Boullier doesn’t want to hire pay driver for 2014

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Eric Boullier, Lotus, Melbourne, 2013In the round-up: Lotus team principal Eric Boullier says he wants to avoid hiring a paying driver next year if he can.

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Eric Boullier on the 2013 Korean Grand Prix (Lotus)

“We can afford to be patient ?ǣ to ask the candidates to wait as we formulate our strategy for the coming years ?ǣ and I hope not to have to take into account commercial considerations when making decisions on drivers because we have worked hard to build our financial strength without having to rely on sponsorship from a driver. We want the strongest line-up possible to continue the progress made in recent seasons; that is the priority.”

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Comment of the day

@Dragoll compares Red Bull’s recent success with the dominance achieved by other teams in the past:

I’m not sure I would class the Red Bull and Vettel domination as the same kind of domination that Michael Schumacher and Ferrari enjoyed in the early 2000s, nor the Williams domination in ’92/93, nor the McLaren domination in the late eighties. Those were truly dominant car/driver packages.

Mercedes started off really well this year, as did Ferrari, but Red Bull has been very quick on development throughout the season and that is why they?re currently leading the championship, other teams are playing catch-up.
@Dragoll

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60 comments on Boullier doesn’t want to hire pay driver for 2014

  1. Hopefully, with that statement in mind, Hulkenberg can be under serious consideration. Lotus need an effective replacement for Räikkönen: someone who will be dependable and bring back the results on a consistent basis which Grosjean is seemingly incapable of.

    • Dion (@infinitygc) said on 29th September 2013, 0:21

      I can’t really see anyone else fill the gap, to be perfectly honest… Massa is probably too old to be a long term prospect, and I am not sure if they would risk a rookie if there’s a star driver right under their noses.

      I wonder what they’ll do with Valsecchi though, since he will most likely try to get his hands on that seat! Only time will tell…

      • @infinitygc in my ideal (but realistic) world, I’d have Grosjean replaced by Valsecchi: I believe they both have some degree of sponsorship backing and although I think Romain has more “natural” speed, I somewhat doubt he’ll ever shake off his crash prone ways.

        When everything goes right, he’s brilliant. Better than Räikkönen even. But that happens once a season most times, and it really shows in the points standings. I think he’s just been a liability for Lotus.

        • I still like Grosjean a lot, and expect him to challenge for a championship at some point (if he has the car to do it).

          He’s been working on not crashing a lot this year, and he’s gotten a lot better at that. The start of the year didn’t go too well, probably because he was trying to be careful and not hit anybody, but he’s really picked up the pace since then. Of course, there was the Monaco incident, but I don’t recall any others.

          When he’s at his best, he really is one of the fastest guys out there, and I expect him to develop into a great driver (both race and qualifying) in the next few years.

          • @merioksa that’s my problem with him though: he’s either brilliantly fast but crashing a lot, or being slow. There’s really only two races this year IMO where’s he’s performed as he should have, and that’s Germany and Singapore. He’s had two seasons almost and hasn’t really shown a great improvement I think, unlike how the likes of Hamilton and Vettel did.

          • @vettel1 Maybe not as great improvement as Hamilton and Vettel showed when they were younger, but he’s slowly been picking up the pace, while NOT crashing. I think 2013 Grosjean is a lot better, than 2012 Grosjean.

            He’s learning from his mistakes, and if Lotus has the same kind of pace next year, as we’ve seen in the past couple of years, I think he will shine.

        • Candice said on 29th September 2013, 7:43

          When everything goes right, he’s brilliant.

          Isn’t that the same for all driver??

          Differences between champion and mere driver is WDC able to compete at highest level in all races. Their worst weekend would be at the level of decent weekend for normal driver. While normal driver’s worst weekend would be disaster.

          • That’s all fair point on Valsecchi, but he’s consistent it appears, rather unlike Grosjean. I’d prefer a faster talent if they could be tamed, but Grosjean I don’t think can.

        • Patrick (@paeschli) said on 29th September 2013, 9:37

          @vettel1 Why do you want Valsecchi in F1? I don’t think he’ll be better than Grosjean, he was GP2 champion in a very weak year …

          • I agree. There’s a lot of hype for Valsecchi here in Italy at the moment. Everyone wants him to take Raikkonen’s place in Lotus. I think it’s impossible. If Lotus is really interested, they would give him more time in the car.
            Besides, I don’t consider Valsecchi up to the job, to be honest. He’s been in GP2 for five years, failing to impress. He was very consistent in his last year and he won, but he hardly showed the speed you’d expect from a GP2 champion, in my opinion.

        • James (@jamesf1) said on 29th September 2013, 16:38

          I really do no rate Valsecchi at all. Yes, he won the GP2 title, but that’s meaning increasingly less nowadays. He’d been in the series for a very long time before he started winning races on a regular basis, and eventually the title.

          GP2 is beginning to mean increasingly less every year that it runs now. The talent emerging from it is on the whole (but not as a rule) getting weaker every year.

        • Valsecchi doesn’t deserve an F1 seat at all if I’m honest. I know Grosjean has earnt this reputation of crashing, but in the last few months he has been fast and reliable. Whilst Raikkonen had problems, Grosjean was picking up good points for Lotus. He qualified 3rd in Singapore but rotten luck took away the chance of a podium finish. So I think on current form he deserves another season.

          • Denis 68 said on 29th September 2013, 23:59

            “Valsecchi doesn’t deserve an F1 seat at all if I’m honest”

            But drivers like Gutierrez, Van Der Garde and Chilton do?. Drivers that Valsecchi comfortably beat in GP2.

      • oliveiraz33 (@oliveiraz33) said on 29th September 2013, 4:33

        Massa isn’t too old, massa is too slow…

    • His words are not welcom e to Team Massa. Apparently, Todt and Massa are not only marketing Massa’s skills as a driver but also his ability to get sponsors involved.

  2. In terms of drivers; Grosjean is a safer bet. Knows the staff well so communication would be an issue. Especially for 2014 they’ll want Felipe, Nico, Kamui or Jerome. Someone who’s been in F1 and knows what they’re doing. Best shot-Felipe. Was around for the last major rule changes so knows what different types of F1 cars feel like.

  3. Calum (@calum) said on 29th September 2013, 0:39

    The post-2008 generation seasons haven’t been too bad.

    2009: Ironically, RedBull saved us from a total Brawn domination, (and Hamilton’s Mclaren outscored every one in the second half of the season, including the RedBull pair).

    2010: RedBull reliability issues pushed the title fight further than expected in 2010 giving us four drivers in the hunt for the drivers’ title at Abu Dhabi.

    2011: Really fun racing through the field, JB gave as good as he got in the Mclaren but Sebastian was in a class of his own this year. True dominance.

    2012: Seven different winners in the first seven races was really interesting. Argue it was a lottery if you want but, Maldonado aside, the other winners were previous multiple winners in decent cars, the cream was rising to the top regardless of the tyres. There was a strong RedBull Racing car but they weren’t dominant, Fernando did as well as he could, and Mclaren’s reliability and race-operations killed any chance of them taking the battle to Brazil.

  4. Marcel Doyon (@mertadopan) said on 29th September 2013, 1:06

    So, they don’t mind not going after the championship for next year? That’s weird. Nothing against Grosjean, I think he’s great, but he just doesn’t seem to have the potential to fight for a championship anytime soon. Hulkenberg would be the safer bet, but I’m pretty sure a pro like him only drives for money.

  5. Meanwhile, here in Brazil some sites are linking Rubens Barrichello with a seat at Sauber, proposing a Barrichello/Sirotkin lineup for 2014.

    • mantresx (@mantresx) said on 29th September 2013, 2:38

      @corix Well is true that next year Sauber will have a very inexperienced lineup in Gutiérrez/Sirotkin but if you want a quick, experienced Brazilian driver with some sponsors and no contract for next season I can think of other options.

      This deal with the Russians is proving to be a double edge sword, they need the money and Sirotkin may or may not be a future star, but right now he’s a hindrance for Sauber, they have to put him in all this tests and let go of good drivers just to get him ready for (the all important) next year. Only time will tell if this was a wise decision.

    • BJ (@beejis60) said on 29th September 2013, 2:54

      I wouldn’t take that too seriously…

    • the_sigman (@sigman1998) said on 29th September 2013, 5:48

      It would be like father and son :D

  6. dragoll (@dragoll) said on 29th September 2013, 3:38

    Cheers for the COTD @keithcollantine

  7. Prof Kirk (@prof-kirk) said on 29th September 2013, 5:30

    So where is Robert Kubica in all of this driver talk?

    • Todd (@braketurnaccelerate) said on 29th September 2013, 5:38

      No where. I doubt he’ll ever race F1 again.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th September 2013, 5:56

      @prof-kirk – Being lined up for Citroen’s WRC and WTCC programmes.

    • kpcart said on 29th September 2013, 8:44

      there was an interview last week with lotuses lopez, where he talks of alonso, kubica and raikkonnen. he then speak of maybe hiring a driver with 85% ability and giving him a good car. – some on kubica fan forums thought that he is talking of kubica, kubica wouldnt take much money either like someone like hulkenburg. kubica has been in brackley up to 10 times this year driving mercedes simulator.
      Kubica still wants to return, that is whole goal. at the moment it looks like he would need need a custom cockpit with 10cm more space on the right side. the fia could approve such a thing, they approved a modification for his rally car. at this stage though, even though he says he doesnt want to be in rallying next year, but rather on the racing track, it looks like time has run out for a return next year to f1, and all signs are that kubica will win the wrc2 championship this year, and step up to a full factory drive with citroen next year and compete in wrc. along with this he will help develop citroens wtcc car, and will appear in 1 or 2 races in that series.

  8. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 29th September 2013, 6:32

    I hope Boullier sticks to his word so we don’t have the shame to see Maldonado sitting on a great car and making it fall in pieces. They have one nutcase already. They don’t need two!

    • Shreyas Mohanty (@) said on 29th September 2013, 13:22

      @omarr-pepper why are you at times so spiteful about drivers? Grosjean has matured a lot since his antics last year! His only crash was Monaco this year! He has true speed, he will be great in two years time! As for Maldonado, I don’t even think he would last in F1 much longer.

    • I’m actually of the opposite standing: I think Maldonado is seriously fast and he can drive in traffic, but he just needs to calm down. He’s far too violent towards other drivers – if he learned to control that passion and channel it towards his already ferocious speed, I think he’ll be an excellent driver.

      Just calm down Pastor!

  9. sumedh said on 29th September 2013, 9:57

    @keithcollantine : Regarding the Singapore 2008 article, brilliant piece. I think Alonso was fully aware of the plan that was being formulated. Alonso has shown to be very very cunning and smart on and off the race track. He is without doubt the only driver whose off-smart smartness matches his on-field skill. Probably the smartest F1 driver since Prost.
    People who say he didn’t know are insulting his intelligence. Please don’t do that.

  10. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate) said on 29th September 2013, 10:21

    My approved plan for Boullier:

    - Fire Grosjean
    - Hire Massa & Hulkenberg.
    - Fire Yourself
    - ???

    — Yes, Massa is slowing down, but a Hulkenberg/Grosjean combo wouldn’t be that great in development over the season, IMHO. I think Massa being more seasoned would do better, plus he’s outscored Grosjean.

  11. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 29th September 2013, 10:26

    Once again I feel obliged to stop some people from making an easy assesment. The money PDVSA has provided to Maldonando with signature from late Hugo Chavez is a deal until the end of 2015 so that money isn’t going anywhere, meaning Maldonando is staying put right were he is.

  12. I encourage you all to read this fantastic article on whether Webber’s “good guy” image is misplaced.

    • celeste (@celeste) said on 29th September 2013, 15:06

      Read it earlier today, and it plays to an image he have create for himself and the way he plays the media. Anyway Mark will always be a victim in his own eyes and some news outlets totally believe that.

    • A Vettel fan saying that Webber is the Villain? why i’m not surprised.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 29th September 2013, 18:39

        @Ausuma – Not that he’s a villain per se, rather that his actions are not those of the victim he ‘s usually made out as. The article gave good examples from last week, as well as Brazil last year (though I still say Vettel was responsible for his poor start).

      • @ausuma what @david-a said: he’s far from an innocent party, and he definitely twists reality.

        I like Mark: he’s usually a pretty straight-faced guy but he’s also a hypocrite. That said, I have really admired his recent defence of Seb – that’s admirable considering their history, a sort of “no hard feelings” statement before he bows out.

        though I still say Vettel was responsible for his poor start

        He was too cautious was all, until T4, where he was too aggressive in trying to remedy his over-caution. I think that was just a slight hint of pressure, such as happened to Alonso when he went straight on at the Senna Essess having messed up his braking.

    • Totally agree, sick of Mark playing to this character the press have helped him create. He’s a second best driver in a top team who has been beaten consistently for the last 3 years. He’s bitter and has nothing else better to do than make it seem like Seb is a villan. Never trusted Mark after Korea a few years back when he binned it and failed to brake as his car rolled back into the track.

    • “The dog that didn’t bark” is the refusal of the F1 press to cover Webbers actions at the end of last year. A lot of casual F1 fans don’t even know what you’re talking about if you mention the matter – since it wasn’t covered on BBC Sport or Sky Sports or ESPN, it literally never happened in their minds.

    • The trouble is Webber’s disobeying of team-orders at Silverstone 2011 and Interlagos last year didn’t get much coverage, if any (if my memory serves me), unlike Vettel’s did in Malaysia, so the casual fan gets this idea that Webber is squeaky-clean and Vettel is like the pantomime villain. Don’t get me wrong, I like Webber, but he is far from the “good guy” of the party.

    • Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 29th September 2013, 22:36

      @vettel1 You probably didn’t put the link to this article out there with bad itentions but this ‘objective’ journalist is trying to pin the booing on Webber (and to some extend Alonso), which is completly the wrong assesment of the situation. Vettel is receiving the booing because he in combination with RB have pretty much turned F1 into a verry expensive parade (rightfully so, best car and one of the best drivers available IMHO). The booing is silly and stupid but we are slowly starting to go down a road were evreything is cause for the problem.

      Thinking no F1 star can be an [censored] from time to time is nothing but naive. All of them have had moments where they were doing stuff that came back to bite the latter on.

      I don’t like these ‘oh look daddy that man is more vile than the person I like IMHO’ discussions because they don’t add anything but mindless ranting.

      That said I still like you @vettel1 and I personally have nothing against you!

      • @force-mailed

        but this ‘objective’ journalist is trying to pin the booing on Webber (and to some extend Alonso), which is completly the wrong assesment of the situation

        I agree with that: the problem isn’t with the drivers, it’s emphatically with the few fans. However he could be doing some more to help the problem (which they have in fairness: most of the key figures have spoken out against it, including Webber).

        Thinking no F1 star can be an [censored] from time to time is nothing but naive.

        I don’t mind that, either. However – and why I think the article raises some very good points – is that it is hypocritical to portray Webber as a “good guy” and Vettel as the “bad guy”.

  13. Joao Pitol (@dantheman) said on 29th September 2013, 17:12

    Marco Sørensen will test for Lotus tomorrow, It will be his first F1 drive.

  14. Can Lotus afford to not have a pay driver? Literally, since they have been unable to pay Kimi’s wages.

    • Merv (@) said on 30th September 2013, 15:26

      Currently no, which is why EB said he will carry on working on the financial situation before choosing a driver.

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