Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014

Lotus aiming for top four in championship – Lopez

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Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014In the round-up: Lotus team chairman Gerard Lopez says his team can compete for a top four position in the championship.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Gerard Lopez: Lotus have paid Renault for power units… name those who haven’t (Daily Mail)

“I think we will now have a normal season, which for us is being able to fight for being the third, fourth team.”

Red Bull sure it will keep Ricciardo (Autosport)

“Daniel is on a long-term contract with the team and it will be highly unlikely he will be anywhere else next year – unless of course Ferrari are chasing him as well.”

Bernie Ecclestone tells F1 teams they ‘must learn to spend less’ (The Independent)

“There are four teams that are not in the Strategy Group and why not? Because the people that are have committed to racing in Formula One to 2020 and have put up sensible guarantees if they don’t.”

Prost: F1 needs to be explained (Sporting Life)

“What they are doing is fantastic in a way, but has not been very well explained, and that is a problem.”

Q&A with Pirelli’s Paul Hembery (F1)

“My guess is that in 90 percent of cases people know what we are going to choose. There is maybe only one or two small selection decisions that you will have during the year.”

Tyre issues from Spain solved – Massa (ESPN)

“We did a run and had zero problems for degradation compared to the race. The only difference in the race was traffic, so that’s something we really need to be ready for, especially races where we are going to be stuck behind.”

Lewis Hamilton with Nico Rosberg Hamilton could be ‘impossible to beat ‘(BBC)

“I do wonder if he is just cruising. I think he has another gear. He is so focused on the job, I think he will be almost impossible to beat.”

Access All Areas – The Simulator (Mercedea via YouTube)



Romain Grosjean, Renault RE40, Silverstone, 2014

Romain Grosjean drove the Renault RE30 which Alain Prost finished second in the championship in 1983 with at a media event at Silverstone to promote the British Grand Prix yesterday. Damon Hill was also reunited with his championship-winning Williams-Renault FW18.

Comment of the day

An personal recollection of the 1994 Monaco Grand Prix from @Melkurion:

This race holds a special place in my heart as it was the first Formula One race I ever watched! I was 14 years old, almost 15. I was just zapping and came up on this just ten minutes before the start. I had convince my mum I wasn’t just watching it for the sake of watching TV, but because I genuinely was interested.

I didn’t know about what had happened the race before, the only knowledge I had of F1 at the time came from some old Michael Valiant comics I found in an old stash from my dad a few years earlier.

I was hooked, and a Schumacher fan, straight away and I have missed hardly a race ever since.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Rob A!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Ferrari enjoyed a one-two finish at Monaco for the first time 15 years ago today. Michael Schumacher came home half a minute ahead of Eddie Irvine.

Mika Hakkinen joined them on the podium after skidding down an escape road.

Here’s the beginning of the race:

Images © Lotus/LAT, Silverstone/Ebrey

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Keith Collantine
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  • 65 comments on “Lotus aiming for top four in championship – Lopez”

    1. Ben (@scuderia29)
      16th May 2014, 0:37

      That monaco clip from 1999, so much nostalgia, thats Formula 1 for me..Schumacher in a ferrari, Murray commentating, screaming v10 engines, ferrari vs mclaren. That was my childhood, at school all week thinking about the next grand prix. I didnt want that clip to end aha.

      1. I remember watching this race, what a start from the Ferrari drivers. And the sound, wow, really miss it.

      2. Watch that clip from 7:55 onwards. Very scary!!

        1. Very cool, probably looked alot worse than it was, Shuie would have seen the yellow flag marshall standing in the track, even if one had tripped over I doubt he would have been squashed….

      3. Same here, 97-99 were I think, the part of F1 history that I love the most.

      4. 91 onwards is where most of my memories begin. I have some adventures at Adelaide GP in 85 and 87, but 91 is when I started full time watching F1. 94 obviously is some of the most vivid memories, however, 95 and 96 were memorable for me for all different reasons.
        I can relate to waiting for the weeks to churn away, while waiting til the next race came… In fact, I think most of us have been there at one point or another, probably half the reason we’re here on F1F :)

      5. Man they were loud at Monaco – great to hear them drowning Murray out and Brundle unable to hear himself think! This year’s engines should still make some noise as they echo around there – I hope it helps put a stop to all the brainless, negative attention on noise. F1 should celebrate its most famous race, like Indycar is doing, not treat it as just another event (and hide it away behind a paywall).

        And what a strong field it was by ’99 – good drivers all the way back (with only one or two pay-drivers) to Pedro de la Rosa running last. It took a few years but F1 had recovered well from the losses and retirements at the beginning of 1994.

    2. It’s about time the FIA, Bernie and Pirelli got together and decided that F1 tyres should be designed to be able to run in traffic and even more importantly able to survive close quarters racing if we are to see drivers overtaking in situations other than pitstops, DRS or the sucker-punch that results from having new options versus old primes. If we ever want to get back to the days of race long battles between the cars we have to improve the durability and operating range of the tyres.

      1. Well… We had a race long battle between Lewis and Nico last race. Didn’t we?

        1. YEs, we did have a race long batte @mike. But the point @hohum is making, is that this battle took place mainly on the timing screens and in radio messages where we could follow how each driver was increasing/stabilizing/closing the gap and planning when to get close to have a go / how to stop them from getting closer.

          The tyres still mean that Rosberg almost immediately after the start dropped to a 2 second gap to keep his tyres up and going (just as Ricciardo was advised to do with Bottas). Now if the tyres would endure running in dirty air, then we could have seen Rosberg being on Hamilton’s tail, possibly making feints and having a go at every little mistake Hamilton made. Sure, maybe not in the first stint when Lewis was on top of the world, but surely in the second stint he was vulnerable to making mistakes.
          Having your teammate in your mirrors all the time certainly puts on the pressure and surely is more of an exciting prospect for many fans watching instead of the strategic chess match we saw now.

          1. A lot of the backing off we see is also because of over heating issues.

            1. @jdunset, those overheating issues are easily resolved by moving out of the slipstream on the straighter bits of track, not a problem if there isn’t a pile of shredded semi-liquid tyre compound, and that is another good reason for more durable tyres.
              @bascb. Thanks for having the patience to explain the obvious.

          2. Hugo-The-Rabbit
            16th May 2014, 9:24

            But the main reason the tyres dont last as well is because the cars dont get as much down force from the dirty air. Thus the cars slide more causing them to wear faster. People always complain that something is wrong and when the issue is being fixed people moan because they are getting slower. Just accept that it is never going to be 100% right and enjoy the fact that for the first time in how many years we have a team that are on a different level to the rest but still let them race and provide us with some real thrills.

            1. Unfortunately you have a point, there is a group of people for whom the lap time is more important than the demonstrated skill of the driver, watch the in-board view of one off Vettels fast laps from last year and observe that the lap is very fast but Vettels actions are not, they are measured, smooth almost slow because of the grip generated by downforce and gumball tyres, compare that with a fast lap on harder tyres this year, the lap is a couple of seconds slower but the drivers actions and reactions are a lot faster, I know which I prefer to watch, your preference may be different.

          3. @bascb It’s not the tires that’s your problem, it’s physics.


            That was a DAMN close race. Damn close. Look at the graph.

            If you want a race where Nico tries to pass every lap. Great, But you’ll not have it.

            1. First of all @mike, we are not talking about “my problem” here, but about my attempt to explain the comment about the tyres not helping to give us good close racing.

              I know the graph, thank you. I have watched the race and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you want to get snarky, at least do it at the right person (the comment you reacted to intitially).

              Now, lets get to business. How is the tyres suffering more when the cars get into dirty air NOT about physics?
              Yes, we all know its not easily going to happen, and I also think its unlikely to even be attempted.
              But its neither against the laws of nature/agains science. This is about applied physics. And its not going to happen because of convenience / having to invest in rethinking your approach / risk of losing advantages that currently exist, but that while a law of common human behaviour, is not physics at all.

            2. @bascb Sorry, “The problem” then.

              When one car follows another closely it’s aerodynamics lose effectiveness. In order to stay at the same pace, assuming they are being driven alike, then the tyres need to take more punishment to compensate.

              What you are asking for is a tyre that doesn’t change in performance as it wears. Or alternatively, one that is so hard that it practically doesn’t wear. I don’t see any other alternative that would allow for the second car not to be penalized by running closely, and I don’t think either of those are possible and/or desirable.

      2. F1 tyres should be designed to be able to run in traffic

        @hohum luckily Bernie Ecclestone’s power doesn’t quite reach as far as changing the laws of physics.

      3. The sheer quantity of tyres is quite ridiculous. It is a lot of rubber to cart around all over the world. Particularly when F1 is supposed to be cutting down on costs and going green.

        There should be one set of ‘hard’ tyres for the race that then get re-used for the practice sessions at the next race.

        There should also be some ‘soft’ qualifying specials that are able to last the whole of qualifying, so nearer to today’s ‘hard’ tyre.

        Then, ‘to add interest’ the teams should be made to start (and finish?) on the ‘qualifying specials’ but run a stint on the ‘hard’ tyre.

        You would also have the wet/intermediate tyres too.

        Also, it is time to move away from the ‘balloon’ tyres to something more low-profile, in part to cut down on the amount of rubber wasted.

      4. The sheer quantity of tyres is quite ridiculous. It is a lot of rubber to cart around all over the world. Particularly when F1 is supposed to be cutting down on costs and going green.

        There should be one set of ‘hard’ tyres for the race that then get re-used for the practice sessions at the next race.

        There should also be some ‘soft’ qualifying specials that are able to last the whole of qualifying, so nearer to today’s ‘hard’ tyre.

        Then, ‘to add interest’ the teams should be made to start (and finish?) on the ‘qualifying specials’ but run a stint on the ‘hard’ tyre.

        You would also have the wet/intermediate tyres too.

        Also, it is time to move away from the ‘balloon’ tyres to something more low-profile, in part to cut down on the amount of rubber wasted.

    3. That Renault has a proper racing livery! Looks fantastic!

      1. The car itself is a beauty.

    4. Watching the clip from 99 just reminded me how much I miss Murray Walker’s commentary. Crofty isnt bad or anything but I just feel that he’d be more at home rattling off deals of the day at a flea market.

      On F1 and the cost cap, I really dont see how it can work. Unless you create a franchise like setup like American sports, there is no way. The debate has raged on in football for years. Michel Platini’s FFP will curtail some of the nouveau riche, but it doesnt necesarily stop the likes of Man City and PSG from operating at a loss.

      Bernie is a being his usual cheeky self, asking teams to “spend less”. Sure Bernie, I hear Vijay Malaya has got his abacus out. You get the feeling that F1 needs to save itself from itself. Calls to spread the revenue out more evenly is probably a good start, but its just going to be a temporary fix isnt it? The more money teams have, the more they will spend it, and then in a few years, we’re back to where you started.

      This issue with haves vs have nots will continue to rage until everybody agrees that the sport needs a massive shake up in it fundamentals.

    5. HAMILTON CAUGHT CHEATING AGAIN! Both Damon Hill and Derek Warick believe Hamilton is useing an extra gear, the FIA should throw the book at this cheating Brit and all his points given to Fernando who would have won if he had an extra gear like Hamilton.

      1. Just thought I would get in first and nip this in the bud.

        1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          16th May 2014, 2:22

          It’s: “InB4 Ignorant Hamilton hate comments”.

      2. All that and he bent Vettel’s chassis when nobody was looking.


      3. I am very confused.

        1. William Jones
          16th May 2014, 8:04

          I suspect the OP read the headline from this article: without bothering to read the actual content and jumped to conclusions.

          1. William Jones
            16th May 2014, 8:05

            Lets be kind and say it’s a mistranslation.

            1. William Jones
              16th May 2014, 8:09

              Or the much more likely, now I see that article was in this article (oh the irony!) sarcasm!

          2. He’s being sarcastic. I would have thought the “all his points given to Fernando” comment would have sealed it if there was any doubt ;)

      4. Then they realise it’s 2014 and 8th gear is allowed…. Incidentally Mercedes haven’t used 8th gear yet.. perhaps it is for Canada and Spa/Monza?

    6. I think that Bernies daughters should learn to spend less and F1 teams should earn what they deserve.

      1. Very true, and don’t forget that Bernie himself has an annual income that equates to $2million + per week and you can bet that all Bernies 1st.class travel and accommodation expenses are billed back to the teams.

      2. Indeed.

      3. Touché.

    7. Lopez is dreaming if he thinks Lotus can really achieve 4th in the Constructors race. First off, Torro Rosso, McLaren, Williams and Force India may have something say about this. Plus, Grosjean is going to have score an awful lot of points to make this happen.

      1. Grosjean will score the points, Maldonado will make sure none of those others make it to the finish line. It’s all been calculated.

        1. If you take Grojeans points scoring total and minus the negative points received by Maldonado, we could look at Lotus in last place.

          I think its Maldonado could be set for a record breaking year, I don’t believe any driver has even finished a season with a negative points total

        2. Pastor is one of leaders in penalty points, there they can finish top 4 :)

      2. I don’t think STR will be much concern for them, McLaren look possible, Ferrari maybe if they don’t get a grip on themselves too. Williams will probably drop back over the season as will FI.

        I think 4th is a realistic target to set yourself as a team for Lotus to have something to work towards and motivate the team. Off course it can only happen when Maldonado stops binning the car and having to do stop and goes.

        1. @bascb yeah I agree, I think 4th is an optimistic, but achievable target. We haven’t seen them operate at full potential yet and they still finished ahead of FI and McLaren in Spain. I think the first three places at the end of the year will comfortably be Merc, RedBull, and Ferrari, but any of FI, McLaren, Williams or Lotus could claim the next place.

          1. Ofc the Maldonado factor could count against them. If it’s tight from 4th to 7th it’s possible he could cost the team several positions in the championship. Almost worth seeing to prove hiring him for the $30 million sponsorship is actually a false economy (wonder what his repair bill tally has already taken out of that…).

            1. We can wish.. but Maldonado is helping two teams on the grid race this year! (Lotus + Williams)

      3. Grosjean will score an awful lot of points from now on. It’s what he does.
        Look out for Maldonado, in a good way, at Monaco – he’s useful round there.

        1. @bullfrog

          Look out for Maldonado, in a good way, at Monaco

          Tell that to Perez ;)

          1. @bullfrog @george
            People tend to forget this but in 2011 he was running in 6th in that turd of a Williams at Monaco until Hamilton knocked him out of the race with 3 laps remaining… of course, doesn’t make up for the numerous other flaws he has but it’s still something.

            1. 5 laps*

      4. Lopez said a few races ago that Lotus would finish in the points at the Spanish GP and he was right. I think they can do it, given McLarens poor car.

    8. Bernie has his reasons to favour the big teams, but saying that privateers are not committed to F1 is just wrong. Usually it’s the marketing exercise teams like Mercedes or Red Bull, who tend to pull out the minute they think they’re not getting proper return on their investment. Now Bernie has taken care of that by offering the selected teams large sums of cash for nothing more than taking part in the championship. He leaves the small teams out in the cold and then complains that they’re not commited. Teams like Sauber only exist to race in F1, it’s an insult to call them not committed. Yes, their commitment can be questioned because of financial reasons, but part of the blame has to go to the unequal sharing of “prize” money (so, Williams got a prize for getting rid of Adam Parr?).

      1. And you have to wonder whether the other teams were given the opportunity to pledge their commitment for another six years.

        1. Maybe they might have – but only one-sidedly – giving their guarantees that they would be in the sport without getting anything back for it @keithcollantine

    9. COTD backs up a pretty recent COTD about someone channel flicking to watch F1 and getting hooked:
      I know this is how I got interested in F1 and I certainly would not be a fan now if it wasn’t for the free to air coverage from the BBC.

    10. I’d just like to point Bernie to this article:

      He is the most contradictory man on this planet.

    11. 4th might be a bit of a long shot for Lotus, but it is a good target to motivate their employees. Their car has now proven to be a pretty decent car, and could potentially have beaten the Ferraris in Spain were it not for an apparent problem with Grosjean’s PU.

      They will probably overtake Toro Rosso in the standings in the next couple of races. McLaren are some distance ahead points-wise but they could be caught on current form – the season’s long. I would imagine they’ll improve though. Williams could be catchable if they can’t keep up in the development race. I find it hard to imagine they could catch Ferrari and Force India though. Their driver line-ups will make it difficult, and Ferrari should develop at a better rate than Lotus, really.

      So perhaps 5th is realistic, as long as both drivers have trouble-free weekends. Maldonado probably just needs to have a good weekend to build confidence, but that needs to come soon before the season starts to pass him by, as it then would with Lotus. Grosjean shouldn’t be relied on to drag the team up the table on his own. Maldonado went well at Monaco in 2011 until the Hamilton incident if that’s any reassurance for him for next weekend…

    12. Great round up Keith, so many interesting views, Lopez shutting down Renault, Horner saying the team is easier to manage now, take that Mark! Bernie pulling another PR stunt while not doing anything about it as Prost reminds us what is wrong with F1. Hembrey tells us the teams know what’s going on while Massa tells us the Williams is the new McLaren, it hates dirty air. Damon Hill stirs the British pot while The Monaco clip reminds us what type of conditions Damon experienced. Bring on next week

      1. Good round up of the round up!

    13. There was definite improvement at Spain for Lotus but with one driver picking up Championship points and the other only picking up penalty points, fourth may be a bit of a struggle, especially with Bottas looking handy in the Williams and Force India having two drivers who are pretty capable of bringing results.

      1. perhaps once maldonado gets his race ban, they can pick up points with both cars (assuming they let pic drive it, and not someone like kovalainen). and who knows, maybe maldonado might pick up two race bans this season, imagine if lotus were to go with gro and pic in abu double this year! i think that could work out nicely for them.

    14. Mercedes: “Access All Areas But The Simulator”

    15. It’s highly unlikely that Lotus will finish 4th in the championship due to having a driver like Maldonado…

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