Okay, crazy wonderings time: will Romain Grosjean stay at Lotus in 2013?
He only has a one-year deal with Lotus at the moment, and he is managed by Eric Boullier, who is also the team principal. Slam dunk, right?
Maybe not, because here’s the kicker: Boullier was a part of a “task force” designed to get the French Grand Prix back on the calendar. That task force decided that the easiest way to do that was to make Formula 1 relevant to the French public again. And the easiest way to do that was to get a successful French driver in the sport. France is currently spoiled for choice with three French drivers at the moment, but based on their current performances, Romain Grosjean is probably the only one who will still be with us in 2013.
So Eric Boullier is slightly conflicted here (which is why having team principals fill the role of driver managers is never a good idea). On the one hand, he needs the two best drivers for Lotus next year, and given their current performances, he’d be hard-pressed to pick anyone over Raikkonen and Grosjean. But on the other hand, he wants his French driver to do well to put Formula 1 back in the French consciousness. Lotus is certainly very well-equipped to give Grosjean the machinery he needs to succeed, but they’re taking a very long time to do it. People were expecting Lotus to win a race as early as the Bahrain Grand Prix in April. It’s now July, and they haven’t done it yet.
So if an opening were to becoe available at a top team – probably McLaren; I can’t see Grosjean going to Red Bull because it’s built around Vettel and that would defeat the purpose of sending him there; nor can I see Ferrari taking him on because this is only Grosjean’s first full season and Luca has already said that Ferrari won’t take Perez – which way should Boullier push Grosjean? Keep him in Lotus F1 where he knwos the team, or push him towards a bigger and better drive?
For what it’s worth, I think Grosjean will probably stay at Lotus. If anybody is going to leave the team, it’s Kimi Raikkonen. But it makes for interesting musings late on a Friday nght …