Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Engine Blood's Guide To 2014: Lotus

IN SHORT: They were acceptable in the eighties; they were acceptable at the time.

HISTORY: The Enstone team - The Artists Formerly Known As Toleman, Benetton And Renault - have had a very odd tenure in Formula One, with titles for Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso and a who's who of excellent drivers - Nelson Piquet!  Ayrton Senna!  Gerhard Berger!  Robert Kubica!  Johnny Herbert!

(Oh, come on: he was a decent driver.  Three more wins than Brundle...)

Sadly this came mixed with season after season of mediocre performances, the infamous Megatron engine and a period spent employing The Unfortunate Vitaly Petrov.  They've rallied in the last couple of years thanks to reminding everyone of the eighties with their black and gold livery, plus the rehabilitation of Kimi Raikkonen; sadly they forgot to pay him, and their greatest asset has hobbled off into the sunset, leaving a skint team with an uncertain future.


Source: Autosport

HOLY JESUS!  The...  What the...  Why?  We can't...  Whatever did you...  Ni...  It's got...

Sigh.  We're not looking forward to this season.

ENGINE: Renault, just like in them eighties.  Remember then?  When Phil Cool's rubber-faced Aquaphibian impersonations had them rolling in the aisles?  When the showdown between the Sinclair Spectrum and the Commodore 64 had as all on the edge of our seats?  And when the Enstone actually had some money?


8. Romain GROSJEAN (FRA) - Last year: 7th (132 points, best finish: 2nd, USA)

13. Pastor MONEYNADO (VEN) - Last year: 18th (1 point, best finish: 10th, Hungary)

We coined the phrase "Grosjeanned" two years ago, to describe the process or experience of being driven into by Romain Grosjean, usually on lap one.  It was used so often on these pages that it has been accepted into the Oxford English Dictionary*.  He matured into the team leader role at the end of last season, albeit with the help of a sports psychologist, and this is his year to step up or shut up.

Pastor Maldonado will have you believe that Williams were deliberately sabotaging him last year; that's a scary prospect if true, but it doesn't seem he's been able to back up his accusations with any proof at present.  What he does have is Venezuelan oil millions, which got him into this cash-strapped team over the vastly better Nico Hulkenberg.  Maldonado is a race winner - somehow - and if motivated may be able to deliver to a certain extent, but has a very low upside compared to most.

LAST YEAR: 4th (315 points)

Kimi RAIKKONEN (FIN) - 5th (183 points, 1 win: Australia)
Heikki KOVALAINEN (FIN) - 21st (0 points, best finish: 14th, USA and Brazil)

Raikkonen looked to be a championship challenged for all of one race; it was downhill from there of course, but it was a nice dream while it lasted.  Again, Kimi based his tactics on tyre preservation with much success, whilst his teammate got on with the important business of trying not to suck.  Spare a thought for poor Heikki as well, who apparently ruined his chance of a Caterham return with his under-par substitute performances.  Mind you, it might have been a lucky escape.

PROSPECTS: Lost their head honcho to McLaren at the last second, and with the begging bowls already out this could be quite a rubbish term.

* = not even slightly true

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