2013 British Grand Prix
Lotus team principal Eric Boullier says strategy errors such as the one Lotus made at Silverstone won’t lead Kimi Raikkonen to leave the team.
Raikkonen has been tipped to join Red Bull in 2014 as a replacement for Mark Webber who is leaving F1 to race in the World Endurance Championship.
During the second Safety Car period at the British Grand Prix Lotus deciding against putting Raikkonen on a fresh set of tyres. It left him vulnerable to several drivers who had and he fell from second to fifth in the final laps.
“It was pretty obvious with hindsight that we made the wrong call,” Boullier admitted. “Kimi was pretty frustrated when he got out of the car which is understandable – we wouldn’t want a driver who
wasn’t frustrated after what happened – but there’s no point sitting in the corner sulking. We’re focused on getting a good result in Germany.”
“Kimi’s an intelligent guy and he won’t let a single pit stop call define a decision like where to drive for 2014,” Boullier added. “One of his psychological strengths is that he clearly lets you know when he’s upset about something, then he refocuses and gets on with the next challenge very quickly. He seems to like being with Lotus F1 Team and we’re doing everything we can to show him this is the place to be for next season and beyond.”
Trackside operations director Alan Permane said whichever decision Lotus could have taken at that point in the race posed a degree of risk:
“Having stopped moments beforehand, Fernando [Alonso] was extremely fortunate with the timing of the safety car. Mark [Webber] was on options that were fading fast, so the timing of Sebastian [Vettel] parking his Red Bull in a place where a safety car was needed was most fortuitous for Mark. Nico [Rosberg’s] lead was such that he had a free stop.
“Of the cars, like us, who were on hard tyres and planning to go to the end, Daniel [Ricciardo] and Adrian [Sutil] stayed out just like us. Based on the information we had at the time and what we believed the pace difference to the medium tyre would be, the call was made to stay out because we believed that our tyres were in good enough shape to run to the end in that position.
“Had we pitted for [medium compound tyres] and seen Kimi stuck behind Daniel and Adrian for the remainder of the race we would have been equally criticised, so it was a risk either way.”
2013 British Grand Prix
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Image © Lotus/LAT