, we’ll know things aren’t all good in F1.

    2. Sarvar says:

      ))) McDonalds is too harsh for a super license holder, mate.

      1. Random 79 says:

        Maybe, but it puts a new meaning to fast food.

      2. Dan G. says:

        That was actually one of the funniest things I’ve read in quite a while. Thanks for that, sir! ;-)

      3. shri says:

        What is value of super License if you do not have a car to drive.

      4. Random 79 says:

        Valsecchi might be wondering the same thing…

      5. TimW says:

        Maybe Burger King then…

      6. dren says:

        Yeah but Di Resta never had it his way, that’s why he was always whining.

      7. Arnie S says:

        Haven’t they scrapped the super – license. If not, how can Max Ch be allowed to drive??? ;)

      8. Martin says:

        I think Bourdais won a few IndyCar titles with McDonalds sponsorship if memory serves correctly.

      9. Sujith says:

        I seriously thought McDonalds was more like a name of an Indycar Team :P

    3. JF says:

      Paul di Resta lost his chance by complaining about other drivers and circumstances and by losing consistency in his driving.

    4. Raul says:

      There is some chances of Nasr in SAuber too. The same journalist who pointed Massa in Williams and Pastor in Lotus 2 months ago said that in the currend bidding for that seat, Nasr has a slight edge over gutierres and sirotkin… 1 or 2 millions

    5. Kirk says:

      What I’ve read somewhere else is that Perez is going to FI sponsored by Telmex (something about €15 million) so, if Slim is paying Perez that much, I doubt he will pay for Gutierrez seat as he is doing now in Sauber. Rumors say Gutierrez is going to Marussia and Sirotkin to Sauber.

  9. jee1 says:

    Maybe Pastor will amaze us with his driving skills’ as Romain has done this season…

    1. J Hancock says:

      I think that will hinge on his attitude, on paper they’re pretty even, both GP2 champion, one has a win in a team that normally shouldn’t, one has nine podiums in a team that can. But where Grosjean’s accidents have been mistakes, Maldonado’s seem much more deliberate. If he keeps trying to use his car as a battering ram 2014 will be the last we see of Maldonado.
      .
      He can drive a car fast, but he’s got to reign in that ego.

      1. paul murray says:

        Pastor is a hit man should have lost his license when he used his car as a weapon at Spa on Lewis

      2. Kit says:

        GP2 2010 Germany replay!

  10. Aadil says:

    RIP Lotus!!!!

    It was a great run while it lasted! :)

    From Kimi Raikkonen to Pastor Maldonado lol!

    What they gaining from Pastors 35m euro or whatever they going to loose when they finish 10th in the constructors championship lol!

    Good Luck then!!lol!

    1. Aadil says:

      Whatever respect Lotus earned over the past 2 years they just lit it up in flames lol!

      I would like see them sign up new sponsors now!!!lol!!

      1. Random 79 says:

        I don;t know, I think “Burn” is still appropriate ;)

      2. Fireman says:

        It’s going to be great: http://i.imgur.com/yEbj7UP.jpg

      3. Random 79 says:

        Oh dear…

    2. Aadil says:

      Whatever respect Lotus earned over the past 2 years just went up in flames!

      I would like see them sign up new sponsors now!lol

      1. Random 79 says:

        I don’t know, I think “Burn” is still appropriate ;)

    3. BW says:

      Have you perhaps noticed that Grosjean won enough points this season to secure Lotus P4 WCC alone?

      1. Aadil says:

        eh please he was driving one of the best cars on the grid wasn’t he?

        Certainly the second half of the year lotus had the best car after Red Bull!

        So he did a very good job given the car he had!! nothing sensational!
        His points gap between him and Raikonnen tell u all u need to know!

        lastly a few decent races dont make u a team leader! in 2011 the whole world hailed Jenson Button as Mclarens new team leader then came 2012 and…

        Lewis Hamilton annihilated him once again!!!

        besides when staff members start leaving to go too Caterham never mind Ferrari u can imagine things cant be great with Lotus!!

        So whos to say they will even had a great car next year!!

        Thinking about this again Hulk might be better off going to Force India! Just maybe Force India might be the better seat after all!

      2. dimitris says:

        I am not also convinced about Grojean. He did drive the second best car, whch with the tyre change was also perfectly suited to his driving style, for the second half of the season and did quite well, but he underperformed in the first half of the season when the going was tough. And surely the going will be tougher next season.

        As for Hulk and Force India, I think he made his choice with an eye for a future Mercedes or Ferrari seat.

      3. James Allen says:

        The tyre change didn’t suit Lotus. They were flying beforehand. Unlike Ferrari and F India they adapted to the tyres and were second fastest in closing races of the year

      4. BW says:

        Eh please so what’s the reason to believe that presence of Maldonado will cause the car to be among the slowest?
        ‘Cause if in a good car Grosjean can compete for P4 for the team, why should Maldonado disturb just him?

      5. Robert says:

        “lastly a few decent races dont make u a team leader! in 2011 the whole world hailed Jenson Button as Mclarens new team leader then came 2012 and…

        Lewis Hamilton annihilated him once again!!!”

        Ahhh, when will you Lewis fanbois get a grip? Three points difference is NOT annihilation…it is a rounding error. And over three years Lewis had fewer points overall than JB. Facts don’t lie…

  11. Mark says:

    Ughhh. No PM fan here, but I hope he stays out of trouble and earns the seat. The guy seems to have an attitude problem.

    1. Joe B says:

      I agree. I hope for the sake of good racing that he can keep his nose clean, but it’s kind of a ‘hope for the best, prepare for the worst’ situation.

  12. ManOnWheels says:

    I believe that, to keep up his smoke and mirrors and get out of it gracefully, MansVenezueleoor Ijaz will soon officially announce that Quantum Motorsports will withdraw from the Lotus deal, as its backers from Brunei, who have strong ties with the local oil industry, were not happy with the decision to have an Argentine oil company as major sponsor and Maldonado as a driver.

    Remember: You’ve read it here first.

      1. ManOnWheels says:

        *facepalm* Stupid me, but I don’t think it will make a difference.

  13. Peter says:

    Midfield F1 looks very messy indeed. Bringing 30 million to a team for a seat is crazy. I wonder what will happen with the most talented young drivers in this period of time who under normal circumstances should get the opportunity to enter these midfield teams. Will there be a lost generation of young drivers from this era?

    1. AuraF1 says:

      There have been generations of no doubt amazing drivers who missed out because motor sport favours the rich, those with families dedicated to getting karting started at an early age and those with family already in the upper formulas. Sad but true.

    2. Random 79 says:

      Yes and you’ll find them all in Formula E :)

  14. shri says:

    Lopez logic would be better to save the team 1st and forget about pay driver situation.
    This is the reality of F1 right now unfortunately.
    James any idea on Sauber and Force India line up ?

    1. James Allen says:

      Force India – Hulkenberg and Perez would be my guess

      Sauber – Sutil (perhaps) +1

      1. Peter Freeman says:

        James what does Sutil bring that Diresta does not? I am sure many people would like the answer to this question.

      2. James Allen says:

        Cash from Capri Sun and Medion

      3. Anil Parmar says:

        A lot of cash… But also consistency. PDR started the season well when the car was strong aginst Sutil, who had been out of the sport, but the truth is PDR hasn’t impressed anyone since he came into the sport. That said it would be a shame to lose a brit.

      4. Scuderia McLaren says:

        Talent and a reasonable attitude.

      5. Phil Too says:

        A really attractive girlfriend that seems to get into the broadcast at least once every weekend.

  15. Matt says:

    What a shame. RIP Lotus!

  16. Michael says:

    This is disgraceful. This guy should not be in F1. I believe “The Hulk” is going back to Force India.

  17. Karl Webb says:

    Watch out people.
    Lotus might need a few extra front wings and you might need some too.
    A poor decision on the drivers front by Lotus, but overall, its enough to keep them fighting the big 4.
    Only if Ijaz had had money to pay Lotus, we might be seeing an angry driver in Hulk instead of a driver who loses his head in anger more often than not.

  18. Sarvar says:

    So Lotus is likely to finish behind Force India next year provided the latter builds a decent car.
    Infinty/Quantum left (as predicted) in headlines as a joke.

  19. P says:

    Perez and hulkenberg at force india seem pretty solid & exciting.
    Although I think diresta is better than perez…but we’ve seen diresta at force india for 3 years..so nothing new or exciting about that

    1. deancassady says:

      Getting Hulkenberg and Perez, at this time of the year, and for everything they bring to the team, is the driver coup of the decade, at least.
      Few dispute Hulkenberg’s ability, now, and I’m certain that we haven’t seen the best of Perez, yet.
      Toss in a few pesos and you’ve got a really good deal for ForceI.
      I predict that they’ll eclipse a struggling Lotus team in 2014, and arrive in fifth in the constructors or better.

  20. Franco says:

    Looks like Kimi will now get his money that he is owed.

    1. deancassady says:

      paid for by the state petroleum company of Venezuela.

      1. C Lin says:

        No but paid by Bernie WCC $.

  21. Neil Jenney says:

    Not a fan of PM, nor a fan of money over talent, but I doubt Lotus management are either. I can see the logic of taking the PDVSA money to shore up the financial side of the team and if Romaine’s psychologist is half as successful getting Pastor’s temperament under control and harnessing the raw speed that he has shown on occasion, then this may work out for Lotus.

    1. Veteran says:

      Grosjean always admitted his mistakes. Admitting your mistakes is the first stop if you want to learn from them. Maldonado has never admitted any mistakes. I still remember him trying to ram Hamilton of the track after a Qualification. This guys needs a whole team of psychologists if you ask me.

      1. Nophead says:

        PM has deliberately crashed into three people that I can remember, should have lost his license. Would be in jail if it was on the road. Nelson Piquet only deliberately hit a wall and he is well gone. RG caused a bad accident, presumably not deliberately, and got a race ban.

      2. Mansell Mania says:

        Probably a clause in his contrct

      3. Robert says:

        +1

        The day that Romain admitted his mistakes openly in an interview, and even admitted that he deserved his suspension for a race, where the days I became a fan of his. I am SURE he was coached by his manager to say some of that, but he sounded sincere and perhaps was. He has certainly learned a good deal about positioning of his car and staying out of trouble, and has 9 podiums to show for it this year. Remember, there was a time we didn’t think he could finish 9 RACES in a year…

      4. Alvaro says:

        …I think you haven’t read the press lately. Maldonado is the kind of person that recognizes his mistakes…it also it’s been said that he is a very arrogant man…which is false. I can tell this because I know the man…besides the press is there to say it…it is a matter of reading any international media or searching on the internet!!!!

    2. ferggsa says:

      I kind of agree, Pastor is fast and Lotus can use the cash, his main problem seems to be misjudging cars(drivers) running against him, and is not fan(camera)friendly

      The main issue I see with him is most young drivers learn from mistakes, he seems to be too arrogant to do this and always blame the other party (Perez is a bit like that also, although IMO he has improved of late)

      One thing I differ from most posts is judging pay drivers as being absolute rubbish
      They might not be top level material, but they are pretty good, otherwise they would not even make it that far
      More so with guys coming from far away countries where they have to have a huge amount of money just to campaign in lower classes in Europe before even being considered

      Lotus decision is based on simple math: Pastor 3-4/10 slower than Hulk, Force India 4-5/10 slower than Lotus, next year Pastor still beats Hulk by 2/10, plus brings 30M

      Only things I would be worried if I were Lotus is Venezuela’s political situation which might end the funding situation eventually

      1. Alvaro says:

        Then…whatever he does is guilty…right?…what a poor judgement!!!

  22. Jenks says:

    Any potential clash of sponsors as a result of this signing?

  23. Mike from Colombia says:

    One word – undeserving

  24. Random 79 says:

    Q: How many front wings can you buy with 30 mil?

    1. db4tim says:

      Not enough to make up for the constructor points they will loose.

      It would have been much better to keep Kimi paid….resilient & happy Kimi then.

      1. Tim says:

        With each place in the constructors standings supposedly worth about £10million, Kimi would have needed to score an awful lot of points to make him financially more viable than Pastor and his oil money. Also WCC money comes at the end of the season and it would appear that Lotus have more immediate cash requirements.

      2. Elie says:

        before Kimi came along they were 6thor 7th and this year they were a genuine chance at 3rd despite a poor first half from Grosjean( even last year same thing). There’s 30m right there! and very few accidents with Kimi. With a driver like Hulk I think they may have achieved 2nd quite easily.

        but your right their problems are bit bigger than that now

      3. Tim says:

        To be fair, Renault (now Lotus) were 5th in the WCC the season before Kimi’s return, not 6th or 7th. Even had they made 3rd, they are still £10 million short of target and in the unlikely event they had made 2nd, they have only achieved the financial equivalent of hiring Maldanado – bird in the hand etc….
        Remember, they still have to pay Kimi something like £10million as well (perhaps Lotus should remember to pay Kimi as well)
        Don’t get me wrong, I think hiring Maldanado will prove to be a disaster for the team as it sends all the wrong messages, it’s just I suspect they had no choice.

  25. James M says:

    It’s a shame because I think Hulkenberg in particular deserved the drive more. I’m sure he is talened enough to get another drive though.

    However this is the right decision for Lotus as there aren’t many drivers on the grid you would swap £30m for.

  26. Shri says:

    Where will Sauber get their funding from? Which pay driver?

    1. Roddie says:

      Sergey Sirotkin (Russia, 18), but it depends on him getting a superlicence. Otherwise I believe Gutierrez will bring Carlos Slim’s money yet again.

  27. Richard says:

    30m quid won’t be enough to repair the cars he’ll damage. What a retarded decsion by Lotus, they’ve lost big names in the team and now they take someone who got beaten by a teammate which had a two season disadvantage in experience.

  28. deancassady says:

    The epitaph of the last generation of the Lotus F1 team.
    Romain will soon find out how good he had it partnered with Kimi, as Filipe discovered when Alonso moved in, next door.
    Not only is this disasterous for Lotus, and confirms financial torture at Enstone, but I think it’s bad for F1.
    Can Maldonado go fast? Well, there was that episode in Barcelona in 2012; it’s precarious to deny facts.
    However, is Maldonado good for a team and F1 in general? Dubious at best.
    Is the mechanism that an extremely well-funded driver, displace an extremely fast racer, i.e. Hulkenberg, a good thing?
    I doubt there are many people here, who honestly like this scenario.

    1. Martin says:

      Hi Dean,
      your post brought a few thoughts to mind…

      Team Enstone has been quite good at regenerating itself. A WDC by 2020 fits the history…. BMW power like in 1986?

      Your comment on Kimi could be taken to be read as though he’s not particularly fast, or at least needs a particular car characteristic to be better than good…

      More to the point, F1 is an entertainment business that is also a sport. The mad, sometimes fast, Venezuelan is a more interesting story than another fast, efficient, German. At least we get to rant about how hard done by Hulkenberg is due to him not having a top line car. In one way we might not like it, but we’d have nothing to complain about, and humans tend to enjoy complaining quite a lot. They don’t like it, but they enjoy it.

      A side line problem is that there’s only really two midfield teams at the moment, Sauber and Force India. McLaren are intruding by having a crap year. Mercedes has spent its way out of that group. Williams have generally been too slow and Toro Rosso is a closed shop.

      Cheers,
      Martin

      1. Yago says:

        “Your comment on Kimi could be taken to be read as though he’s not particularly fast, or at least needs a particular car characteristic to be better than good…”

        Could be, but sadly I think deancassady was referring to coexistence when he was talking about the past partnerings Romain-Kimi and Felipe-Fernando, as well as the future partnering Romain-Pastor. I don’t think he was talking about speed, he was talking about personalities, which is a shame because that’s something totally subjective, and impossible to judge propertly from the outside.

        Indeed I would prefer reading about driving abilities, keeping aside the personality thing. That way I could still expect objectivity when reading a post.

      2. Elie says:

        I could be wrong but my understanding of Deans comment on Kimi is that he has always raced fairly with everyone and been a team player. Alonso came along with Santanders millions and commanded no1 status so Massa was out in the cold even before he turned a wheel from 2010 . At Renault 2009 Fernando was an established no1 so poor newbie Grosjean had no hope again before he turned a wheel.
        Kimi was WC in 2007 and was happy to move aside for Felipe when the car was not right for him in 08/09. Kimi never asked for no1 status at Lotus either. He was in 2nd place in both 2012/3 at certain points so Grosjean was never even close to challenging but he never was always prepared to move aside

        I find it a bit surprising when people ignore or talk down Raikkonen when he never once asked for no1 status and earned it on track both at Ferrari in his WC year and even at lotus where he was at times in 2nd place in the championship. His co drivers Massa and Grosjean should never forget this and respect the fact they never had this with their other teams — this particular trait is incredibly under rated in F1 And no one can assume neither driver learned something from the great Finn as result- 2008 and 2013.. Even Grosjean who did not “talk” to Kimi said he could not deny learning a great deal from observing him and what they shared.

      3. NickH says:

        In regards to Kimi, I’m pretty sure he means that Kimi is a good teammate who doesn’t throw his toys out of the pram like Maldonado will for wanting to be no.1 driver because he brings the money. And he won’t like Romain being the ‘chosen’ one

      4. deancassady says:

        Great comment.
        Re: Kimi: Rightly or wrongly, I believe Kimi to be a fair, non-destructive garage-mate; so I believe it was with Filipe, before MS began what I believe to be retro-active self-glorification, leading a change of direction at Ferrari to accommodate Filipe’s driving style.
        Would it be a possibility under the Alonso Regime?
        Likewise, tough with different relative positions, Lotus, and Grosjean had to really grow in the shadow of Kimi’s capability, but was enabled in the growth, i.e. no dirty tricks from the other side of the garage to sabotage him (and let’s face it, he had obvious weak spots exposed for undermining his development, it was probably difficult to avoid them all!)
        I don’t think it will be that way for Grosjean, next year; I don’t think it will be as benign as that. Kimi had the self-confidence to not resort to any kind of ‘keeping the other guy down’ tactics.
        I’m hoping that Grosjean will stand tall and fight! I hope he’s grown enough.

  29. Paul D says:

    People don’t like Maldonado, I see that. However don’t confuse that with a lack of speed.

    He isn’t slow by any means. You can always add consistency and racecraft a la Grosjean.

    1. Yago says:

      Exactly. Maldonado is much faster than people here seem to think! People forget how badly was Romain doing first half of 2013. But even performing so badly at that stage, it is clear for everybody now that he is a good driver. Non-developed non-genius drivers can have fluctuating performances until they get enough experience. During that period, one should look at puntual flashes of briliance rather than at consistently good performances. Even more so if they are driving very bad cars or are not in good terms with their teams.

      In my view, judging Maldonado by this year performance is an error, and I think many people could be shocked by his speed next year.

      1. Tet says:

        He is fast, no denying that. It’s just that he talks a lot of trash that’s all.

      2. Matt says:

        I think he has flashes of speed, no doubt. But I think he too often times is prone to very rash and unpredictable decisions. Not to mention he is the worst trash talker out there. I think he is delusional.

      3. Yago says:

        “But I think he too often times is prone to very rash and unpredictable decisions”

        Wasn’t that the case of Grosjean? We should wait and see how he developes.

    2. db4tim says:

      Not slow it is just how fast he stops….on other people. !

    3. TimW says:

      if he’s that quick, then why was he outqualified by a rookie?

      1. ManOnWheels says:

        Lack of motivation? Or maybe, this is how I see it, he’s a Button-kind-of-driver who is blisteringly fast if the car suits him, but who struggles a lot if it doesn’t.

        We remember how Jenson Button has come and beaten the young prodigy Lewis Hamilton in his own house, who had just made 2-times World champion Fernando Alonso look pretty ordinary, and we’ve seen how the same Jenspn Button has been struggeling this year, being outqualified by Perez in the latter stage in the year.

      2. Elie says:

        Lewis had at least 3 Mechanical failures in the lead of GP’s and at least the same number of Pit Stop , Fuel errors,when he was on pole at other GP’s. I find it amazing that people even bother comparing Jenson without considering this. It is the reason lewis left Mclaren for Merc which I predicted would happen even before 2012 season
        Lewis almost lapped Jenson at Germany? Last year ..
        Jenson only won São Paulo 2012 because Lewis was take. Out by a Hulk

      3. TimW says:

        Blisteringly quick? I haven’t seen any evidence of that, but then I didn’t see Button beat Hamilton at McLaren either. 3 seasons as team mates, 2-1 to Lewis on championship points and 3-0 in qualifying. I have a lot of respect for Jenson, but there’s a reason Mercedes chose Lewis.

    4. Rishi says:

      Lol my first instinct to the move was: “what a sad indictment on F1 that a guy who makes mistakes and underachieves persistently for three years is rewarded with a promotion!”

      Yet for all that, you do have a point. In 2012 in particular the guy showed he can be seriously quick. I do think there’s a problem of him being a bit hot-headed and not taking responsibility for his mistakes which do hinder him relative to Grosjean. And the speed in 2012 served only to highlight some of his very public mistakes (I still can’t believe he crashed out on the last lap in Melbourne! He only needed to bring the car home!).

      But you’re right, the speed is there. So while we’re all raising our eyebrows at it right now, we could all be here in 12 months time describing him as the surprise package of the championship. It’s a slightly simplistic analogy but Lotus move could do to him what the Jordan move did to Andrea de Cesaris (another driver who mixed real speed with a propensity to crash but also brought money with him for a lot of his career – in his case from Marlboro) in 1991.

      1. Paul D says:

        Great post and I like the De Cesaris analogy…

        I totally accept he’s no angel and does have attitude problems. He’s also inconsistent! But he’s certainly not ‘slow’ as some have been saying.

        I was really impressed with his raw speed at times in 2012 as I was with Grosjean. Grosjean has now seemingly matured into a far more complete package and there is a chance the same could happen with Maldonado.

    5. Phil Glass says:

      That is a thoughtful and reasonable point, Paul.

      I would just add that in the middle of all our appreciation of Hulk, we are forgetting that he has been around a few years now. No top teams ever thought of snapping him up … and it’s not like them to ignore top-quality material. Maybe there is something…………

      1. Paul D says:

        Sadly I think it just comes down to the commercials.

        Hulk is a fine racing driver with a great attitude, but he’s just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

        He just needs to keep doing what he’s doing and I’m sure he’ll get a top seat in 2015. If he beats Perez convincingly at Force India next year that’s a great benchmark.

    6. NickH says:

      He has impressed on occasion, especially in 2012. Spain obviously, also good drives in Singapore (before he retired) and Abu Dhabi with no kers. He was way faster than B Senna (I’m not saying B Senna is good)

  30. Nick says:

    Brilliant news, really pleased about this. I think a lot of people may have some humble pie to eat next year.
    I cant wait to see Pastor hopefully racing towards the front and having a real go, and heavens above he may actually try and overtake someone which may be contentious, but I cant wait.
    A fantastic decision from Lotus!

    1. Ed says:

      Eric? Is that you?

    2. musshan says:

      i agree with Nick. the guy has got speed and this season performance is not entirely down to him.

    3. Doug says:

      Thanks Nick,

      I needed a good laugh & your post made my day! :-)
      Seriously, I think everybody knows that over a single lap Pastor is pretty quick..it’s his racecraft that is seriously lacking.
      When they start handing out points on a Saturday he’ll deserve a drive, until then, he’ll have to buy one. I feel for Lotus. :-(

      1. Nick says:

        …it’s his racecraft that is seriously lacking you say, but it looked pretty good in Barcelona last year, and also pretty fine on the last lap at Japan this year.
        Is this another day made?

      2. Chapor says:

        2 examples in three years… Weeell… About that.

      3. Doug says:

        ‘One Swallow does not a Summer make’

        That’s one per season, before I get it in the neck. :-)

        C’mon Nick, I doubt you’ll find many people who follow F1 who’ll say Pastor doesn’t have pace..but he’s got no control in give and take situations…hence the number of scrapes he gets in. If he displayed some humility following his numerous incidents you’d be tempted to think he’d have the capacity to learn…sadly, Pastor doesn’t do humilty! :-(

    4. At last – someone who is thinking about what this might do to the action next year. Sure, in an idealistic world, talent would favour cash backing but these are hard times in F1 and teams need the money. Far better to have a driver that is prepared to mix it rather than someone who is all corporate and drives for a good quali position and then just races to hold position.

      Sure, Pastor is going to wreck some carbon next year but that is way more exciting than the dull processional borefest of most of this season. Over-taking, rubbing tyres, the occassional shunt (or possibly regular shunt in the case of PM) – isn’t that what we really want to see?

  31. Blaize says:

    I’m dissapointed for Nico BUT Pastor despite his on track antics at time is a good driver. Don’t forget some of his drives in 2012 for Williams. Winning,Pole Positions and Front Row starts in a midfield car at best was a HUGE achievement.

    Something I think Pastor expected last season to be rewarded by and when that didnt happen for 2013 I think he lost alot of motivation. While Nico is still imo a better driver I believe Maldonado is still an exciting prospect.

    He is a hungry driver who is very quick. Think how Lotus treated Romain after his antics, I feel Pastor could really mature at Lotus. Money is the key factor but Pastor is still deserving of this chance. Just less so than Nico.

    1. Rockman says:

      Pole positions?
      You may be watching another form of racing compared to the rest.

      He got 1 pole position, which is singular.

      Pm is average at best who lucked out of the tyre lottery during early part of 2012.

      Without sponsor money, no team would even consider him. His attitude and arrogance makes him even worse overall.

      I’m willing to be proven wrong but my prediction will be half points compared to Roma in come end of 2014.

    2. Truth or Lies says:

      Is that you Pastor?

  32. Rich B says:

    so that’s another 2 years before hulk gets a chance for a top drive he’s so very worthy of, sad sad times for f1.

    1. Random 79 says:

      You never know, like Brawn (Honda) and RBR in 2009, FI might be one the teams that get’s these new regulations right.

      Optimistic I know, but it’s still an outside chance.

  33. Sandy says:

    Currently Maldonado is frustrated at Williams after a poor season scoring only one point. However, last year he won the Spanish Grand Prix finishing ahead of home favourite in the fabled red car.

    Sir Frank Williams was proud of the Venezuelan he said that he always believed in. Supposedly the resurgence of Williams, the whole paddock was applauding the team, including the driver.

    A fiery, “spoilt,” latin driver at the Enstone team was the last guy to give them championships in ’05 and ’06. A tempestuous Schumacher who was known as a nutcase who won his championship by taking Damon Hill out in ’94 and then ’95.
    Maldonado in ’13 and 14′? Grosjean was once a nutcase and both of them will push each other

    1. Basil says:

      Interesting point of view, let us see hot it will play out.

      1. musshan says:

        wow. +1

  34. Anil says:

    A very quick driver on his day (Spain and Monaco last year show that) but he’s mistake prone, that’s for sure. Unlike Grosjean, he didn’t seem to mature last year, however maybe a better car will help him do that.

  35. Grant says:

    Congratulations to Pasta.

    Romain and him will make quite a strong pairing.

  36. James Macdonald says:

    As much as I agree that there are drivers, certainly Hulkenberg, that deserve the seat more, I think this is actually shaping up to be a fairly fascinating intra-team battle, and I look forward to finding out which driver comes out on top (as I suspect it’ll be Grosjean). Having said that, I wonder if, as a safety measure, Lotus are considering abandoning the stealth-like JPS-inspired black and gold and go to another historic colour scheme: the bright Camel yellow. That way, it at least gives other drivers the chance to see them coming…

    1. ManOnWheels says:

      I honestly think that Hulkenberg could be better off at Force India.
      Lotus have lost James Allison to Ferrari and Mark Elliott to Mercedes and those are not the only people that have left the team. Williams is searching hard for quality people at the moment and they will manage to get some at Lotus, regarding their financial troubles.
      So while Lotus are struggling, because their high rolling has not paid off and they haven’t won the sponsors they were hoping for, Force India do seem like a healthy, well funded team that just had some bad luck in the tire lottery, while being one of the better mid field teams in recent years, they may very well beat Lotus in 2014 or 2015.
      And now as Williams’ main problem, the blown diffusor is gone, Williams who are also well funded, and equipped with Merc Engines next year, may also get the upper hand on Lotus.
      I wouldn’t put my money on it though, but it could well be, that Maldonado has made a bad call.
      For Lotus, it was probably the best deal possible. They need the money and if the car suits him, Maldonado is fast, while Grosjean has matured and has proven to be fast aswell.

  37. darren w says:

    James,
    In a Force India vs. Sauber showdown, are drivers left to choose simply between which team appears to have a more stable financial situation at the moment or are there other differences between the teams that would explain the likely loss of Hulkenberg to Force India?

    1. Gary says:

      Mercedes power versus Ferrari power. Mercedes is rumored to have the edge, but who knows

  38. Mark says:

    Oh look at the jaded Hamilton and British fans getting all upset about it. So typical.

    1. Torchwood Five says:

      Okay, you’ve rattled my cage.

      What are you on about?

    2. KRB says:

      What a strange comment. Someone somewhere has to bring Hamilton into every comment. A testament to his star power, I guess.

      I couldn’t care less that Lotus have signed Maldonado. I think it’s a mistake, but not any of my concern.

      I think it’s far too early to start calling Grosjean a superstar … his first half was shocking, he was underperforming badly. I’m not expecting a lot out of Lotus next year, to be honest.

  39. akl says:

    He shouldnt be driving, its a shame money talks

  40. chrisnz says:

    James,

    Do you know if 2014 Lotus car development has been comprimised at all by the uncertainty of the teams future funding for a few months prior to now, although I’m sure the PDVSA money isn’t the end to their financial dilemmas.

  41. Stephen Taylor says:

    If i’d have been Lotus team boss I would have preferred to bring Alain Prost or Mika Hakkinen out of retirement just so I didn’t have to sign Pastor.

  42. Dougel says:

    Things are getting ugly at Lotus.

    1. Tim says:

      They are on a slippery slope now!

  43. AuraF1 says:

    The only good thing is Hulk actually has a drive and two teams were looking at him right up until the end. It was cash flow that scuppered it not his much maligned height and weight. Yes it’s sad Lotus couldn’t have gotten a sponsor AND the better driver but at least F1 isn’t losing Hulk based on something as petty as being born too tall…

  44. Brent says:

    “He’s a race winner”; what about the other 50, or so, he’s started? I’d bet Enstone is not a very jovial place today, they didn’t really want Maldonado or his money.

    1. Random 79 says:

      No, they wanted his money :)

  45. mj says:

    Not a surprising decision by Lotus, 30m is hard to argue against when you are in financial trouble. The Quantum deal will not happen

    The trouble with Pastor is his image is awful. He is not well liked in the paddock or the media,and the public don’t trust him at all. His outburts at Williams a few weeks ago were incredibly amateur, and damged his image even further. If Lotus can sort his image out, channel his agression, and educate the man, he may well surprise many, He has the potential to be fast, he just needs some serious moulding.

    Get used to this scenario, paid drivers are the future of f1. Those with exceptional talent and no backing will not get to F1. The old days are gone forever. Lewis is the last of the raw talent, after that F1 is dead.

    Enjoy Fernando, Kimmi and Jenson (oldish school) while it lasts. When they retire, Lewis alone won’t be enought to keep f1 fans interested.

    1. Doug says:

      I agree he does have an image problem.
      When RG was crashing all the time at least he looked apologetic & humble. When he drives well RG has one of the best smiles on the grid.
      I don’t think I’ve ever seen Pastor apologise & when he has a good race he still comes accross like a South American Hitman/Bond Villain!

    2. Omniprescient says:

      You mean Vettel has no raw talent? And is LH younger than Seb? I am confused, honestly.

      1. mj says:

        You are indeed confused.Read my post. I did not even mention Vettel, primarily because he is for me, on a differnt planet, he doesn’t produce exciting racing or galvanise fans.Lewis on the other hand does galvanise fans because he is exciting on track, as is Alonso, Kimmi. Until Seb has to fight in the thick of it, instead of driving away from the front row, he remains for me, as dull as dish water.

      2. Romeo says:

        +1

        Can’t wait for Red Bull to sink and die to end this boorish era.

      3. Bartholomew says:

        Vettel did plenty of fighting to come out on top in 2010 and 2012. He too battled in the pack in 2008-09. So you may have been sleeping, but don’t pretend he hasn’t fought the others closely (as well as whooped the others like the 2nd half of this year).

    3. KRB says:

      Magnussen?

      I wonder if F1 “fans” will say that Magnussen never “put his time in” with a lower team? Wasn’t that the (silly) charge levelled against Lewis?

      McLaren isn’t a charity: they’re only putting him in there b/c they think he can do the business.

  46. Matt says:

    Paul DeRiesta gets nearly double the points Sutil gets and Sutil still gets a drive?? Sutil has been around too long and not made any sort of impression at all, why is he going to Sauber, what can he possibly offer them?

    1. Random 79 says:

      Apparently he has sponsors too.

    2. Tim says:

      what can he possibly offer them?…

      It’s just a guess, but maybe $$$$$$$.

  47. Spyros says:

    That took a while, didn’t it?

    Now, for the real question: given the huge challenge that 2014 is to all the teams, has Lotus managed to push on with the development of a half-way decent car for next year, given their well-documented cash flow problems?

    If not, and if the positive rumours about the Merc package have any value, I guess Pastor might be in for a nasty surprise, if Williams is faster than Lotus, next year.*

    *No, seriously.

    1. Random 79 says:

      If Williams is faster then Lotus next year I will be typing some of the biggest lols that ever lolled :)

      1. musshan says:

        how about if pastor won a handful of races? ;)

      2. Random 79 says:

        That is a possibility, but to finish first first you have to finish ;)

  48. Rob Newman says:

    Maldonado is an exciting driver when he is given the car he wants. Last year people were praising him and this year he has had a difficult time.

    I am happy for Maldonado but my only worry is he is a reckless driver (just like Perez and Hamilton). We don’t want him running into front runners unnecessarily next year.

  49. ketthalllotus says:

    Putting the money issue to one side, Maldonado doesn’t deserve the drive if for no other reason than the way he spoke about (and his attitude towards) the Williams team in the last couple of races. When was the last time Frank Williams washed his dirty linen in public? It just wouldn’t happen…..ever….and he and his team don’t deserve it, least of all from a pay driver, however talented he may be.
    As for Di Resta…if he loses his seat, I feel that partly, he only has himself to blame. Remember earlier in the season when he was openly critical on TV of both the car and team? I’m sure that he was trying to encourage and improve things the way Senna used to. But the trouble with that is, he just ain’t Senna!!

  50. oddball says:

    Mmm..i can see why lotus had to make this decision, the quantum deal has really hampered the team,i cant see any team wanting to sign this muppet (sorry,thats an insult to muppets!)but 30mil will get you most things. We should not forget this is just a drop in the ocean, i bet his bodywork and parts will come to this much next season. Anyone can drive fast, all you do is press the right handside pedal, it takes skill to control this speed and pastor just hasnt got it. There are a hell of alot of better drivers out there,waiting, but in this climate its just not going to happen. Bring back tabaco ads and major motor company teams. F1 is about the pinnacle of motor sport, cars should reflect this. Let the teams explore,design and race, dont restrict the designs and engineering, let a v12 race against a straight 6, bridgestone vs goodyear, turbo vs hybrid, now thats a season i would watch

  51. Rayz says:

    Well that explains why Kimi Raikkonen left the team. He obviously knew what was coming.. he clearly sensed that the Quantum deal was in trouble.

    I wonder if this affects whether or not he will be paid in full now. Quantum Investors were promising big inflows and Kimi was to be compensated over and above his salary for the initial non payment.

    It’s disappointing for Lotus that they have had to resort to signing Maldonado. They have been left with egg on their face after Mansoor Izaz publicly stated that he and Lotus’ preferred driver was Hulkenberg.

    It’ll be interesting to see if Maldonado can compete with Grosjean next year. I can’t help feeling that with PDVSA still around, it may not matter. This is all very unfortunate news and a sad day for F1.

  52. Rayz says:

    Well that explains why Kimi Raikkonen left the team. He obviously knew what was coming.. he clearly sensed that the Quantum deal was in trouble.

    I wonder if this affects whether or not he will be paid in full now. Quantum Investors were promising big inflows and Kimi was to be compensated over and above his salary for the initial non payment

    It’s disappointing for Lotus that they have had to resort to signing Maldonado. They have been left with egg on their face after Mansoor Izaz publicly stated that he and Lotus’ preferred driver was Hulkenberg.

    It’ll be interesting to see if Maldonado can compete with Grosjean next year. I can’t help feeling that with PDVSA still around, it may not matter. This is all very unfortunate news and a sad day for F1.

  53. Aadil says:

    Lotus have lost all credibility!

    First they lost James Alison probly because they couldnt pay him

    Then they couldnt pay Raikonnen who they then lost to Ferrari!

    Then they have been trying sell a share of the team to a non existent company led by a man who de frauds banks!!

    Then theres news of various staff members leaving to go to “Caterham” yes Caterham!!

    Hulkenburg was the last chance they had at restoring some credibility!!

    Signing Pastor Maldonado is the last straw!!

    after all that who can take them seriously any more?

    1. Doug says:

      I didn’t know they were trying to sell a share to Bernie!!! ;-D

  54. Bryce says:

    Money talks BS walks.

    The relative size of the cars name signage pictire represented in this piece shows that despite the cash, Romain is the big fish in this team.

  55. John S says:

    I am disappointed of course, but Lotus have an entire team to support. It’s not like it can say to its staff: “Sorry your wife and kids are starving but Hulkenberg is killing it out there! Just wait until we get our constructor’s money”

    I am excited to see Hulkenberg display his immense talent at Force India next year and push Button out of McLaren in 2015!

  56. Turbo says:

    Maybe Pastor will become the new first lap nut case if Lotus have a strong car and qualifies at the front.

    Why is the Hulk leaving Sauber? He looked mighty strong in that car in later half of season. Force India seems like sideways move.

    1. Random 79 says:

      “Force India seems like sideways move”

      Maybe, but sadly it wouldn’t be the first one for him and at the worst at least he still has a seat (it was a little dicey for a bit there).

      1. KRB says:

        Is that a vote of confidence by Hulk in the Merc engine over the Ferrari? It’s not ideal that he hasn’t spent two consecutive years in a team yet (not in a race seat, at least), but it is what it is.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Frankly I think it’s more an act of desperation (i.e. to get a seat before the music stops), but they fact they’re running a Merc engine next year can’t hurt :)

        Still, I and many others would still love to see what he can achieve driving for a top tier team.

  57. Allie says:

    I’m going to look at it like this: without the cash from the Venezuelan Government, Lotus aren’t on the grid in Australia. So while I’m disappointed that Hulkenburg isn’t getting the top seat he so deserves, F1 does not need a “big” team going under. And I’d like to see Grosjean win a race.

    Di Resta’s out. Apparently, Ganassi Racing have had 50 calls from “legit” drivers aobut Franchitti’s seat in Indycar, so if I was Di Resta, I’d forget about F1 and get that seat before he’s left with nothing. If he hasn’t already.

  58. Alberto says:

    I’m Venezuelan and its just sad to see how PDVSA its just giving away money to retain Maldonado in F1, it is pretty obvious that Maldonado without PDVSA wouldnt be in F1, with all the problems Venezuela has, all that money could be put into better use.
    He is a race winner, he might be quick, but he is not consistant and he is fairly old compare to Grosjean, so he must be in the final stages (or already passed) his peak performance.

    1. Tim says:

      and he is fairly old compare to Grosjean…

      He is only 1 year older than Grosjean, although looking at their faces I would have thought there was 4 or 5 years difference.

  59. Anne says:

    Bloody paid drivers. Hulkenberg deserves a seat in Lotus a lot more than Maldonado.

  60. Mark says:

    Disgusting! Drivers should be hired on talent alone, the sponsorship money should be banned.

    Same with the constructors, share the money out equally so everyone has the same money for development from the fia, will never happen though.

    1. alexbookoo says:

      Yes it’s a shame to see midfield teams struggling desperately for cash while there’s plenty of money at the top. The current model might be unsustainable.

  61. Luke says:

    I can’t remember a driver being chosen for a top seat because of money before. This is a very sad day.

    1. James Clayton says:

      I don’t think Lotus will be a “top seat” next year…

      1. Timmay says:

        neither

  62. Timmay says:

    Lotus are gonna have to put the front wing assembly on overtime next season. Crashers

  63. zx6dude says:

    what a sad turn of events – even if it was expected.

  64. Aadil says:

    I would like to see Alan Permane telling Pastor too “Get out of the f…… way”

    I cant imagine that going down to well with Pastors 35 or 40m euros lol!

    Besides it wouldn’t be wise for Alan to speak to then man who’s paying his salary next yr in that manner lol!

  65. jay dee says:

    I’m not anti pastor. But it obvious lotus wanting the money he brings with him. I still think his win in spain last year was fantastic and hope he can do it again with lotus.

  66. Grant H says:

    Rubbish choice lotus hulk is worth more than the oil bonanza

  67. Mikeboy0001 says:

    What a blow to the heart, this was to me.
    I’ve lost a bit of respect for the sport, and have no respect at all for Lotus
    At least they could have taken Perez instead
    Shameful!!!

  68. Marybeth says:

    Was Grosjean paid this year…? Is Grosjean a pay driver…?

    1. C Lin says:

      Grosjean has Total $ backing so in that sense Lotus has 2 pay drivers for 2014.

      1. Marybeth says:

        @C Lin, Thank-you. :) Do you know who puts up the total $s…?

      2. audifan says:

        Total Oil are not only romains sponsor , they are the teams principal sponsor

  69. Geoff says:

    The problem for Lotus next year is not about how many car the crashed, its all about who helps the development. New rules next year need an experienced driver onboard to give the feedback.

    All top tier teams does have a driver with 8+ years of experience, Lotus = 0. What a silly decision.

    You know why Red Bull kept webber for so many years? I would say webber’s feedback on cars development is very valuable. He help Red Bull from 0 in 2007 to quad champions.

    Good luck lotus, by mid year next season you will be compete with Sauber and Williams.

  70. Deegs says:

    Oh Louts, wot ‘ave you done!?

    If Maldonado was a Mr. Men charactoer, he’d be a cross between Mr. Grumble, Mr. Clumsy, Mr. Bump, and Mr. Wrong.

    If he were a muppet, he’d be all of them.

    Yet again, The Hulk misses out on a decent drive…..[Mod] ain’t right!

    1. Random 79 says:

      +1

      Took you a few tries, but you finally got the mod trophy ;)

      1. deegs says:

        Thx random and Alex…. In truth I modded myself…
        Still shaking head over the decision…. Those crazy lotus kiddies…

    2. alexbookoo says:

      “if he were a muppet, he’d be all of them” wins funniest comment on this thread.

  71. Andy says:

    Poor Hulk, all I can say…. So we have a few interesting driver pairings at Lotus, Ferrari and Force India, this certainly will be very interesting!

  72. Txema says:

    james, I have a doubt. Pastor brings in principle with a lot of money contributed by PDVSA. But until what extent is sure that the contract will be respect and Lotus will receive that money? The economic and political situation in Venezuela and PDVSA is very uncertain and would be very bad for lotus to lost both Hulk and the money

  73. Bloke 127 says:

    I am reminded of what Lotus used to stand for – as anyone who owned one of their road cars would attest….

    Lots Of Trouble, Usually Serious

    1. Tim says:

      +1
      very funny comment :-)

  74. JB says:

    Ouch! Lotus seems to have gone backward quite a bit.
    With James Allison and Kimi Raikkonen leaving, Lotus might be as good as a Sauber now.

    Moreover, both Grosjean and Maldonado are very similar. Both of them are well known crash-kids and both of them brings plenty of sponsorship.

    I also read that the financial situation in F1 is not pretty. I mean there is always problem with money when teams don’t win. It seems pretty serious this time around with rumors that Sauber-Marrusia merging!!

  75. I know says:

    “PDVSA money” is a misnomer – they may write PDVSA on the car, but as everyone knows, that’s just a front for the Venezuelan government. I thought that, perhaps after Chavez departure, this particular version of panem et circenses would stop. Looks like the new government has also taken a liking to it. Thanks, Venezuelans, for paying for our expensive little pastime – who needs toilet paper anyway?

    1. alexbookoo says:

      Under Chavez and Maduro Venezuela has done an extraordinary job of reducing poverty and increasing literacy and healthcare. Last year the poverty rate dropped by 20% according to the World Bank (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/07/venezuela-not-greece-latin-america-oil-poverty).

      But even so I agree that Maldonado is not the best use of public money (but then nor is the Bahrain Grand Prix the best use of the Bahraini public’s money, or the Chinese Grand Prix the best use of…… etc).

  76. Giles says:

    My respect and admiration for the enstone team, (I won’t call them lotus any more, as frankly they don’t deserve the name) just went up in smoke.

    An utterly dreadful desition, Mr Lutz and Mr Boullier you should be ashamed of yourselfs!

  77. Mark Johnson says:

    This is just a reflection of the sorry state in F1 at the moment, when the dollar far outweighs the balance required to make it sport as well.
    Everyone accepts that on talent alone Hulkenburg would of been the pick over Maldonado. But it’s just another sign that even a top 4 team like Lotus can not survive without his backing, no matter their results.

    It’s also sad that everyone’s own self interests from the top teams through to the owners and management of the sport are not allowing themselves to resolve the deeper problems. Money while always is king in F1, right now it’s helping kill the sporting element, passion and talent that’s supposed to make it exciting to follow as well.

  78. roberto marquez says:

    I find it very sad when people find faults in those who they don t like ,Maldonado had a very bad car this year but at least he tried hard to make good times, which I think is the main reason he had so many accidents. Others just conform to a safe pace and no more.I am from Venezuela and as a lot of people here we do not approve PDVSA expending money on Formula 1, but as it is a done deal I hope Maldonado will show a lot of detractors that he is a good enough driver to be in the sport.By the way I would like to know how many drivers have gone through Formula 1 for 2 or 3 seasons and never won a single race, if somebody can publish this I would appreciate it.

    1. Tim says:

      By the way I would like to know how many drivers have gone through Formula 1 for 2 or 3 seasons and never won a single race..

      I don’t know exact numbers, but most drivers (and teams for that matter) go through their entire career, and don’t win any races. How many drivers won a race this year – 4 was it? That means 18 didn’t win or was it 19 including HK replacing KR at Lotus.

  79. Michael S says:

    I know many make fun of Maldanado. However, he did manage to win a race which is no easy task. Grosjean had a race winning car the past 2 years and has not won a race. Kimi had 6 2nd’s and a win this year. Grosjean had 1 second place only after Kimi stopped racing and no wins.

    I think Pastor and Romain will be close by mid year.

  80. Andrew says:

    I do worry about the Hulk changing teams so often. Not always his fault but needs to build on his successes rather than start again each time the season begins.

  81. Jorge Gaviria says:

    James, it will be interesting if you do an statistic saying how many nose changing had been during races in 2013 and what race driver has done it.

    1. ManOnWheels says:

      Alain Prost just called to say he doesn’t care about nose jobs.

  82. Mathew says:

    Let’s just hope Hulkenberg ends up in that Ferrari sooner rather than later. He needs to stop being overlooked :(

  83. Rohind says:

    People just assume Lotus will be competitive next year..But with all the regulation change, and the rumours that Mercedes engine is the one to have in 2014, they could very well finish on top of Lotus next year..The Hulk and Perez will be a strong line up

  84. DB says:

    Nothing againt pay drivers personally but surely if this trend continues it will be the death of the sport. F1 needs a wake up call but I think it is too late for me. Time to find another category or sport to follow. Shame.

  85. C Lin says:

    James, how many years contract do both Pastor & Romaine have with Lotus? Thanks.

  86. Anton says:

    Great, two nut cases in the same team. PM mixing at the top end of the grid can only end in fireworks. Lotus are going to have hefty repair bills next year.

    Wonder if Lotus also requested PM to see a psychologist as well. …:p

  87. Nick says:

    Does this mean Hulk and Perez at Sauber getting used to the Ferrari engines they’ll probably end up driving once Fernando goes to McLaren and Kimi has enough of the politics and finds something else to do?

  88. Denis 68 says:

    This is excellent news James.

    Lotus deserve Maldonado.

  89. Nick says:

    so much for the cream rising to the top.

    feel kind of robbed not seeing the best talent in the best cars …

  90. Nick says:

    This is the worst decision since the Trojans let that wooden horse in.

    1. George says:

      Lol +1 Like

    2. Torchwood Five says:

      LOL as well. Good one.

    3. Random 79 says:

      Worse: The Trojans had no idea that horse would wreak chaos. Lotus on the other hand….

  91. Elie says:

    Firstly no driver on the grid can “replace” Raikkonen and not just for his driving. How many sponsors were happy to come on board following his unprecedented social media presence. There has been no more consistently fast driver on the grid since his return.

    Reality bites people. You must appreciate the gravity of the situation !- Lotus, even after it collects millions in prize money won’t even be in a position to pay a fraction of its debts. Probably not enough to pay Kimi let alone its hundreds of suppliers. It won’t surprise me to see GENII pullout and the whole place fall or maybe even merge with someone like Marussia if Lotus don’t find big money in 2014.

    Maldonado is a wreckless driver , the irony is he’s like Grosjean of 2012 only with Latin temper to boot. Grosjeans a year advanced of him and maybe a competitive car will help Pastor settle. Pastor will beat Grosjean more than a few times .Grosjean is not consistently quick at all circuits ( same for Pastor in fact). But they each have their moments.
    Despite some great late season performances I still believe Grosjean was the most over rated driver of 2013. People seem to forget completely the first half of his season and even a few very poor on track decisions in his podium performances.

    Lotus lost a world champ good enough to earn them more than 200 pts each season. Of the remaining drivers how many can they be certain would do that – Hulk is good no doubt – but is it certain ?? and will it be worth more than € 36m to any team!- let alone a team in Lotus’s predicament. It really is a no brainer for Lotus !.. I don’t think its sad at all given their treatment of Kimi and their very public displays of anguish suggested they were using him and his name to gain value. Then they insult him and pay him nothing – good luck Lotus.

    As for those Di Resta fans- he does not deserve a Force India drive – he’s had three years to prove his mettle and 1 4 the place finish when others in front have failed does not future proof him. He deserves to be in F1 but maybe only a Caterham or Marussia. Sadly for him even those seats appear to be taken.The only thing he does exceptional well is talk himself up – maybe he’s been taking lessons from FA.! I think Sutil is a better driver – his year out didn’t slow him and another year will see him back to his best.

    1. George says:

      Dont’t understand,
      12 Paul di Resta 48
      13 Adrian Sutil 29
      What better way is there to compare team mates?

      1. Elie says:

        How do you compare 2012 when the guy wasn’t even there.
        Do you also take into account car failures or incidents.or the fact that one has had continuity and the other hasn’t.

    2. Cakes says:

      Maldonado a ‘wreckless’ driver? LOL, I think you meant reckless driver. Its a funny language.

      Jokes aside, I think Pastor is seriously quick and showed that last year at more races than people care to remember. I agree that this year he has lost his aggression a bit on the track and said stupid things off it. But he is no paydriver that people care to portray – I think it will be very close between him and Grosjean next year

    3. Phil Glass says:

      Elie: Well said.
      Dunno but I have a hunch that Mald might get on with the Lotus better than many of us expect……..
      Am I right to recall that unlike Massa and Grojean, Maldo never crashed twice into the same bit of wall on the same weekend [Monaco 2012] ?

      1. Elie says:

        In fairness to Felipe I think a front pull rod broke at Monaco. There’s a big bump that’s
        Just after the crest as you brake for the right hander- many drivers were locking up and getting loose on it very often.

        But I get your point the really good drivers rarely make the same mistake twice and you do see that in those 2. I think Pastor has proved he can be very fast but frustration gets the better of him easily and really Bottas highlighted that this season. In a better car he will be a real threat but I think Grosjean having the lead of the team might be the game changer

      2. Alvaro says:

        Phil: I totally agree with you…I Think that by the 6th race on…things will begin to change dramatically for good!!!

    4. Alvaro says:

      …Maldonado is a wreckless driver…that has won a Spanish Gp with a pole…and no crashes!!!….with an average car!!!

  92. Bikram says:

    http://www.reddit.com/r/formula1/comments/1qqqjz/why_the_lotus_deal_is_a_fantasy_who_are_quantum/

    Check this link James it seems that the Quantum guy is a [mod] man & lotus are still in trouble coz 30 million pounds is nothing for next year rules especially engines

  93. Taimur Niaz says:

    Guys I’m sorry to be deviating off topic, but there’s this video doing the rounds and I’d love to hear the opinion of a more experienced hand on it. The claim is that Ferrari is testing its V6 in a LaFerrari test mule. The sound is very different from the V12 in the LaFerrari and it also features an air intake not seen on the original model. However, it doesn’t sound like a V6 at certain points. Would love to know what those with an engineering background make of this.

    Here’s the link:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=od3H6Jxisfk

    1. Don says:

      interesting – thanks for sharing the link

  94. Koby Fan says:

    have to say the off-track dramas have been better than the on-track action this season.

    Great move by Pastor and Lotus; unfortunately for Pastor he is never far from controversy since his driving bans in GP2. Also think Lotus will underperform next year and Williams will improve.

    Is about time FIA allowed teams to field 2 drivers per car just like other series. Teams get more $ and more seats for talent + pay drivers.

  95. George says:

    The simple fact is, the lowest points scorer, who was roundly beaten by his team mate is in one of the quickest cars, at least by end of year pace. Maybe the Hulk will have his day, we all hope so! must be a tough pill to swallow – he has the maturity, character and speed Mal has demonstrated is so lacking – the Texas outburst is pretty unbelievable! Money makes the world go round and in F1 the wheels too so rough justice is the way it is; Go Roman next year then!

  96. Paige says:

    Simply put, this is a sad day for Formula One.

    There is no question who deserved to have a seat in a car that has been arguably the second best car in Formula One the past two seasons. That driver is Nico Hulkenberg. There is just simply no justification based solely on the criteria of talent for anyone having this seat ahead of him. Absolutely none. On top of it, he has more than paid his dues, scrapping his way with midfield teams and putting together impressive performances and, over the last two years, consistent results.

    There is only one reason why Maldonado could have gotten the ride ahead of Hulkenberg, and it’s the same reason why Williams dumped Hulkenberg for him. That reason is Venezuelan oil money. Maldonado has shown some speed, but many drivers who get to F1 have shown they can put together quick laps in qualifying if the car is right. But among the qualities that you associate with Maldonado, highlight reel speed isn’t one of them, but rather schizophrenic inconsistency and almost suicidal car-to-car tactics.

    1. Rayz says:

      Excellent post mate. Couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately though, Enstone’s financial uncertainty coupled with the Quantum investment group faffing about left Eric Boullier with no other choice really. He had to ensure the financial future of the team and Maldomoney was the quickest and surest way of doing so.

      I fully agree about the Hulk however. Deserved a top drive for 2014. But on the bright side, he is in great shape for 2015 if next year goes well for him. He might well have his pick of the top seats for 2015. Surely the Ferrari drive will open up due fire vs ice!! I wouldn’t be surprised if Button’s McLaren seat is up for grabs in 2015 as well if Magnussen is as good as people say he is. Might be the end of JB. Also, Hamilton and Rosberg is way to nicey nicey at the moment. Who knows where Hulk might be in 2015. One thing is for sure, he should be first in line for a top drive. Raikkonen was ahead of him in line for 2014 but nobody is for 2015. (Unless RoGro continues on upward trend).

      1. Paige says:

        It’s a sad state in F1 when the team that has built the second best car in F1 each of the past two seasons has to resort to taking a pay driver to keep itself afloat financially.

        As for Hulkenberg, I don’t know. Teams really seem to have behaved quite idiotically about him basically his entire F1 career- first Williams dumps him for Maldonado, then McLaren passes on him for Checo, and although it is hard to argue against signing Raikkonen, Hulkenberg sure made Ferrari look quite stupid down the stretch with a dog of a car under him. (Especially in light of the flare up of Kimi’s back problems.) Then you had Martin Whitmarsh demonstrate why he shouldn’t be Team Principal at McLaren, basically saying that they will not hire Hulkenberg because he is too big.

        Personally, I would already put him in the same class as Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, and Raikkonen- maybe even above all four of them in terms of sheer talent. If you’re Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, or McLaren, you better get wise and very quickly. Because one of the other three is eventually going to come to their senses and hire this guy, and you are going to live to regret it for a very long time.

        The most likely situation for him seems to be Ferrari, but we’ve been talking about this for two years now. Ferrari seem hell bent on putting Bianchi in the car one day, and while he is talented, I don’t think he’s shown the skill of Hulkenberg at any level of racing. There seems to be a very high probability that one of those two seats will open up for 2015, though, so who knows.

      2. Elie says:

        With respect I dont think Hulks quite that good. His collision with Hamilton at São Paolo 2012 was avoidable & he was the one attacking and lost FI solid points.
        He is certainly better than most though I agree with that and with a top car he will only get better.

    2. All revved-up says:

      I think one of the few positives out of this Lotus Hulk story is the likelihood that Lotus won’t be the 2nd fastest car in 2014. But with Hulk’s luck the Sauber will be faster than the FI next year!

      A second interesting story is whether carbon fibres will fly and Lotus run out of front wings in a race!

  97. Adam says:

    F1 is leaving a really bad taste lately, this is only the latest thing. Maldonado does not deserve a top seat in F1. How much of F1′s ‘quality’ is actually an illusion?

  98. Folkdisco says:

    Alonso is a pay driver, check the Santander numbers. He’s just a very good pay driver. Santander also supported Massa, til recently. Both Schumacher and Lauda started out as pay drivers. I think even Fangio’s first F1 drive was paid by supporters in Argentina. The question: is Maldonado good enough to be in the 2nd/3rd/4th best car? He was once. Spain ’12. Frank’s birthday. Fire in garage. P1. Top of podium. Strange things sometimes happen when the stars align. But that was a *very* strange result.

    1. The Spanish Inquisitor says:

      Very strange result….. FIA’s gift to Frank Williams…

  99. Ali says:

    after treating a world champ like the stuff that comes out of bulls back side, lotus has the picked up the best crash and burn driver line up for next year. mad dog mal and nut case gro. well at least, they will provide some amusement behind the two marussias

  100. Torchwood Five says:

    A lot of comments about respect being lost for Lotus.

    Although I had forgotten, I lost respect for that team while it was still Renault, when they promised reserve driver Karun Chandok that he would drive4 at the inaugural Indian GP that his dat, family, and perhaps himself were integral in making a reality, and when the weekend came up, turned round and gave the team the vote as to whether to field Karun or Heidfeld, and the team chose the latter.

    But my prejudices aside, the Lotus decision to for PDVSA’s cash was clearly a reluctant one, and if those who say they have lost respect cast their minds back 2-3 weeks, Lotus were the only team to say that Hulkenberg’s size and weight would not be an issue; that they expected their own engineers to work their way around the limitation.
    That attitude deserved some respect.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      It was Caterham promised Chandhok the India drive when under their former name of Team Lotus in 2011

  101. superdad says:

    I wonder if Kimi has been paid yet

  102. Baruni says:

    The last should actually read – “With Romain and Pastor I believe Lotus F1 Team will be able to cause quite a few CRASHES next year.”

  103. Nick B says:

    James, is there any chance of doing an article giving us a “league table” of how much sponsorship each driver brings? And what the companies do that sponsor them?

    It would quite interesting I think; we all know about Pastor, but Alonso brings Santander doesn’t he? Though the difference is that Fernando has been proven to be one of the best drivers. I’m most interested in the amount Di Resta brings versus Sutil; there’s a Scottish whiskey brand on the Force India, so I assume that’s Di Resta’s?

    I think it’d be pretty interesting, especially if we compared with the team’s own budget and driver salaries if possible…

    1. James Allen says:

      That’s a good idea
      Thanks

      1. nickb says:

        Cool; thanks! What would also be epic, though probably impossible, would be to give each team a handicap based on how large their budget was to organise a handicapped scoring system. I think you’d have to use timings rather than positions to make it work.

      2. Big Al 56 says:

        Can we please have this looking back over the decades, not just current guys?
        There have been pay drivers ever since I discovered formula one on the mid sixties.
        Name some names I hear you cry: Alex Soler Roig? George Eaton? And there have always been s. Americans with Dosh not just Pastor.

    2. Bikram says:

      Nick B the scotch advertised on the Force india is part of Vijay Malya’s Business United Breweries. Paul was not advertising any Scotch Whiskey but White & Mackay is part of United Breweries just like Kingfisher.

    3. Ross says:

      VJM owns the whiskey company. Nothing to do with Paul.

    4. ManOnWheels says:

      Whyte & Mackay belongs to the “United Breweries Group”, which is one of Vijay Mallya’s companies, even though DiResta as a Scottish driver for a company that produces Scotch looks like a good match, it’s not that he brought Whyte & Mackay to Force India.

      1. nickb says:

        Cool; cheers guys. I think that’s pretty interesting. I guess it would have been a plus point for Di Resta being Scottish when they signed him at least!

  104. Stephen Taylor says:

    2014 WCC Predictions
    1 Mercedes
    2 Ferrari
    3 Red Bull
    4 McLaren
    5 Force India
    6 Williams
    7 Lotus
    8 STR
    9 Sauber
    10 Caterhaam
    11 Marussia
    WDC 2014 top 10 Predictions
    1 Vettel
    2 Hamilton
    3 Rosberg
    4 Alonso
    5 Raikkonen
    6 Hulkenberg
    7 Button
    8 Ricciardo
    9 Grosjean
    10 Magnussen

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      oops Caterham

    2. Bryce says:

      Good on you for taking the time to put it together. Comparing the rankings, I assume that VET is your favourite?

      Pretty hard for me to see a team with the WDC being supported by a teamate that is only capable of 8th position, nor finishing 3rd in WCC behind the team with drivers 4 & 5, if in fact that is the case.

      Mathematically possible I suppose, but virtually impossible, particularly when the team comprising numbers 7 & 10 comes in at P4.

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        No Kimi is my favorite driver! I just think Alonso will beat him next year. Whilst Kimi will be a good short term for a season fix choosing Hulkenberg would have been better as it would show a long term view. I believe Kimi has made a mistake going back to Ferrari but only time will tell.

      2. Stephen Taylor says:

        Short term fix for a season.

    3. KRB says:

      If Mercedes win the WCC, then Hamilton will be WDC, guaranteed.

      The only time a WDC has come from the 3rd-placed WCC team is 1983, when Piquet one with Brabham. Ferrari and Renault were #1 and #2 in the WCC that year.

  105. Cedgy says:

    Great news! At least now Lotus will have the money to back pay Kimi as well as all their factory team members!

  106. Stephen Taylor says:

    Apparently the Quantum deal still might go ahead.
    See link below:
    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/111668
    Too late to sign Hulkenberg now though.

    1. ManOnWheels says:

      If that deal proves itself reliable – which means that all the money will come in with no cent missing, I’m ready to eat some humble pie, but I honestly don’t believe I’ll need to.
      Ijaz’ stories of famous, influential backers that, just like to remain unnamed, are not new – and are known from his latter fraud case.

  107. Torchwood Five says:

    James?

    Granted that the F1 Paddock has disbanded for a couple months, but is there any change in sentiment in F1 circles towards Heikki’s point-less performance for Lotus?

    Do they put it down to the difficulty of going into a new team for two races, or has his ‘stock’ gone down? Or up?

    1. James Allen says:

      I thought it was disappointing, after some decent free practice performances, but maybe they were not what they seemed

    2. Denis 68 says:

      Torchwood Five

      Let’s be honest about it, It’s highly unlikely that Valsecchi would have done any worse.

      Heikki has had more than enough chances to prove himself while Valsecchi will never even get a solitary chance.

      1. Torchwood Five says:

        Thank you both.

        First race, I was happy for Heikki, but when that was point-less, I would have been just as satisfied if Boullier had given Valsecchi the chance for Brazil.

        Hindsight is 20-20 of course. The decision to run Kovaleinen would have been exonerated by at least one point scored, but now I’m with you: Valsecchi wouldn’t have done any worse, and all the excuses about new systems, steering wheel buttons, team procedures, the GP2 champion would have had them covered.

  108. zx6dude says:

    don’t know if I should laugh or cry. did Lotus really replace Kimi with Pastor?!?!?! still can’t quite believe it…

  109. Alexis says:

    I’d rather watch Maldonado in a decent car than Hulkenberg personally. I just can’t gel with NH or get the slightest bit excited about him. He’s a bit boring isn’t he?

  110. Don says:

    What a shame Lotus is so broke… there are so many other talented drivers! Maldonado’s negative attitude is his downfall. His blaming Williams for his misfortunate conspiracy theory recently was pathetic – did he honestly think Williams would squander the chance of getting some constructors points just to jeopardize his last few races with them???

    He must be even more paranoid delusional than he looks!

    1. Alvaro says:

      How can you tell?…were you there?

  111. Ace says:

    So…
    1) Seriously injure a marshall because not slowing down despite warning flags
    2) using your car to drive across the front wing of another car
    using your car to drive into the front wheel of another car
    3) no regard for cars around him or rules of the track or rules of overtaking
    4) unapologetic over incidents he causes
    …..but hey this guy has £30m of sponsorship so lets take him. He may have won a race by total fluke because nobody else understood the tyres that day, but who cares.

    Grosjean’s first lap incidents last year were him being overenthusiastic. Maldonado though is just a thug on the track. Harsh and arguable, but that’s my opinion.

    1. Giles V says:

      this is my view of the man as well! hes a moaning underachiever

    2. zx6dude says:

      totally agree with you – can’t think of any driver that is less deserving of a place in F1.
      And you didn’t mention how he treated his own team – sabotage indeed! Pathetic

  112. Sean Cleary says:

    Pasto and hulk are both good drivers to be in f1. hulkenberg is far better. yes pasto got that win. but check out the average points tally for each driver and different picture is painted.

    when money talks, fans look elsewhere!

  113. Archie says:

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/formula-1/korean-grand-prix-lotus-team-2330370

    “…because we have worked hard to build our financial strength without having to rely on sponsorship from a driver.”

    Lotus live:
    Talking big and ignoring the reality

  114. Rudy says:

    So, that means the Mini Kimi will be replaced by Mini Pastor… Hmmm Sad [mod]

  115. Dane says:

    I used to really like this team while they had Raikkonen and Kubica, but they seem destined to fall backwards. Ferrari has poached their most talented staff and now they take on a pay driver over the talented Hulk. It’s back to the midfield in 2014 with the occasional podium.

  116. Peter says:

    F1 is in a mess when teams are making decisions to choose Maldonado over hugely more talented drivers. Will we ultimately get to the point where the grid is half filled with boy racers who have rich fathers or uncles that own an oil company. This is not compatible with what is supposed to be the pinnacle of motor sport. Well done Bernie, that another fine mess you’ve got us into.

  117. Grant H says:

    Hi james, different subject but any chance you will be doing a piece on the new tyre rules – mandatory pitstops / max stints lengths / implications on strategy / which drivers likely to suit – really think this change is interesting (not as if we have enough mouth watering changes on the way) thanks for your web site, have really enjoyed reading the posts this season, best F1 web sitep

  118. Dave Aston says:

    I can’t take F1 seriously anymore. Is it too much to ask to have the best drivers in the best cars?

  119. Sujith says:

    I don’t see anything stopping Romain Grosjean now, I see him becoming the most consistent challenger to Vettel if Lotus get their act together next season.

  120. stan says:

    lot of picking on lotus here. really they should never have taken that name it fitted better with caterham
    considering lotus’s budget they haven’t done too bad.
    At least the maldonado cash wont be squandered next year.
    Pastor seems as difficult to like as senna .
    I think people seem to forget that senna only became the most beloved F1 driver of all time after his demise and was prone to crashing into other cars.

  121. Steve says:

    Let’s look at the CVs of three drivers:
    Maldonado, Hulkenberg, Grosjean

    Number of GP2 titles: 1 each
    Number of pole positions: Maldonado and Hulkenberg 1, Grosjean 0
    Number of wins: Maldonado 1, Hulkenberg and Grosjean 0.

    Number of bans for dangerous driving: Grosjean 1, Maldonado and Hulkenberg 0

    People really do have a downer on Maldonado, but I’m really not sure why!

    1. Alvaro says:

      It is a xenphobia issue…!!

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