Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Monza, 2013

Who should Lotus hire to replace Raikkonen?

Debates and pollsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Warsaw, 2013With Kimi Raikkonen’s move to Ferrari now official, attention turns to the ramifications for his former team.

With a major change in the technical rules looming for 2014, the loss of Raikkonen deprives Lotus of valuable continuity in its driver line-up. Before the deal was announced team principal Eric Boullier admitted they would be more likely to hold on to Romain Grosjean if Raikkonen left.

Assuming Grosjean stays, who would be the best partner for him in 2014?

Felipe Massa

A straight swap for Ferrari’s outgoing driver Felipe Massa would be neat, but what would it say about Lotus’s position in Formula One if they took the driver Ferrari discarded?

More to the point, does Massa have what it takes to lead a front-running F1 team? Sadly, it’s not looked that way since his return from injury at the beginning of 2010.

There have been flashes of the old Massa, the one who came within a point of winning the 2008 title: he ended 2012 strongly and began this season fairly well. But Lotus would have to be very confident they could coax Massa’s best performances out of him on a regular basis to consider him a serious option.

Jenson Button

Is Jenson Button really available? He signed a contract extension in 2011 which team principal Martin Whitmarsh described as a three-year deal at the time. However he has since indicated a 2014 deal has not yet been signed.

Button has made clear his preference is to stay at McLaren. But if Eric Boullier wants to replace one world champion with another, Button surely represents his best chance.

Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Facing adversity on the driver market seems to lead to inspiration on the track for Nico Hulkenberg.

In 2010 Williams told him he was being dropped to make way for Pastor Maldonado’s petro-Bolivars, and Hulkenberg responded by sticking the car on pole position in Brazil. This year Ferrari sent him a text to advise his services would not be required in 2014, and not long afterwards he outqualified both their cars at Monza en route to a fine fifth place in the race.

There have been many more signs that Hulkenberg is ready for the big time. Following his nomadic tour of the midfield, Lotus could represent a chance to build a long-term future with a team who can challenge for wins – and perhaps championships.

Pastor Maldonado

The man who replaced Hulkenberg at Williams could also be in line for the Lotus drive. He has the advantage of bringing substantial backing courtesy of the Venezuelan government, and has proven his speed with victory in last year’s Spanish Grand Prix.

But he has also demonstrated an inability to keep out of trouble. He is leading the drivers’ penalties table for the third year in a row. Do Lotus really want to pair Grosjean with the only driver who outstrips him in terms of combining raw pace with a frustrating inability to race cleanly?

Jerome D’Ambrosio

Stood in for Grosjean during his one-race ban last year and has a full year at Marussia under his belt. D’Ambrosio has been working on Lotus’s simulator this year and may be a more credible prospect for the seat than he seems at first glance.

Davide Valsecchi

Last year’s GP2 champion has already replaced Raikkonen once, when he stood in for him during testing at the Circuit de Catalunya earlier this year. But these are big shoes for a rookie to fill. The best he might realistically hope for next year is the chance to do some more testing.

Over to you

Who should Lotus replace Raikkonen with? Make your pick from this selection of drivers who are believed to be on the market for next year, those who have recently left the sport but not retired from F1, and last year’s feeder series champions.

[poll id=”434″]

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Images ?? Ferrari/Ercole Colombo, Sauber

205 comments on “Who should Lotus hire to replace Raikkonen?”

  1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
    12th September 2013, 12:49

    Nico Hulkenberg. He is by far Lotus’s best option – great pace and an obvious future WDC.

    1. +1 on that.

      I’d love to see Massa follow Webber to the WEC. I really think he can shine again there. But his time in F1 has ended, sadly.

      1. I agree. Massa and Webber at Porsche would be a fantastic line up and would attract a lot of publicity for the series. It’d be great to see Massa on the podium again – something, sadly, I don’t think he’ll achieve in any of the available F1 seats.

    2. I agree, Hulkenebrg is just what they need, and I think Lotus is just what Hulk needs ;-)

      I’d love to see Massa-Hulkenberg on Lotus, but it’s very unlikely that is going to happen, since it’s almost certain they will keep Grosjean.

    3. I’d also say Hulk – hopefully they don’t dive in performance if he signs he has a bit of bad luck that way.

    4. I’d love to see Hulkenburg in the Lotus next year, but only if it is a competitive car. With James Allison moving to Ferrari, and question marks over the engines next year (I think I heard at one point Mercedes had an engine 100hp more powerful than any others – very unlikely I know) it might make sense for him to sit tight for another year. With the potential for a rift to form between Alonso and Ferrari over the next season if they once again fail to produce a very competitive car, there may be a seat at Ferrari the following season, or one of the other top teams.

      For me, Lotus would be a big risk next season, particularly with the financial issues, and the last thing I want to see is another incredibly talented, young driver losing an opportunity at a top team because of an uncompetitive car. I think Lotus should go with Maldonado next season in order to secure finances, and should hopefully then be able to lure bigger names to the team to increase their competitiveness for following seasons.

    5. I would love to see Hülkenberg and Fabio Leimer at Lotus next year, only for Renault to buy Lotus and become a proper factory team again

    6. They gave a reboot to Kimi’s career and it worked.

      Why not Kubica next? He could finally return to Lotus like it was promised all along.

      Or I’ll dig even deeper… Get him to lose 20 lbs by next season, but JPM is still only 37 years old, and available. If he feels like he has unfinished business in F1, he could easily give 3 good years of performance.

      Either of these options are a more exciting than the Hulk to me.

      1. It’s not as though Kubica isn’t wanted, it’s just that his hands still cannot cope with an F1 steering. I doubt anyone would take on JPM though, he’s quick, no doubt but also very very very difficult to work with. F1 demands a lot of diplomacy and tact, and his no-******** way of operating will create controversies and unnecessary ructions within the team.

    7. Yes but I think there’s a team called Mclaren that reallly need a top driver so, no Hulk to Lotus. Button maybe for Lotus he has good marketing appeal.

  2. No way in the world is Jenson going to Lotus. the only reason mclaren have not confirmed for next year is because they want to announce button and checo next season at the same time

    1. I think it’s also a bargaining chip to lower his (JB) salary (as inevitably his management will try to get as much £££ as they can).

      1. If JB leaves McLaren, the only track he’ll be taking to is the one that leads to the beach in Monaco

    2. McLaren desperately need a driver with killer instinct. The current McLaren line up is lack lustre to say the least. They bore me to sleep. Zzzzzz

      1. Not sure about Perez..

        1. Well is funny the “gut vs looking at facts” so far this season, Perez he has outrace hulkenberg and out qualify Di resta, in a mc-dog, bad strategy and full pampering of button needs in the race …..
          Grosjean – Massa will be awesome in qualy both are very fast even they usually get inferior car and still manage to out qualify team member

      2. have to agree….more aggro is needed @ mclaren

      3. Completely agree. Button just doesn’t have the pace or racecraft to excite, and I would be surprised if he could even get the car on the podium once this year. Perez has more potential, but has been hugely disappointing so far.

        I’m disappointed to see Mclaren set their driver benchmark so low… this is their weakest line up ever since I can remember

    3. @um1234
      What do you mean? Perez is supposed to have a contract for next season so there’s no reason why they couldn’t announce him, although, since he already has a contract there’s no reason to announce him in the first place.

    4. I voted for him because it was an option for who they should (rather than could and will) hire. Lotus could do with a solid pair of hands with Raikkonen gone, and Button is good for that (his flop last year aside). Hulkenberg would be the more interesting and exciting prospect, but not necessarily the correct one for what Lotus needs now. Also, I thought Button was quite under-represented.

  3. Hulkenburg deserves a car that may match his talent

  4. Drop Grosjean, go with Hulkenberg and Massa.

    I would genuinely love to see Massa outpace both Ferraris in a competitive Lotus next season :)

    1. True, Massa still have skill. Berger left Ferrari for Beneton (the old lotus) and won again. Massa can do the same without the pressure.

    2. Excellent idea, I would love to see that too :)

    3. thats what i’d do if i was the lotus boss

    4. I had the same thought actually, I cannot see Lotus keeping Grosjean now. He just ain’t cutting it for me. Massa will improve out of Ferrari in much the same way Coulthard did when he left McLaren and Hulk would be a great lead driver.

      I fear they may go backwards with their car though, hopefully not.

  5. The winner of this pole will be Nico Hulkenberg.

    1. Is it a voluntary typo ?

    2. I seriously hope they get him. Other drivers available are no where near as complete as Hulkenberg, nor showed enough promise.

      JB is totally out of the market, I can’t see him leaving McLaren, nor I think McLaren will let him go. And I doubt Lotus has enough resources to cover the inevitable damage of all the broken front wings from a Maldonado-Grosjean lineup.

      That being said, I would love Massa to return to Sauber. I think being in a midfield team could do him very well, and it might build his confidence back. I know F1 shouldn’t hang on to those “have-beens” kind of drivers, but IMO, deep inside, Massa hasn’t lost it completely.

      1. Massa needs to bow out with good grace.

        1. Maybe he can pull out a Leeroy Jenkins move like KOB did last year in Brazil….

          except for the whole year.

    3. Hulkenberg has a CV of 3 teams in 3 years… He def deserves it, but wats in it for Renault? He will move on the next year for sure… Plus two relatively young drivers (Romain and Nico) is not something Lotus would want… I wldnt be surprised if Massa bags it… He is a naturally fast driver and will aide team development…

      1. Exactly Massa has so much experience and he would get his mojo back moving to Lotus I think.

  6. No doubt in my mind that it should be Hulkenberg. He’s the best driver that’s still available. He’s got 3 years of racing in Formula One behind him now and he’s been worthy of a top seat for quite some time.

    1. Totally agree that Hulk deserves the seat. Although based on the performance of Lotus in the 2nd half of the year, does he want to? Have they started on next years development and that’s why they were beaten by a Sauber at Monza? Nico was unfortunate enough to already suffer that fate this year by moving from Force India and next year has even more unknowns. I totally agree with you @enigma he deserves a top seat, but which team besides the ones with seats already filled can guarantee him that next year?

      1. @funkyf1 It could indeed all go wrong next year and it’s definitely possible Sauber make a better car than Lotus. But even Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull could get it wrong next year.
        Of the available teams, Lotus is surely the most likely to give him a competitive car.

        1. I can only hope so @enigma I’m just concerned about the state of Lotus, they cannot seem to maintain any consistency in their performance, they have money issues and have lost Allison. Kimi left for a reason.

          1. Yeah and the reason was he got a chance to drive a Ferrari…

  7. Hulkenberg takes an early lead!

    1. And deservedly so IMO!

  8. I think they should get rid of Grosjean and go with Hulk and Massa, the problem with that is that Grosjean brings money which makes me think they will keep him.

    1. Not Massa but Frijns. Would be a coup for their manager – hülkenberg and Frijns share their manager.

      1. @verstappen That’s as realistic as Alain Prost making a comeback.

      2. Except that if Lotus are in financial trouble the way they have repeatedly been to be, then Frijns would be the worst possible choice because he hasn’t got two cents’ worth of sponsorship to rub together.

        1. That should read “repeatedly been rumoured to be”.

      3. @verstappen While it will never happen, the Hulk-Frijns combo would be the most exciting by far.

    2. That’s what I’m thinking, too.

    3. They could take Maldonado in the place of Grosjean (that idea has been floated) and have Hulk in the number two…

      There’d be no continuity there obviously but that shouldn’t matter too much as there’s a massive rules change, so the 2013 car will be an almost entirely invalid reference point.

    4. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      12th September 2013, 17:58

      I agree with Massa & Hulk as a strong lineup, but supposedly Total’s sponsorship is $30M, not quite pocket change, especially for a team as in-debt as Lotus. If they kept Kimi, they probably could have lured new sponsors. But without him, it will be hard to bring new sponsors, so they will likely keep RoGro on board.

      Plus, I do believe Eric Boullier is RoGro’s manager. He won’t be going anywhere.

      1. Total’s $30M are a good argument against Maldonado. If Total are keeping on with their sponsorship, they won’t let another petrol company (PDVSA) on board.

  9. Tough choice. Massa is an experienced driver, still fast. On the other side, Nico’s career will be destroyed if he doesn’t get a top seat this year. Valsecchi is a good choice as well, but he needs a couple of years in a lower team. Hulk gets my vote.

    1. And let’s not forget Vergne.

  10. I like the votes for Kobayashi right now, can’t keep die hard fans down I guess.
    Either way if they don’t take the Hulk then they better have a good reason for whoever it is they pick.

    1. Hehe, I must admit i voted Kobayashi myself !
      Can’t forget the guy…

      1. I’m really happy to see him in third place. I hope he can finish second of this poll ^^

  11. Nico Hulkenberg. It’s the easiest decision in the history of the F1 driver market.

    1. lol, it’s funny bcs it’s true

    2. +1
      Or…just maybe…possibly…unbelievably…unthinkabababably…Kubica. :)

  12. I think with lotus not afraid to take a driver fresh from gp2 as shown with romain they should maybe go with a fresh face from gp2 take a chance on raw talent Sam Bird for me know its a bit of an out there choice but I think he could be an amazing talent

  13. Right they should ditch Grosjean and get Hulkenberg and Maldonado, that way you get the talent & the money with a little more pace. Massa to Williams!

    1. I think Grosjean and Hulkenberg is a good pair of drivers. Grosjean has issues to deal with, but he’s really fast and getting better with time, maybe at a slower pace than some would like but I think he’s clearly better than he was last year.

    2. True – for most teams to bring in Maldonado, it would mean a dramatic increase needed in the front wing budget however if he’s replacing Grosjean, I suppose it’s like for like!

  14. The same guy who should have hired Ferrari, Hulk.

    1. I definitely agree.

    2. I like the idea of Hulkenberg taking matters into his own hands by hiring ‘Ferrari’, but I can’t see it happening. Luca’s benefits package would be a sticking point methinks.

      1. @jcost maybe @oksar was referring to him actually hiring one of Ferrari’s road cars and taking that to the track? ;)

  15. I’m sure the hulk would score more than enough points to make up for his lack of funding whereas Maldocrashalot will just smash cars and lose points to other teams… Though he may make grojean look good ;)

  16. Karthikeyan? Seriously?

    1. And no Felipe Nasr

    2. @nickf12013 @oliveiraz33 Obviously I can’t put every possible driver in the pole. I’ve set out the criteria for which ones I’ve included and stuck to it. If I was going to include Nasr (who certainly is an interesting talent), I would probably have to include another half-or-dozen drivers, perhaps more, who are at a similar point in their careers.

  17. Having been overlooked for the McLaren drive this year and now having missed out on the Ferrari drive, I’m hoping Nico Hulkenberg gets the Lotus seat alongside Romain Grosjean.

  18. Maldonado cannot be considered a serious candidate for the Lotus seat because the backing from the goverment is a deal between Williams and PDVSA and will run until 2015 when that money can go anywhere else, so Maldonado is tied to Williams and can’t go and take the money with him.

    For the rest it is obvious Hulkenberg is the prime choise for Lotus, you can’t really go wrong with him onboard. Massa could also be a valiable option but I don’t think the post 2009 Massa is good enough anymore to lead a team.

    1. Thank you. I thought I read this somewhere and someone on here was trying to blast me for saying that.

  19. The best possible line up for Lotus in this situation would in my opinion be Maldonado and Hülkenberg.

    Maldonado would bring Lotus desperately needed sponsor money and on his best days he can even win races as he showed in 2012. Sure, he’s crash prone and inconsistent, but so is Grosjean. Hülkenberg seems to be a great driver and his results could be close to Räikkönen’s.

    Boullier is Grosjean’s manager so Romain is likely to continue with them next season, but I think he’s a hindrance for Lotus at the moment. Keeping Grosjean is forcing the team to either take a pay driver such as Maldonado and risk having a poor level of performance or taking a talented driver such as Hülkenberg and heading towards a bankruptcy.

    1. GRO has had much better results this year alone than MAL has his entire career. I think replacing GRO with MAL is a rather lateral move, if not, slightly less than lateral.

      1. say that again m8 lol, did I not watch Spain 2012. When did Gro do that.

  20. I would go for a new driver line up.

    Nico Hulkenberg and Davide Valsecchi

    1. That’s a combination made in heaven :D

  21. Find it hilarious that Keith hasn’t elaborated on Paul Di Resta as a potential replacement for Kimi.

    Surely, there is no driver on the grid more deserving of a top drive than Paul Di Resta!

    I look forward to Paul’s comments when Lotus hires the Hulk. It’ll probably be something along the lines of how he was could match the Hulk in their season together, and if it wasn’t for some bad luck, he would be in that Lotus seat right now.

    1. Di Resta is going to replace Jenson at McLaren. You watch!

      This message was approved by the Paul Di Resta-for-McLaren 20134 committee

    2. That is because Keith has obviously focused on the most realistic options, not the best available drivers, which are two different things. I agree that Hulk is most probably a better choice than di Resta but I fail to see how one could be sure that Valsecchi, Massa, Maldonado or d’Ambrosio are all better drivers than di Resta.

      1. Yeah, Kobayashi would be great but isn’t realistic. I rather see Koba returning to Sauber …

    3. I was thinking of this earlier. It will be funny to see di Resta’s reaction to being overlooked again. His recent lack of points and questionable attitude could put his own seat in doubt for 2014.

      1. Still dont see it. Do you mean the poll?

        1. @todfod I think the link was broken before, should be OK now.

  22. Hulkenburg, easy. He’s the only driver since Hamilton to dominate GP2 in the same way that Hamilton did. I really think that he’s the real deal, and given the right opportunities would be quicker than all but the big 4 in top machinery. I’m basically saying that I think he’s as good as Button, Webber, Rosberg et al and maybe better.

  23. Kubica. If not signed here – he will drive and fight for WDC in WRC 2014.
    However – he rejected to sign to Hyundai and Citroen WRC teams 2014, so something is cooking there.

    1. If he’s ready to give it bash, being a Renault test driver for 2014 might be a possible shout. Not a race drive yet though.

      1. Test driver?? With WRC option – he can go for it maybe. IMO – this is not option considered. And I do not see a WRC team for him now after his no to Citroen.

        From another pov – Citroen (and Hyunday) WRC rejection: what kind of option has Kubica got already?

        1. Fair enough, but he might be thinking longer term. A test role would be perfect to see how his hand holds up though and get a feel for the new reg cars ahead of a full return in 2015. If he wants to stay in WRC then obviously an F1 test role is not the best option. I could actually see it happening. I don’t know what else he’s holding out for, do you?

          1. His main goal is to get back to F1. Winning the last rally in Germany (WRC2 cars, but 5th place in general!!) he said on the podium that he supposed not to be there back in 2014.
            Doing planty of kilometers in Mercedes’ simulator, three months ago declared that on 80% of tracks saw not any problem with his elbow.

            Continuing “rehabilitation by rallying” in the last 2 months (3 wins, 1 runner-up), beating all in his first season in WRC2 (current leader), second driver in history (after Kimi) to score in F1 and WRC.
            Being one of the most wanted and promissing driver already – Citroen and Hyunday made him the offers to join manufacturer teams – rejected (!).
            Something is going to happen – we have to wait.

  24. I always look for new drivers to come into F1, and so I’d be disappointed if Massa went to Lotus because it would be a lost opportunity for a new driver to get in at a lower team. Hulkenburg is an obvious choice for Lotus that’s difficult to fault, and so who would take his place at Sauber – Frijns or is the Sauber seat too far up the grid for a rookie?

    1. It wasn’t too far up the grid for Perez in his rookie year, and Kobayashi was nearly new when he got into the team. Massa and Kubica started at Sauber too. Gutierrez is a rookie… And a bit of a mistake. The team isn’t usually challenging above the midfield either, so no, it certainly isn’t out of the question for them to accept new drivers.
      They do seem quite set on getting Sirotkin (and his briefcases of Russian money) signed on, so the question is whether or not they will chance two rookies. My concern for Frijns’ odds lies more in the financial climate of the team.

  25. I said Hulkenberg, as he’s by far the best of the options who could realistically move there next year. Although I think Vergne is also worth a look in, but they may be reluctant to pick two French drivers who aren’t fantastic qualifiers.

    1. I see Vergne being a great business decision for Lotus “The French Connection” could have the potential to bring in some great sponsorship and give Vergne the chance a lot of people think he deserves.

  26. I’m voting for “your mum”, just to be, like, totally mad and stuff.
    Radical.

  27. I like Grosjean and I think that he has potential but he just hasn’t been consistent enough so I would sign two new drivers. Hulkenberg is an obvious choice and I would also take Kovalainen, who has worked with the Enstone team before, is experienced and probably at the peak of his powers. They both are good enough to win races and maybe even championships, although I doubt if Lotus will be that good next year.

  28. No doubt in my mind the best line-up Lotus could choose is Massa-Hulkenberg.

    I can’t imagine the mechanics would be too pleased with a Grosjean-Maldonado line-up…

    Surely Hulkenberg has to slot in next to either Grosjean or Massa…

  29. Massa and Hulk to Lotus. I think Massa would get his mojo back as a leader in a different team. His spirit has been broken over the last few years of being beat. He is an emotional guy. He would be a great veteran to work with Hulk.

  30. Hulkenberg, without a doubt. He’s young and he’s very fast. Besides, Lotus will make a lot of Hulk related jokes on twitter.

    I don’t think Massa is a good option. Button would be perfect, but he wants to stay in Mclaren. Actually, it would be interesting to see Button in Lotus and Hulkenberg-Perez in Mclaren, but I doubt it’s going to happen.
    Valsecchi.. I don’t know, I don’t like him too much. He won his GP2 championship after 5 seasons and, arguably, he didn’t have such a great opposition. I don’t think he deserves to be in a team capable of winning races.

    1. Besides, Lotus will make a lot of Hulk related jokes on twitter.

      Yep, would be a great replacement for Kimi :D

  31. Heikki Kovalinen and Massa are the only two race winners on the list. Based on current form it’s Heikki for me.

    1. I’m sorry, but Kovalainen only fell into first place once by accident during two miserable years driving for the championship winning team. Like the guy, by he had his chance and blew it.

      1. @Meander Whilst I’m not saying that Kovalainen’s McLaren stint was a success, that win was a fair compensation for all the times when the car let him down. Moreover, he wouldn’t be the first F1 driver, who fails to deliver with a top team only to come back stronger with another team. Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who got close to winning the 1999 world champioship with Jordan, is a perfect example.

    2. @DVC Button and Maldonado are race winners as well but Button is most likely going to stay with McLaren and Maldonado is too accident prone. So I agree, Heikki is a good long-term option.

      1. Yeah, I discounted Button because I don’t think he is available, but forgot Maldonado won a race. In any case Maldonado isn’t the consistent performer that Kovalinen is. I think Heikki has improved quite a lot since leaving McLaren. He deserves a chance to show it.

  32. i’d give valsecchi a chance, let’s not forget that he was gp2 champion last year!

    i reckon it’ll be close between him and hulkenberg

  33. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but let’s not forget about Vergne. I think in Grosjean they have the fast guy who could be a potential team leader (after all, we have only been able to judge him against world champions in their prime, and he has the speed). I think he has done a great job the last few races and has started bringing the points home. And something tells me that left alone with the responsibility, he would rise to the challenge.

    Vergne could be the reliable point scorer. He is fast. As fast a Red Bull n°2 driver. And a good wet driver. He is also French which could help vis à vis de total. (but is it necessary to have two French drivers in a single team ?)

    1. I agree Tango, good selling point for sponsors, maybe *FCUK can sponsor them.

      *Maybe not the best option, but a french sponsor could bring the team some much needed coin

  34. As a dutchman i voted patrioticly for Frijns, but realisticly I would LOVE to see the Hulk in a good (read capable of winning races) car

    1. Haha, as a Belgian, I voted for D’Ambrosio haha :D

      But yeah, the Hulk is probably the best option for them right now :)

  35. I want Hulk and Maldonado. If Lotus has Maldonado, I can’t see why Grosjean would be there.

  36. I hope it will be Jérôme D’Ambrosio. Wishful thinking for my local hero mostly.

    1. I’d support that on the basis that it’d save us from his monotone commentary on GP2!

  37. I think the best option would be Button, but I doubt he’s really available. The next best thing is Felipe Massa, who I think will flourish again without the pressure of Ferrari and Alonso. Also filling the empty seat left by Kimi is not the only problem of Lotus. Grosjean does not learn. He had his chances, he should be sacked. So in my mind the perfect situation for Lotus would getting Button or Massa AND Hulkenberg.

  38. I think with all this time as a Ferrari driver Felipe could take much knowledge to a team that needs to stay in top five

    Felipe still has what it takes to be a top driver. Hulk may have more speed now, but Grosjean is also fast. The Lotus need experience in a year with so many rule changes

  39. Hulkenberg, cause he has shown his talent in all racing series he’s entered in. Or Valsecci, GP2 champion and knows the team. Or, either Frijns or Bianchi .. both very talented, but young.

  40. Jack (@jackisthestig)
    12th September 2013, 14:29

    From Lotus’ point of view, Hulkenberg is by far the best candidate.

    Driving-wise he is the best of this generation of relatively young drivers (although I think Bottas will be phenomenal an a few years’ time). His character and personality suits the slightly alternative image that the team is trying to put accross, he’s not a Kimi tribute act but there are likeable similarities.

    It’s worth remembering he’s also German. Schumacher commanded a huge following in his home country and despite his success, Vettel just hasn’t sparked anything like such an interest and Rosberg doesn’t exactly have red, black and yellow running through his veins. If Hulkenberg were a regular front runner, perhaps he would revive alot more of the interest orginally started by Schumi. The German economy is in good health and perhaps alot of national interest in Hulkenberg would result in sizeable sporsorship from Germany.

    Lotus could do with the money. When Boullier first mentioned Hulkenberg, after the year he’s been having at Sauber my first thought was; “talk about ‘out of the frying pan…’ both teams can’t afford to pay their drivers!”. However, Joe Saward seems to think Renault will put money into the team in an effort to increase their visibility within the sport, with Infinity taking the limelight alongside Red Bull’s success despite their Renault engines. I hope this comes to fruition, Hulkenberg deserves a chance in a competitive car.

  41. A bit marginal to this topic, but does anyone know why Hulkenberg moved from Force India to Sauber for this season? I never really worked that out. Was he pushed out? If not, in retrospect it wasn’t a good idea.

    1. @braism
      Last year there were questions over Force India’s financial status and Sauber achieved four podiums. Ironically Force India has now a better car and Sauber is in financial trouble. It’s easy to say in hindsight that Hülkenberg made a bad choice, but it didn’t look like that last year.

  42. I voted for Vergne; he’s got the speed, the race craft, the talent and has shown great maturity in his short F1 career so far, (he is a year young than Ricciardo) in light of some terrible bad luck. A exciting pairing with Grosjean.

  43. Not only does Hulkenberg deserve to drive for a ‘top team’, Lotus needs Hulkenberg. They need someone who can lead a team, because to be honest I don’t see Grosjean taking Lotus to greater heights. The only other two drivers who could potentially substitute for Hulkenberg are Jenson Button (which simply isn’t going to happen) and Felipe Massa.

    Comparing Hulkenberg and Massa, I see two reasons why I want Hulkenberg: first he is very quick, as he showed for instance last weekend, whereas Massa’s performance over the last three four years has been abysmal to say the least. But second, I want some fresh meat: for the last four years, the drivers at the top teams haven’t changed much, so it would be nice to see what a less experienced driver could do as a team leader.

    1. @andae23 I think Hulk might actually be a strong team leader. The relaxed attitude and the smile are misleading.

      I recently read an interview with Sauber’s head of track engineering Tom McCullough. He says that Hulkenberg is a driver who “knows what he wants and when he doesn’t get it he tells you” and admits that they have fallen out before.

      That and the Belgian Grand Prix team radio transcript makes me think that he’s not much different from di Resta in this aspect but he seems to be better at transferring this harsh approach into consistently good results, which is what counts.

      1. @girts Exactly – Enstone is a team that likes to take a risk every now and then, so I hope they will take a younger driver over an older driver (i.e. Massa).

        I still remember how utterly dominant he was in A1GP, and also races like Brazil last year and Monza this year really make me want to see what he can do when he has a proper car.

        1. a younger driver over an older driver (i.e. Massa)

          So Hulkenberg over Massa, to avoid confusion :P

  44. Hulkenberg gets my vote, because he is the most exciting young talent and he has already “wasted” three years with cars which aren’t as competitive as he deserves. I hope if he gets the seat that Lotus will build a strong car, at least to put him on the podium and occasionally allow him to win.
    Massa is my second choice, first of all because he’s a good driver who has not been far off Alonso’s pace on his good days (discounting 2011 and the first half of 2012), and coming second to Alonso doesn’t mean being last, he could beat Grosjean (who I’d sack for Massa-Hulkenberg, although he still deserves F1, but needs more time to develop), he is very consistent in scoring points (i.e. he makes few mistakes) and his knowledge of Ferrari’s race-winning cars from 2007 will surely help Lotus develop. His experience is great for a team looking to make a step forward. Massa might also not cost too much as I think he knows Lotus is the best option for him, and he might have some sponsors come with him.
    Valsecchi is my third choice because he knows the team and has followed the season closely, he mastered the Pirelli tyres in 2012 and has experience in this year’s car. He is a fast driver but postponing his début could be fatal for his career.

  45. It has to be Hulkenberg for reasons already explained. It bemuses me though how Kobayashi gets 5% of the vote. I know he’s popular, but I don’t really think he deserves an F1 seat.
    My second choice is Kubica (I know it’s very optimistic). He has shown good pace in rallying (Raikkonen has been strong on his return from it), had good pace before his departure, knows the team from 2010 and early 2011, and has shown to be a good team leader at both BMW and Renault.
    Other decent choices: Massa, Maldonado, and Kovalainen.

    1. Re: Kubica, provided it’s even possible, Mercedes are getting hands on him if he’s back. Though I think he should be considered ex-F1 driver.

      1. With Merc you are right. But question is what is going on while he has just rejected to drive for top WRC teams next year?

      2. He’s done a lot of simulator work for Mercedes if my memory serves me right, but I’m not sure they’ll need to change their line-up any time soon.

  46. the Hulk . period.
    although i accidentally voted for Narain :D

    1. @mixwell I was wondering who actually did haha!

  47. I voted for Bianchi. I’d really like to see him driving a good car like Lotus.

  48. Hulkenberg would be the best choice. He is a performance driver not a pay driver, but a smaller salary than Raikkonen will be like adding money to the team. I think he deserves the seat and can develop further with a team that is currently closer to the front of the grid.

    Vergne would not be a bad choice, I think Hulkenberg is a better choice.

    Grosjean is not going anywhere and will provide some continuity for Lotus.

    Maldonado would cost too much in destroyed equipment even if he could bring the pay driver money with him.

    Button will be with McLaren.

    I think Massa could provide some help and experience to Lotus, but Lotus needs to look to the future. The harsh truth too is that Massa would be a hard sell to potential sponsors and investors after being cast off by Ferrari.

    Hulkeneberg is the future and it looks much brighter with him at Lotus than without him.

  49. I previously said that I found a lot of hints that Kimi joined Ferrari and it came out right. Now I’ll also gloat here that I know who will replace him through reliable sources- you can be VERY sure of this-
    Davide Valsecchi.
    He has already had his seat fitting session.

  50. Kobayashi! Every team should hire him.

    More seriously, Maldonado. They could use the money, and Grosjean could use some tutoring in crashing things, hasn’t it been a while since he’s hit something?

    Maybe even Hulkenberg/Maldonado?

  51. In bold the real contenders in my opinion.

    Massa – I can’t imagine him at any other team but Sauber, probably Williams if Maldonado changes teams
    Button – staying at McLaren
    Hülkenberg – probably the best choice both for Lotus and him, no explanation needed
    Gutierrez – if he’s lucky he’ staying at Sauber, can’t see any other team opting for him
    di Resta – would be great for both, though he is a bit slower than Hülkenberg, but very consistent, nevertheless I believe he’s staying, he’s got a contract as well
    Sutil – there is no way he’s going to Lotus after his incident with Lux, his only option is staying at Force India
    Maldonado – has a lot of money through PDVSA, he can be brutally fast but is inconsistent, good for occasional big results, not in a championship
    Bottas – staying at Williams
    Vergne – I would love to see him there but he is staying
    Pic – staying at Caterham
    van der Garde – I don’t really know, he’s likely to stay, depends on his sponsor money
    Bianchi – he’ll be going to Force India fighting with Sutil and Calado for the seat or stay at Marussia
    Chilton – staying at Marussia
    D’Ambrosio – he won’t get back into F1 in my opinion
    Kobayashi – another good choice, he should get an F1 seat, and this would be a great opportunity for him
    Senna – should stay in WEC
    Kovalainen – this is his best chance to get into a better team than Caterham and he was pretty good with the Enstone team in 2007
    Petrov – won’t get back to F1
    de la Rosa – staying with Ferrari as the test driver
    Karthikeyan – only the young teams would opt for him, or rather his money
    Glock – I would love to see him back, but he will stay in DTM
    Valsecchi – I don’t think he will get a seat with Lotus, he didn’t drive too much at the YDT which I would have expected as he is their test driver but I’m not ruling him out at all
    Frijns – he won’t get an F1 seat until 2015, and he will have to perform very well in GP2 for that next year

    From lower categories I would consider:
    Felipe Nasr – has great racecraft, his overtakes are amazing and has wealthy Brazilian sponsors, and I heard he doesn’t want to get into F1 through a small team
    Robert Wickens – he tested with Lotus in 2009, won WSR in 2011 ahead of Vergne and has a great season in DTM, and North America hasn’t had a good driver for a long time

    If I would have to choose it would be tough for me because I like all of them but Hülkenberg, but he has proved so far that he is the best of them. On the basis of sympathy I wish it was Wickens or Kobayashi, Wickens should have got into F1 by now, and Kobayashi should get back.

    1. Sorry, Wickens tested with Lotus in 2011 after he won the WSR

      1. I would love to see Wickens in an F1 seat, if only for the patriotic vote for a Canadian, but I can’t see that happening over the talent that’s already in F1.

    2. You forget Kubica.

      1. I’m pretty sure that – sadly – he won’t return to the F1 grid after his accident. I took a mention of everyone that is listed in the poll and the guys who I think have a good chance.

    3. Fernando Cruz
      11th October 2013, 23:21

      “Kobayashi – another good choice, he should get an F1 seat, and this would be a great opportunity for him

      Senna – should stay in WEC”

      Senna deserves more a great opportunity than Kobayashi. The brazilian never had a proper full season in F1, the japanese had already three. Whenever they have more equal chances the brazilian does a better job: in GP2 he won 3 races (including Monaco) to Koba’s 1 (and one with a reversed grid) and in WEC has already 4 Poles ans 2 wins in 5 races to Koba’s 0 Poles and 0 wins…

      However it would be hard for both to come back and do a good job after a year out. Senna could have had a great F1 career had he started with Honda or Brawn in 2009 but lost too much due to the global crisis effects. Kobayashi was much more lucky but he didn’t show that much of an improvement with much better conditions than those Senna had in F1… I think the future of both is where they are now and maybe Formula E…

  52. Hulkenberg even though I accidentally voted Sutil- computer problems. So that 1% vote for Sutil is me :).

    Also Maldonado with his sponsorship to replace Romain Grosjean in the other seat. Lotus 2014 Hulkenberg-Maldonado

  53. For me was a done deal – Paul Di Resta. It’s a talent been wasted at an out of shape team, this year. He’s young and improving every race and would put the team, regarding money, between the French and the English ‘market’, 2 of the more ‘powerfull’ (or less troubled) markets nowadays.

    What can I say, I’m not impressed my Nico Hulkenberg, Massa had more than his shot and blew it – I hope he leaves and other place becomes available for new talents. Jenson Button is at home at McLaren, no chance there. At last, Pastor Maldonado is entangled with Williams and they really need his money to try to do a better jog build a competitive car for next year (and will have Renault engines, so that already a plus).

    That’s my 2 cents.

    Just as a foot note, I’m really anxious the see how long will last Alonso before starting to ‘cry wolf’ to the press and around – like he did at McLaren, when a rookie driver called Lewis Hamilton, relegate to two times Spanish champion to the corner, just like I’m completely sure Kimi will also do. It’s going to be a Ferrari Circus inside the F1 Circus :) lol

  54. Why not Perez?
    He’s been trying to break into Kimi’s car all year.
    Plus he can pay good money.

  55. None of them are particularly appealing options:

    – Massa has been underperforming for years. Ferrari only seem to have kept him around out if sentiment.
    – Hulkenberg needs stability. If he moves to Lotus, it will be his fourth team in five years. He should stay with Sauber (who won’t need Gutierrez, given the investment from Russia) and work on a future Ferrari drive.
    – Button might not be confirmed at McLaren just yet, but there is no evidence he is looking to leave.

    The others aren’t even worth mentioning. The team’s best bet would be to find a promising rookie with a bucket of cash. Felipe Nast springs to mind, or maybe James Calado.

  56. Valsecchi. He deserved seat in F1 an year ago. I think Nico should go to McLaren.

    1. @robo – There’s just one problem: there aren’t any seats available at McLaren.

  57. I voted for Bianchi.

    As much as I would like to see Hülkenberg in a top team, I don’t think Lotus qualifies as one. It wouldn’t be wise for Hülkenberg to make a third sideways move in a short time, it makes you wonder why he doesn’t want to stay in the same team more consistently. Unless he absolutely HAS to leave because of pay-drivers buying the both seats in the team for instance, I think the best thing to do for him would be to stay put and wait.

    Bianchi though seems very interesting as a driver talent, Lotus should seize the opportunity and snatch him before someone else does. A very likely future talent for a small price.

    1. I agree completely

    2. I see your point about Lotus not quite being the step-up the Hulk deserves but I think he has to leave Sauber this winter. Peter Sauber appears to have lost interest in the team and they’re really struggling for funding. I think they’re sadly only going to go backwards on the grid where it’ll be much harder for the Hulk to remain impressive.
      A couple of decent seasons at Lotus and the Hulk will be in pole position to replace either Kimi at Ferrari, Jenson at McLaren or (if he underperforms) Ricciardo at Red Bull.

  58. I beg of you Lotus, get Nico Hulkenberg in a decent car now. This is a man that was on pole in a Williams, led the Brazilian GP in a Force India, qualified third on the grid in a Sauber and has one of the finest records ever in the junior categories. If Nico Hulkenberg ends up in a Sauber again next year, or even worse, without a drive (which is feasible bearing in mind the fact that Sauber probably can’t afford to keep him, so Lotus is Hulkenberg’s only hope really), then that would be very bad news for F1. F1 needs to be seen to be rewarding young talent, so whilst Sauber has turned a cold shoulder to Frijns, so at least an attempt needs to be made to make up for that by getting Hulkenberg further up the grid. Now I have no doubt that Lotus will choose Hulkenberg, but still, a lot of F1’s integrity hangs on the quality of car that this young megastar supposedly being rewarded with for his impressive showings throughout his single-seater career, including F1. I mean, what is the point of GP2, GP3, FR3.5 and F3 if it doesn’t improve the chances of the top talent getting the top seats in motorsport?

    Coming at it from a different angle, it really is a shame Hulkenberg was presumably deemed too inexperienced for a Ferrari drive. Have no fear, by hook or by crook, he’ll end up there eventually, it’s just a shame that he has to wait. But after the frankly disappointing Red Bull decision, F1 desperately needed the prospect of Alonso vs Raikkonen to water down the resigned solemnity that capes the paddock after the last two races. I will come clean. Even up until the very last moment, I was convinced Hulkenberg would get the drive. It just fitted. He’s younger than Kimi. He’s cheaper than Kimi. He more likely to play #2 than Kimi. He’s not necessarily any slower than Kimi. He also doesn’t have the frankly awkward relations with Ferrari that Kimi has. Saying that though, I, and everyone else in F1 said, “It just fits” when we first heard about the prospect of Kimi to Red Bull, and we all know how that turned out…

  59. to everyone that’s saying kubica, he said himself that he can’t fit in an f1 car after his accident. i’m afraif this train is long gone. it’s a shame, but we need to get on with it.

    1. to Rigi – well, you have very old infos about him. Check what he said Aug/Sep about his 2014 priorities/talks and what he did regarding F1 car driving + producer teams WRC lately.
      It is very interesting, believe me.
      Plus – speed is there, limitations not.
      http://www.wrc.com/wrc-2/results/

    2. to everyone here – I wonder how huge is unawareness about his current options :)
      http://rankings.autosport.com/driver/robert-kubica

    3. to Rigi – please do not mix-up. He said that long time ago and have done tremendous job since there – fitting into Merc F1 simulator for hours and beating in rally in his first season all other experienced drivers.
      In the last couple of weeks stressing that 2013 is his only season in rallying. Being very much wanted driver for few WRC teams, rejected the offers. Looking on current skills and rapid development – looks like he just rejected 2014 WRC championship.

  60. For me, there are far too many variables to give a definitive answer. It’s very easy for a casual observer to say Hulkenberg, but for Boullier it’s a bit more complicated.

    For me, the most significant question is whether PDVSA will be able to switch their sponsorship from Williams to Lotus. If they can (but apparently that’s a very big ‘if’), then I would hire Maldonado in a heartbeat. He’s a much better driver than people give him credit for, and he’s done a great job at ironing out his mistakes. Whether or not he’s as good as Hulkenberg is debatable (but it’s definitely a debate worth having), but the increased financial security for Lotus makes him worth hiring, in my view.

    Massa may well be worth hiring, too, but his ability is quite an unknown at the moment. It’s unclear, from my perspective, whether his poor form is a result of the massive dent in confidence that being a #2 has caused him, or whether he’s genuinely lost his skill. Valsecchi may be worth a shout since he’s integrated with the team very well as a reserve but, as much as I like him, I can’t see why he’d be more desirable than Hulkenberg.

    I’ve also read elsewhere that Kubica could be in the running if he can recover in time. But that looks less and less likely…

    1. Looking on his recovery in the last 3 months, hours spent in Mercedes’ F1 simulator and current skliis – I would say more and more…

  61. Pointless debate IMO, if Lotus wants the best driver available they should go with Hulkenberg…if they want money it should be Massa. There is my starting list…

  62. Definitely Kobayashi. Only 6 points behind Perez who is now driving a McLaren. Plus he would drive for free.

    But anyone will be ok except Massa and Kovalainen. Kovalainen never had it and Massa has long lost it.

  63. I guess I’m the only one who voted for Jerome D’Ambrosio. My second choice would be Davide Valsecchi. Lotus should save some money and go with someone who is already in their program. Don’t get me wrong, Hulk is more experienced, but this is a great opportunity for Lotus to throw some kids into the deep-end and watch them swim. Grosjean is not going to be asked to leave, and is important for continuity and political reasons. He’s also Tres Rapide.
    On another note: I didn’t see KARUN CHANDHOK on the list. 2011 is so long ago…

    1. Actually, I’ve counted 3 vote for Jerome! It’s a Movement!
      Test drivers are going to be super important next year with the new car regulations.

  64. My heart goes out to Massa and I hope the very best for him in the future. s I would look very closely at both Heikke K. and Nico H. I think Grosjean is an excellent YOUNG driver and they need to keep him as he will shine more and more in the future. Kimi will keep Ferrari honest and they will not be able to blame anyone for car failures, meaning failing to be competitive, in the future. rnr

    1. Grosjean is no longer young, just can’t handle his own speed. He has calmed down and is driving within himself, but really not all that while doing so. When he goes as fast as he can, he is an idiot. He has had 3 chances in F1 (I’m counting this year as his third shot, as he really should not have been in a car this year given his 2012).

  65. Obviously Jaime Alguersuari.

    1. He said a few weeks or months ago that he doesn’t want to get back in F1 anytime soon.

  66. Come to think of it Jenson Button and Lotus are a very good match actually. A not quite front running team (at least in its current guise) with a decent but not quite front running driver. I doubt Jenson will ever leave Mclaren out of his will though, they will have to fire the guy to get rid off him. And since Martin Whitmarsh will remain the team principal for the foreseeable future, Button’s seat there is probably fairly safe…. But I digress. Felipe still has it but the the last few years beaten by Alonso and Ferrari politics made a massive dent to his confidence, hence his poor form. Nico is excellent, possibly a little bit overrated, but good nonetheless. Either Felipe Massa or Nico Hulkenberg would be fine choices for the Lotus seat.

  67. For the sake of Williams, Lotus should take Pastor off their hands.-

  68. So I’m guessing that I’m the only one who is praying that Kubica comes back to the team?

    I know it’s not going to happen.

    But a fan can dream!!!

    1. You are not.

      look at him today, listen what he says.

      the day is coming :)

  69. Hulk to Lotus, Massa to Force Indua – Grosjean hasn’t set the world alight but he has been a consistent 2nd fiddle this year, so will stay, but does not deserve it IMHO. Sutil may stay, but personally, I’d rather have Massa -possibly He could land at Sauber with Sirotkin. Gutierrez has had his shot and blown it. Call time on Maldonado as well – Bottas is a bit of a disappointment, but it is hard to judge the drivers harshly in such a dog of a Williams. VDG is now outperforming Pic, which I didn’t expect. Chilly on is doing better than I expected as well, but is only there as long as daddy’s wallet lets him be. Calado might be at FI, but prob only as reserve. Massa to FI makes a bit of sense. Sutil deserves a jail cell, not a drive – also has been outperformed by DiResta again, so no need to continue that experiment. Unless Kingfisher can find a nice pay driver, that’s how I see it panning out.
    :)

    1. Chiton, not Chilly -stupid over presumptive predictive text on Apple devices!

  70. Why not take Another Finn? I Think Bottas could surpise in the same way Kimi did after his return. As a driver he is more or less on par with Maldonado. In the off track evens he would be far superior to the ruffian Maldonado. I dont know if Bottas would be available though. Is he?

  71. I don’t want Hulkenberg to get the seat because he moves every damn season to a new team, he should show a bit of loyalty and help Sauber out of the crap they’re in. If he leaves them, they’d be stupid enough to put Gutierrez and the Russian rookie in the same team.

    1. @lejimster82: I don’t think Hulk has an option, really. Not only Sauber won’t probably be able to pay him a dime next year, they will need him to bring in some sponsorship too. Whatever Sirotkin pays them alone won’t be enough to keep Sauber afloat, considering the financial damage that’s already been done.

      I’m afraid Sauber are in the obnoxious position where they need two pay-drivers to survive.

  72. Take Felipe! He’s the ultimate confidence driver, and the laid back attitude of Lotus would make him confident and help him find the great speed he still has (Start of 2010. End of last year and beginning of this year) Plus he’s very experienced which will always be a help with a crash kid in the other car. Felipe’s super fast and deserves a few more years in F1. Hulkenberg would be a good choice, but could be difficult to market (in the words of Peter Windsor) to get sponsors, while Brazil is a growing economy. No doubt Nico’s mega quick. Madness that you put Button on there, he’s not going anywhere, especially not Lotus! DI Resta’s already signed up with FI for next year, but Lotus said earlier in the year they’d spoken to him, so could an outside bet. many people like to forget how evenly matched Di Resta and Hulk were for 2/3 of last year, before the cracked chassis blighted his end of the year. Plus he’s super consistent, something they’d miss from Kimi, though PDR’s peaks probably aren’t as high as Felipe’s or Nico’s.

    1. @jmc200 agree with your comment, you are right Felipe only needs a bit of confidence and people forget that as a youngster people saw him as super fast if a bit erratic. He is very consistent, experience and I am sure still fast if he were to regain confidence.

  73. Michael Brown (@)
    12th September 2013, 23:30

    Maldonado and Hulkenberg for Lotus.

  74. I stand by what I said. Lotus have to be crazy not to take Hulkenberg on. He’s the hot-property of the moment, he’s arguably the best driver available to them right now and he’ll most likely be a free agent by the end of the year. Sure, he won’t bring any considerable amount of cash in, but he’ll probably be willing to drive for about 10% the money they used to pay Raikkonen, so that’s still a huge financial improvement on the team’s budget.

    As for the second seat, I would hire Massa in an instant. I think Grosjean’s departure from the paddock is slowly becoming overdue despite his recent string of “consistent” races. Despite being fast on occasion, I don’t think Grosjean has more of what it takes to become a world champion than Fisichella, Trulli or Heidfeld did and frankly, given his “fast and erratic or slow and consistent” style, I’m not sure Grosjean even has what it takes to become a race winner. And I also don’t think his insane number of idiotic mistakes over the past couple of years should be taken out of account when it’s decision-making time.

    Sure, Massa won’t win another WDC either, but he could be a race winner again, a more consistent, faster on occasion, more experienced, more reliable and more popular option for a second driver than Grosjean. Also, from a financial point of view, I don’t think whatever sponsorship Grosjean brings in from Total cannot be matched by Massa.

    Yes, I still think a large part of Felipe’s counter-performances have something to do with the “Alonso complex” and Ferrari as a climate. In a different team he might actually do well.

    I’m 100% behind a Hulkenberg – Massa pairing here.

    1. I meant “Massa won’t have another shot at winning a WDC either”…

  75. Clucky (@cluckyblokebird)
    13th September 2013, 0:19

    Don’t forget, Lotus seem to be on shaky ground financially. So much so that its seemed to have frightened off Kimi. Hulk would be leaving a team that now has Russian backing. While Hulk would be my pick if i were Lotus, i am hoping he doesn’t go for reasons mentioned.

    1. Clucky (@cluckyblokebird)
      13th September 2013, 0:22

      So i chose Massa, as now he has so much to prove and would probably be happy to drive for cheap.

  76. Tough call, The Hulk appears to have a bright future and as Keith points out, it may be worth while to lock him down. However, considering the magnitude of the rule changes for 2014, a seasoned vet like Massa could be valuable in terms of car development. So do you sign a guy like Massa to a short term deal to get your car up to snuff, or do you look long term and put you money on one of the rising stars? I’d grab the Hulk and maybe offer Massa a cushy gig as a test driver!

  77. Kobayashi, he should have been in the 2nd Ferrari a while back.

    1. He binned a Ferrari during a publicity event — don’t think you’ll be seeing Kobi again.

      1. on the wet trying to make drift donuts? inexcusably

  78. Not Massa for sure. Keith commented on a post a few days ago where he said that the Ferrari and the Lotus were fairly evenly matched. The points difference between Alonso and Massa is 90. The difference between Kimi and Grosjean is 74. So Grosjean seems clearly closer to Kimi than Massa is to Alonso. That would be a big step back for Lotus. I’m not that great at crunching numbers… I’d love to see what some of you could come up with.

  79. Andres Felipe Aguilar
    13th September 2013, 5:12

    Lotus should push for Juan Pablo Montoya!!!!!!!!!!!!! Is the right guy!!!!!!!!
    Imagine a grid with several F1 Champions and JPM?????

  80. I think Button is a good fit for Lotus. An experienced pair of hands, and while Button may not be the best car developer around, his driving style lends itself to good car development, as the data is very clean and clear, as there are no spikes, and the transitions are clear.

    Button works best with a car that is balanced to his preferences, but looking back at the last 2 years, I think that’s an area where Lotus excels at. When was the last time we heard Raikkonen and/or Grosjean complain about bad balance in the race? I only remember Malaysia this year, and none otherwise.

  81. If Lotus do chose the Hulk, then Sirotkin will surely start at Sauber in 2014.

  82. Massa is the best choice for them.
    Experience, knowledge of the competition and the motivation to prove Ferrari made a mistake.
    As far as I am concerned, if we are being fair to Massa, it has been clear to me that he had been ordered to stay clear of Alonso.is the best starter of the grid, with Alonso along side, he is always compromised.
    I believe Ferrari have themselves to blame in so many problems Massa faced.
    Lotus pay attention

  83. I would say Hulkenberg is the one with the greatest talent, of the ones listed, but he might not be yet able to lead a front running team. For now, I believe Lotus would be better off with Button…Button – Hulkenberg would sure be a nice ideea, tho :).

  84. On pure driving, I’d go with the Hulk. Massa is there on driving ABILITY, but he has to be so comfortable emotionally to perform well, that I wouldn’t take a chance on him at this point.

    Of course, you have to throw in the financial problems and that some teams may be forced to go with drivers who bring money to the table. Sad, but a fact of life now in Formula 1 :-(

  85. ok here’s my 3 step plan for lotus financial/driver to secure the team’s survival into the forseeable future:

    1. send grosjean back to formula renault
    2. hire massa on the condition that he brings his fiat brazil dollars (big bags of them)
    3. sign the the hulk

    win win. the best advice comes free of charge boullier

  86. Adrian Newey.

    Not the greatest driver ever, but his other skills make up for it.

  87. Maldonaldo or Massa

    I understand why Redbull didn’t even look at Hulk.

    1. @jason12

      Why do you say that?

  88. I’d love to see Kamui in the Lotus. I doubt he could secure enough sponsorship, especially damming is the word of money trouble at Lotus

  89. Why do people think that Hulkenberg is a future World Champion?

    I don’t believe that he is. He will probably be a very good number two driver for a topteam or a number one drive for al team wich is al little bit smaller, but he will never be Champion, in my opinion. He is a big talent, but not like Vettel. More like Rosberg.

    Nevertheless he is probably the best choice for Lotus. But he will have a tough time beating Grosjean.

  90. Bianchi. Hulk is probably looking at avoiding the mistake Perez made by jumping at the wrong time. Bianchi has nothing to lose by going now, and while he wouldn’t bring as much money as the others, he’d drive for cheap.

    If I were in Lotus’ shoes: Sack Grosjean, and bring in Massa as well. Money and the level of talent which could help the transition to the new regs without breaking the bank.

    Hulk fills a vacancy at Ferrari or McLaren in 2015.

    Voting with my heart, I’d vote Massa to IndyCar, Grosjean to NASCAR, Hulk and Di Resta to Lotus, and Bianchi to Force India.

    I doubt Button leaves, with Honda coming back in ’15, I see him retiring in three years. By then, both Whitmarsh and Perez will be gone. Hulk-Bianchi at McLaren-Honda when all are hitting their prime? By then, Vettel will be with Ferrari.

  91. Hulk will go to Williams I believe, even though they are not high on performance for some years. But they too got tie up with Renault for Engines and this is what makes it a possibility. Lotus should get Massa, that way they will retain the perfect mix of Experienced with a relatively newbie in Romain.

  92. Button & Withmarsh are the major problem. Remove this problem & McLaren, Lotus, Massa & Hulk will get what they deserve. Button really does not deserve to be at this level of the game anymore. The sad thing is no one, not the least the press, nor his management dares telling him that. It’s much better for Button to bow out after this season. He has looked fatigue, in recent times even looked cross & uncomfortable, realising that good PR manipulation has lost its sheen. Bow out & he’ll leave with pride intact. F1 fans will have excitement looking forward to Hulk’s performance. Massa has given F1 much more & he deserves to be in a better team after Ferrari.

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