Formula One 2013: Lotus team report

LotusTeam: Lotus Renault (4th in 2012 constructor’s championship)

2012 Drivers: Kimi Raikkonen (207pts, 3rd place in 2012 driver’s championship), Romain Grosjean (96pts, 8th in championship)

2013 Drivers: Kimi Raikkonen (Car Number 7) and Romain Grosjean (8)

New Car: The Lotus-Renault E21 pictured above is so similar looking to last year’s car, many a wag suggested at its launch it was last year’s car, including the ‘immodest’ 2012-style boxer’s nose. It isn’t, of course. Its name-you’ll-hear-more-of designer James Allison has more than fine-tuned the E20 in the search for a smidge more downforce. Last year’s double DRS is back in theory, we’ll have to wait for a week to see if it’s there in, um, practice.

What Lotus says about its 2012 season: “Well, you say that Kimi, but…”

What Sunday Afternoon Club says about 2012: Lotus won a race in 2012, notched umpteen podiums and had one of its drivers in contention for the title until the end of the season. Ultimately, however, it finished fourth in the championship behind Red Bull and Ferrari and McLaren.

Ferrari, it should be pointed out, had a similar asymmetry in its drivers’ performances, before you point out Lotus was a bit of a one-car team last year. And arguably, Lotus had a better car.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying, much as we like Lotus (who doesn’t?) there’s no getting around the fact they are part of the following pack. Without the last fractions of seconds that having a budget the size of Red Bull, Ferrari or McLaren’s brings as, frankly, does having a Vettel, Alonso or Hamliton in the car, Lotus needed the top three to slip up. The danger this year is that the top three becomes a top four, and Mercedes manages to vest all that talent and cash.

Raikkonen’s comeback was a bit of an enigma in that we rarely got the pace and aggression of McLaren-Kimi, but he also seemed over phoning it in like Ferrari-Kimi. Is he as good as he was? Almost. Is that best as good as VETALOHAM? Probably not. So you see Lotus’s problem. Romain Grosjean might not be the answer either. We don’t doubt his speed, but it is going to take some extraordinary head-shrinking for him ever to feel anything else than utterly paranoid on those first laps.

What Lotus has to do to impress the Sunday Afternoon Club this year: If Lotus continues to mess with the hegemony of the top six cars it will be one hell of result, budgets considered and all that. If it can keep a resurgent Mercedes at bay we’ll be impressed too, but even after a ‘good winter’ we suspect podiums and not wins will be the target for Lotus this year.

If you pay any attention to testing… In the last Barcelona test (where one assumes the cars were closer to the spec in which they’ll race) Kimi was eighth fastest, RoGros 16th. It should be pointed out that at Jerez and at the first Barcelona tests the E21 flew. When it held together.

Who are Lotus really racing this year? Of the top six cars in front, McLaren looks the weakest going in to round one, but by mid-season we suspect beatimng Mercedes will be more of an issue.

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Lotus has better car than Ferrari???


The car that only good on extreme hot weather condition but went sh!t on cool track??

After summer break, they lose out in season development while ferrari continue to flies.

What a pointless article.

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“having a Vettel, Alonso or Hamliton in the car”
“Raikkonen’s comeback was a bit of an enigma in that we rarely got the pace and aggression of McLaren-Kimi”

What a load of crap. Michael Harvey, did you even watch last season ?
I honestly don’t know how you could come up with such conclusions.
Do you have any F1 knowledge at all ??

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Let’s face it though, Kimi wasn’t as good as VETALOHAM last year and he did seem to lack speed/motivation at points. He took too long to get the job done or just didn’t do it at all á la Bahrain. He didn’t have the raw speed of Grosjean let alone the ‘big three’ so I think it’s a fair article. Definately not crap.

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Say what now?
Kimi finished the championship 3rd, 17 points clear of the “fastest” driver in F1.
This after a two year sabbatical from the sport.

He also managed two race fastest laps at Malaysia and Silverstone.
Hamilton managed one over the course of the season.

Biased much?
The Iceman cometh in 2013, mark my words.

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Raikkonen is not at the same level as Hamilton Alonso or Vettel? He was right up there with them nearly all of the season in an inferior car and outperformed one of them in the final standings. This article is not very well informed.

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So if I understand correctly from the last few articles Hamilton joins Mercedes and thus makes them one of the top teams? I’m a Hamilton fan but Mercedes was crap last season and will probably be so this time again. Lotus was the better team, and Kimi was stunning as usual. And if Lotus was a one man team, what about Ferrari? Don’t underestimate Lotus and Sauber, and conversely, don’t overestimate Mercedes .

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The person writing all this clearly has no idea what happened in 2012. Kimi not as good as VETALOHAM? Really? Are you out of your mind? What a tosser

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I have to agree with the comment made by displaced.
credit where credit is due he is a former world champion not something easily won there is no point dwelling on his days at mclaren or ferrari, he finished 3rd last season because he is a good skillful driver who stayed out of trouble unlike grosjean and he has got a good team behind him who clearly know how to build a good relaible car they may not have the financial might of red bull ferrari etc but im pretty sure kimi finished more races than any of the others up front which counts for a lot you can have the fastest car by miles but if its not reliable your probably not going to win much

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