Tag Archives: Lotus

Romain Grosjean given 1 race ban. Is it fair?

4 Sep

At turn one of last weekends dramatic GP there was an almighty pile up at turn one forcing 4 drivers to retire and giving Kobayashi damage that would ruin his race, as a result of this Romain Grosjean was found to be guilty of causing the incident by the FIA and as a result of this he has been given a 1 race ban and a £40,000 fine. This decision was made due to the potential injury caused by this crash, but is it a fair decision?

At a first glance it would appear fair, I mean Alonso wasn’t far from suffering a serious – and maybe fatal – injury, but from watching replays of the crash I don’t feel Grosjean was entirely responsible for the crash and that the crash should have been put down as a racing incident.


From watching this replay it appears that Grosjean made a slight error of judgement over how close his rear right tyre was to Hamilton’s front left and that he started braking for turn 1 slightly to early, these mistakes could very easily be put down as a lack of experience and a racing incident, but due to the result of this crash the officials decided he should be banned from competing in this weekend’s Italian GP.

If that is the reason the FIA gave Grosjean the ban then they should look back  to the final race of the 2010 season to find another time when a car went over the top of the other when at turn 6 on lap 1 Adrian Sutil’s Force India went over the top of Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes. This crash forced the retirement of both of the drivers and forced the rest of the field to use a different track layout for a few laps (the only change of the route was to skip the chicane where the crash happened). As a result of this crash – which like Grosjean’s could have caused a serious injury – Sutil received no disciplinary action, whilst Grosjean’s similar crash has given him a one race ban and a £40,000 fine, this shows a lack of consistency from the FIA, something many fans have repeatedly criticised the FIA for.

Despite the unfairness of the decision it has happened now and Renault will have to field a different driver for the team this weekend, here are some of the main contenders:

Jerome D’Ambrosio: current Lotus reserve driver.

  • Jerome was the second driver for Marussia last season and the young Belgian put in a solid rookie season which didn’t merit being dropped from the team.
  • Positives: He’s had lots of experience with the team in pre season testing and drove all season last year. He’s highly regarded and he could pick up points for team.
  • Negatives: He’s never driven a competitive car in race conditions before.
  • Chances: 8/10

Nick Heidfeld: drove for Lotus (who were Renault) for the first half of last season.

  • Nick put in consistent performances for Renault last season including a podium in the second race of the season in Malaysia.
  • Positives: Nick’s a consistent performer and is likely to put in a good performance and pick up points.
  • Negatives: Was dropped last season for not being good enough, he’s unlikely to have got better over the past year and is famous for being the driver to hold the record for the most races (and points) without a win.
  • Chances: 4/10

With such short notice it is very unlikely that Lotus wouldn’t choose D’Ambrosio for the coming weekend and it should provide us an good insight to how good Jerome can be with a competitive team.




31 Jul

The Michael Report- FORMULA 1 ENI MAGYAR NAGYDIJ 2012

McLAREN have dominated the weekend at the Hungaroring with a superbly fast car that clearly had the edge over the other teams in Budapest- Lewis Hamilton was fastest in all sessions bar one practice, in which he was second, and he managed to see off the competition to win the race, careful tyre management strategy and almost perfect pit stopping gave McLaren the win they’ve so desperately needed. This is Hamilton’s third Hungarian victory. His twenty five points were much deserved and McLaren need them as they go into the summer break.

It was enthralling from the start- Michael Schumacher’s 300th GP start was ruined when he accidentally switched off the engine and forced an aborted start and an extra formation lap and had to start from the pits, and to add insult to injury he had a drive through penalty for pit lane speeding, and did eventually retire from the race.

Red Bull’s Mark Webber had an – uncharacteristically – astonishingly quick start and jumped from 11th to 7th in the opening lap; Jenson Button made sure he overtook Vettel and took 3rd place, meaning that McLaren looked on course to have two drivers on the podium. However, Bruno Senna thwarted this because he got in front of Button on his pit stop out lap, and held him back until it was too late, and Alonso took over from Senna and prevented a double McLaren podium today, though he did finish a respectable sixth place, and got eight points.

Team Lotus were superb- Romain Grosjean endured the disintegrating tyres right up until the end, finishing in third, narrowly ahead of Vettel. The young Frenchman demonstrated the consistency of the Lotus car, though had a near miss with Kimi Raikkönen, his team-mate when exiting the pit lane; Raikkönen chased down Hamilton, but ran out of laps to take second place and eighteen points, but he and Grosjean should be impressed with the Lotus performance- thirty three points is a huge haul prior to the break.

Ferrari were left straggling in the midfield throughout the duration of this race, in which it is incredibly difficult to overtake; Fernando Alonso finished fifth with ten points, and Felipe Massa, whose Ferrari career is looking evermore precarious, did nothing to prove his worthiness today and finished ninth, picking up only two points.

Bruno Senna finished seventh and received six points for Williams; Mark Webber finished eighth with four points, and Mercedes need to up their game after the summer- all Nico Rosberg got was a single point for finishing tenth.

It was surprising to see that neither Sauber nor Force India secured points this weekend- they too will be looking for an improvement in Belgium.

The weekend was dominated by McLaren and Lewis Hamilton, but Lotus deserve credit for their consistent and impressive performance with two podium places- hopefully “God Save The Queen” though will continue to ring out at the Olympics whilst Formula 1 heads off for it’s month long summer holiday, and Lewis Hamilton is looking to keep it up to challenge for the Championship title in the remaining races this year.


Fernando Alonso has extended his lead to a forty point advantage- his 164 points is miles ahead of Mark Webber with 124 points, and Sebastian Vettel is creeping very closely behind with 122 points; Lewis Hamilton is only a single point ahead of Kimi Raikkönen, who have 117 and 116 points respectively, but this can easily change following the next race in Spa. Sixth, seventh and eighth place are separated by one point; Nico Rosberg has 77 points, and Jenson Button and Romain Grosjean are tied on 76 points and their nearest competitor is Sergio Perez who has 47 points.

McLaren are back in second place in the Constructors Championships, with 193 points, but they still trail Red Bull who have 246 points. Lotus are just one point behind McLaren with 192 points, slightly ahead of Ferrari’s 186 points. Mercedes remain fifth with 106 points, and Sauber are sixth with 80 points. Going into the summer break, Williams’ 53 points see them in seventh place, marginally ahead of Force India, who have 46 points. Toro Rosso have a meagre 6 points and then Caterham, Marussia and HRT are still yet to receive points.

I’ll be back after the summer break for another update following the Belgian Grand Prix in the legendary Spa Francorchamps circuit deep in the heart of the forest.

Lotus impress but still no victory

8 Jul

Driver ratings, GB 12, pt.2, HRT Lotus and Maussia

Pedro De La Rosa: 5/10 Q22 S21 F20

For 1 lap Pedro appeared to actually impress as Pedro capitalised on mistakes and accident to move up 2 places on lap 1. Sadly HRT bounced him back to reality, and all he could finish was 22nd.

Narain Karthikeyan: 4/10 Q23 S22 F21

If it weren’t for the money Narain wouldn’t be allowed near the racing seat of the HRT but F1 moves in mysterious ways and Karthikeyan is allowed to drive. Not that it means much though as he finished at the back.

Kimi Raikkonen: 8/10 Q6 S6 F5

Many expected his return to be like Schumacher’s and fail to deliver but Kimi has stormed back into F1 and added to his points tally at Silverstone. It was a really strong performance by Kimi to take home another 10 points and put himself in a great position for the championship, even better still he set the fastest lap..

Romain Grosjean: 10/10 Q10 S9 F6 #DriverOfTheDay

Romain drove fantastically all weekend, although a mistake at the end of Q2 saw the Lotus beached and left Romain unable to contest Q3, if he had we could easily have expected him to be around 6th. In the race though Romain made up for that spin, the first lap was marred by a slight touch with Paul Di Resta which saw Grosjean have to pit for a new wing, but Grosjean was a man possessed and he set fastest lap after fastest lap to storm his way up the field, if he hadn’t had that front wing pitstop I think he would have finished on the podium.

Timo Glock: 5/10 Q21 S20 F18

It was good to see Timo back after missing the Valencia GP with a stomach bug, but it was your typical ‘new team’ performance with Timo only coming home above team-mate Pic and the HRTs.

Charles Pic: 4/10 Q24 S24 F19

Charles started the season looking strong, but in recent weeks he’s tailed off and yet again Charles qualified behind the HRTs. Luckily Pic managed to make the car work in the race which helped him to finish above the HRTs in an uneventful race.

Romain Grosjean was so near but so far

24 Jun

Picture courtest of formulaone.com

Driver Ratings Europe 12, Pt.2, HRT, Lotus and Marusia

Pedro De La Rosa: 7/10 Q21 F17

HRT are at last managing to find some much needed speed , both HRTs qualified ahead of the sole Marussia and De La Rosa put in a strong performance to finish only 1 lap behind Alonso (although he was helped by the new safety car rules).

Narain Karthikeyan: 7/10 Q22 F18

A miracle saw Narain Karthikeyan set a lap faster than fellow back marker Charles Pic, and he was regularly not the last man on track due to other drivers suffering accident damage.

Kimi Raikkonen: 9/10 Q5 F2

Kimi had been looking promising all weekend, but his race started off rather drab. It was only after the safety car returned to the pits that Kimi really started to charge, profiting from the retirements of Vettel, Grosjean and Hamilton to finish 2nd and pick up his first podium since Monza 2009.

Romain Grosjean: 10/10 Q4 F ret.

Romain has really landed on his feet this season and yet again he was impressive in qualifying, but it was the race where he made hearts race. Romain overtook Maldonado in a hectic first lap but he took too long to pass the ailing Lewis Hamilton to start charging after Vettel. Romain would probably have been delighted with the safety car as it let him close the gap to Vettel, but the restart wasn’t good as Alonso overtook him at turn 2. Maybe Grosjean could have still won the race but we will never know as an alternator ended his race on lap 40.

Charles Pic: 7/10 Q23 F15

May have been outperformed by both HRTs in qualifying but Charles showed them that HRT still have a thing to learn from Marussia’s in the race. Maybe most amazingly Pic even finished ahead of Felipe Massa.

Timo Glock: – DNQ DNS

Timo Glock pulled out of qualifying and the race with a stomach bug.

Picture courtesy of formulaone.com


Fernando stops the record run! Courtesy of Sebastian Vettel

24 Jun

The tweet review, Europe (Valencia) 12

Picture courtesy of formulaone.com

“confirmation that due to the stomach bug Timo Glock will not start the race today” (@formula1formula)


“so far Michael Schumacher has finished 2/7 races. Majority of them were car problems” (@formula1formula) luckily today would be the day when Schumacher put his bad run behind him, managing to finish 3rd.

@NicoHulkenberg is a driver to watch today qualified 8th and should perform in the race” (@formula1formula) My prediction would turn out to be correct with Nico finishing 5th.

“if the race carries on at this rate Vettel’s going to get a grand slam” (@formula1formula)

“If DiResta is running hot rear brakes, does he perhaps not have KERS harvesting properly under braking” (@ScarbsF1) with many viewers puzzled over why Paul Di Resta was struggling @ScarbsF1 had an answer

“Go go go Grosjean! An overtake!” (@rookief1)

“Fernando Alonso may have started 11th but he’s now 7th after overtaking Hulkenburg” (@formula1formula)

“GRO is now a mammoth 14.4 seconds behind VET” (@formula1formula)

“It takes a special kind of TV directing incompetence to miss one of the few passes in Valencia. By Alonso no less.” (@charlie_whiting)

“Since the end of the 2009 European GP, Vettel has led every single racing lap held at Valencia, except one (Massa led 1 lap in 2011).” (@virtualstatman)

“WHAT A SAVE by @BSenna to avoid a wall of some sort – the@WilliamsF1Team car is damaged though…” (@IrvineF1)

“Alonso started 11th after failing to make Q2, now he’s 4th and chasing down Hamilton” (@formula1formula)

“KOB/SEN incident under investigation.” (@F1Kate)

“Koboyashi for a drive through in my opinion, probably be deemed a racing incident though” (@ChrisJ_F1)

“Safety car out… ” (@lotus_F1team)

“So the answer this week to my question “How will McLaren ruin Lewis’ race?” is: Pit-stop (again,again,again etc.)” (@F1Gossip)

“Jean-Eric Vergne is the first retirement at Valencia for two years” (@formula1formula)

“McLaren were brilliant and Williams were rubbish. Then Sam Michael changed teams. Mmmm.” (@GrandPrixDiary)

“Fearless move by Alonso!” (@hardtyres) Fernando did well from the restart to overtake Grosjean


“It has to be said, @alo_oficial has just been spectacular… I mean, absolutely spectacular today!” (@IrvineF1)

“sorry to repeat it but Fernando Alonso, started 11th after failing to make Q2, now he’s first” (@formula1formula)

“Pirelli, boosting Hermann Tilke’s reputation since 2011” (@EliGP)

“Aaargh. Lewis now under investigation for ignoring yellow flags!” (@EasonF1)

“Grosjean coasting to a halt.” (@f1fanaticlive)

“But that puts Petrov in 11th! Caterham so close to points!!!” (@hardtyres)

“Schumacher will double his points this weekend if he finishes 9th” (@formula1formula)

“KOB given a 5 place grid drop at next race for his MAS crash” (@F1Kate)

“Toro Rosso. Have a word with your drivers will you? This is not the BTCC.” (@GrandPrixDiary)


“We’ve had some good overtakes here, but most of the excitement seems to have been caused by incidents rather than ‘racing’.” (@rookieF1)

“RAI takes HAM, who now needs to worry about MAL 2.2s behind” (@F1Kate)


“podium is ALO RAI SCH, I remember the days when this was regular” (@formula1formula)

“top 10: ALO RAI SCH WEB HUL ROS DIR BUT PER MAL” (@formula1formula)

“great drive by Webber out in Q1 started 19th and has just finished 4th” (@formula1formula)

“Alonso replaced Raikkonen who replaced Schumacher. All three on the podium.” (@VincentMcKenna)

“driver of the day: Fernando Alonso, who else could overtake around Valencia” (@formula1formula)

Picture courtesy of formulaone.com


11 Jun


LAST YEAR Jenson Button achieved an astonishing victory in the waterlogged Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, and whereas rain was the deciding factor in 2011, 2012 saw rubber decide who won, and who lost out.

It was a well deserved victory for McLaren and Lewis Hamilton, who secured his third Canadian GP win, and became the seventh different winner in seven races- an extension to the world record set in Monaco- in an interesting, but not entirely exciting, race. Tyre strategy was quintessential. Martin Whitmarsh’s crystal ball of strategy foresaw a one stop strategy leading to sitting ducks at the end of the race, and he was right- Alonso sacrificed a win because his soft tyres just couldn’t hold out for fifty eight laps; Vettel’s tyres were older and he was forced to pit late, meaning Sergio Perez (Sauber) and Romain Grosjean (Lotus) managed a more successful one stop strategy to overtake Vettel and Alonso to take third and second place respectively; Hamilton’s two stop strategy was ideal, and although his pit stops weren’t smooth, he managed to stay calm, collected and he drove his heart out to take the chequered flag.

Sadly McLaren didn’t do the same for Jenson Button- a disastrous car in qualifying, problems with the tyres in the race and unsmooth driving sent him right down the grid to mingle with the likes of Jean Eric Vergne and Bruno Senna in sixteenth; Vettel eventually finished fourth, which was disappointing because his earlier battle between Alonso and Hamilton made for quite interesting viewing, and Alonso came home fifth; they scored twelve and ten points respectively.

Mercedes had another mixed race- Rosberg finished in a respectable sixth, receiving eight points, but Michael Schumacher was forced to retire or face disqualification following a damaged DRS flap which didn’t shut; joining the retired German was Pedro De La Rosa, Timo Glock and Narain Karthikeyan. Mark Webber finished seventh with six points; Raikkönen, Kobayashi and Felipe Massa took the final point. Massa looked strong before spinning in a Ferrari which has returned to form.
Despite the champagne at the podium tasting sweet for Hamilton, yet again it has been proven that McLaren’s pit stops are not up to scratch, and tyre strategy was the determining factor- Grosjean and Perez did this well, conserving their two sets, whereas Alonso and Vettel lost out, and the less said about Button, the better! It was a procession, with some interesting overtaking bits, and a few cars mowing the grass, but it just lacked the fun and excitement of the rain; I guess we’ll have to wait until Britain for that- I’ll be live at Silverstone over the British GP weekend, so please keep following Tom’s informative blog – weather permitting- for on- location updates!

It is Valencia in two weeks, and last year not one car crashed- let’s hope it’s not as boring as last year!


Hamilton’s weekend has soared him up to the top of the driver’s championships, with 88 points to his name, but just behind him is Alonso and Vettel, with 86 and 85 points respectively; seven different winners still means it is all to play for, and other serious contenders include Mark Webber, who is only 9 points adrift of Hamilton with 79 points, and Nico Rosberg with 67 points. Button’s chances are fading fast as he slips further down the Championships with another pointless race- he has 45 points and is now eighth, behind Raikkönen (55) and Grosjean (53).

Concerning Constructors, Red Bull still lead by a comfortable 33 points, with 164 points over McLaren’s 133, but their gap will probably narrow if Hamilton is back on form; Lotus’ consistency in F1 has meant they now overtake Ferrari into third place, with 108 points over Ferrari’s 97; the Mercedes tally has increased to 69 points, but Sauber are only 11 points behind with 58 points. At the bottom of both Championships, after seven races, are the usual suspects- Catheram, Marussia and HRT are still to score a single point.

Vettel’s storming lap grants him pole

9 Jun

3 winners and losers of qualifying, Canada 12.

Whilst Vettel picked up his 32nd career pole position here are the other men who performed well and the guys who failed to perform.


Felipe Massa: One of Massa’s strongest traits in recent years has been his ability to suddenly improve just when everyone’s calling for his head. This weekend Massa looked very strong again in his Ferrari, and his qualifying position of 6th could see him stand on the podium for the first time since the 2010 Korean GP.

Pedro De La Rosa: To be fair Pedro didn’t have much to live up to this weekend in his HRT but he put in a strong qualifying performance to start 21st on the grid ahead of both of the faster Marussia F1 cars.

Paul Di Resta: It was a very assured performance by the young Scot to take his under-performing Force India to 8th on the grid, only his second Q3 qualification of the season.


Jenson Button: The excuse will be that he’s on a different strategy (which to be fair he is, JB will start on softs) but even so it’s a very poor qualification performance as he only just scraped through Q2 and isn’t a likely contender to get a podium tomorrow.

Nico Hulkenburg: I’s actually quite disappointed with Nico, he had pace in the practice sessions, finishing 6th, 8th and 10th but he failed to perform to his full potential in qualifying and will start from 13th tomorrow.

Kimi Raikkonen: whilst his inexperienced team mate qualified 7th the former world champion could only manage 12th, even if he was only 0.1 seconds slower. Kimi will have to perform better tomorrow if he wants a good result.