Who will stand in for Grosjean at Monza?

This topic contains 48 replies, has 22 voices, and was last updated by  Keith Collantine 5 years, 1 month ago.

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    So with the races being a double-header, and Monza just half a week off (the race prep starts Wednesday/Thursday for the paddock, generally) the leading contender is, for obvious reasons, JdA (Jerome d’Ambrosio).

    I have heard some paddock chatter floating about that Williams may loan out Bottas, Red Bull may give them Buemi or Bianchi may look for a buy in. There are some rumors too that Alguersuari and Sutil are making a play for the one-off drive.

    WIll Buxton said Luca Fillipi or Giorgio Pantano would be killer replacements as they are Monza specialists.

    Who do you want/think?

    This close to the race weekend, I don’t think any of those other paddock rumors will come to any fruit.



    I think Chandok never got the chance to show his worth, but he seems very professional, and also a likeable character, he would deserve a shot.

    While it would be good to see some of the ex F1 drivers, JdA is the most probable. Lotus would like to run their new ‘DDRS’ in Monza, so they would prefer a driver who tried it at least in the simulator.



    I would like to see Bottas in the car. He seems promising, and if he manages not to make a fool out of him self, then it could be good for him.
    That said, if I were Lotus I would most deffinetely go for Sutil, Heidfeld etc. Someone experienced, calm and pretty fast to try to secure some constructors points.
    I don’t think a complete rookie will be of much use. Its hard enough for a rookie to start a with a new team at the beginning of the season and perform straight out of the box. To make him perform with less then a weeks notice would be incredible. And not very likely. Most likely Lotus will just end up paying for a few suspension and front wing replacements without a single point, or any useful data to work with in terms of development.
    I think it will be much easier to get an experienced driver to perform and score points on such short notice as they know how things work.



    Pantano would be good. At Sonoma, I think, he showed good potential.


    Prisoner Monkeys

    At first glance, I think Jerome d’Ambrosio is the only driver who makes sense. He’s already a part of the team, and Lotus can pick him up pretty quickly given the tight turn-around period between Spa and Monza – but the big question mark hangs over his speed. Right now, Lotus are in the thick of the Constructors’ Championship fight, just eleven points behind McLaren. They need someone who is quick and can get a decent points haul, and d’Ambrosio has never really done anything consistently impressive.

    Combined with their funding and their performances this year, Lotus’ position means that they can afford to be choosy in who they take. They have to make a decision quickly, but they’re not going to take the first person who waves a cheque at them. That filters out the likes of some of the GP2 starlets who might be able to land a Formula 1 drive based on their money rather than their talent.

    But I think there is one driver with a good reputation who has plenty of experience in current-generation Formula 1 cars, but is not already racing: Valtteri Bottas.

    Williams want to get Bottas into a race seat as soon as possible, but they’ve been very reluctant to drop Senna or Maldonado despite their run of lacklustre performances. Bottas has driven on Friday mornings fairly regularly, and has set decent lap times along the way. He won the GP3 Series title in the Lotus-backed ART team, and both Lotus and Williams use Renault engines. There are a whole lot of parallels that line up quite nicely, and would work ou nicely for both teams: Lotus gets a driver who is highly-rated by Williams (and whose last protege, Hulkenberg, was also highly-rated in the paddock), while Williams get a chance to assess Bottas on a circuit he knows without ditching either of their current drivers.

    It may seem like one of my slightly-bonkers suggestions, but I think it would work out quite nicely.



    There probably isn’t enough time for Lotus to get anyone other than d’Ambrosio into the car, and if I were in his shoes, I’d be pretty miffed if they did.


    Prisoner Monkeys

    @estesark – Bottas already has a racing seat fitted, though it is tailored to the FW34. I don’t know if that would affect his ability to drive the E20, though; there’s not a whole lot of difference between cockpits, and the E20 already has to be varied enough to accomodat Raikkonen and Grosjean, just as the FW34 needs to be able to hold Maldonado, Bottas and Senna.



    First of all, d’Ambrosio is their third driver, this kind of situation is what he’s there for. If they thought he wasn’t quick enough to replace one of their main drivers, why would they keep him along? There shouldn’t be any doubt about who’s going to get the drive.

    Second, you’re saying that d’Ambrosio might not bring enough points for the constructors’, but then you assume that Bottas, a rookie, without any racing experience in F1, that doesn’t know anyone in the team, is almost sure to do better? And why would Renaultus want a driver of one of their competitors to get to test their DDRS?

    I think this discussion is pointless. I’d like to see Bottas get a drive as well, but …



    @necrodethmortem Being a 3rd driver is no guarantee of being the first stand-in. It only guarantees that you’re the emergency reserve, to be there in case a different replacement is not available (generally in short notice scenarios).

    Case in point – Gutierrez was the Sauber reserve driver for 2011, if memory serves. But the stand-in for Perez (who opted out of the race because he didn’t feel well) was de la Rosa.

    @prisoner-monkeys The harsh reality is that an F1 seat, unfortunately, is not cockpit-interchangeable. The issue doesn’t lie with dimensions, it lies with the locking between the cockpit inner walls and the seat. It’s not like a chair that you just put in a room – there’s some interlocking between the curves of the seat, and the cockpit wall going on.

    Shoehorning a seat into a car it wasn’t made for could work with some makeshift adjustments, but it would be a compromise. A large part of a driver’s feel comes from the base of his spine – more precisely, from the coccyx up to the third vertebra. An improper (or half-assed, for lack of a better word) seat fit will only result in a driver unable to have a good feel for the limit.

    Other than that – it’s also about driver preference on positioning. See Jenson Button in 2010 to see what I mean – he was sitting half a head higher than Lewis in the seat in the first pre-season tests.

    That really leaves the decision to a few drivers – should the decision be seat-limited – generally anyone who’s driven for them since 2009. Piquet, Alonso, Kubica, Petrov, Heidfeld, Senna, and JdA.



    Jerome D’Ambrosio



    Having just 4 days to find a new driver is pretty short notice, no?



    @necrodethmortem Not nearly as short a notice as Canada 2011. And still in 2011 Canada, Sauber didn’t go for their reserve driver. They had 3 hours to FP2, and 51 hours to the race. Compared to that, this is a massive lead time to allow Lotus to look for someone else.


    Keith Collantine

    I’d be surprised if it was anyone other than Jerome d’Ambrosio. He’s the official third driver and he’s already driven the car (at Mugello).

    @raymondu999 makes an interesting point about Gutierrez last year but that would have meant giving him his F1 debut at a track he hadn’t been to before at very short notice. If memory serves correctly he wasn’t at the track that weekend and Perez only pulled out between first and second practice so it was very short notice.

    I don’t agree with @bag0 that Chandhok deserves another shot – I think his disastrous showing for Lotus at the Nurburgring last year has killed that stone dead.

    I’d be surprised if Williams let a rival team get their claws into a hot property like Bottas as @prisoner-monkeys suggests. But Williams seem willing to put up with a lot of things for money at the moment so who knows. Still, my money is on D’Ambrosio.



    I agree that JdA is the most likely replacement. But I do not believe he’s a complete shoe-in for the role. I think there is a chance – however small – that someone else takes the one-off.

    I must admit I have minimal contact with junior racing categories, and I’m not familiar with their schedule, but a quick look at the GP2 calendar for 2011 showed no events for the weekend of the Canadian GP… so he should (I guess) be free from other occupational commitments, and googling the situation back, he wasn’t very happy with Sauber, saying that Sauber had a lack of transparency.

    Apparently he also tweeted “I never received any instructions to prevent this situation. I was ready” (this was off a news report )



    D’Ambrosio has driven the Lotus at Mugello already as Keith said – a bit surprising, then, to hear he’s having another seat fitting…


    Lotus have ignored their official reserve driver before (when Kubica was injured, they brought in Heidfeld instead of Senna) but I’m sure – and I hope – Jerome gets a race. He did fine last year, and in a way it’s a pity it didn’t happen at Spa, his home race.

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