Lotus 2015 review

2015 was an up and down affair for Lotus but change is on the horizon.

Following an awful campaign in 2014, Lotus needed to pick themselves up.

By ericok – Flickr, CC BY 2.0, $3

They managed to score points on a fairly regular basis and finished comfortably ahead of their rivals Toro Rosso.

But as the season rumbled on it looked like they may struggled to even reach the remaining races.

Amid major financial troubles, the Belgian GP was a flashpoint with the team locked out from some of their equipment as the bailiffs knocked on the doors.

Teams from up and down the paddock and Bernie Ecclestone helped out by supplying them with tyre blankets and other tools as well as food and supplies for the personnel.

Ironically what was their worst build-up to a race weekend turned out to be their best of the season with a stunning podium finish from Romain Grosjean.

The teams future remained in the balance even as they headed into the season finale in Abu Dhabi but it was eventually confirmed that Renault would be making a full return to the sport and took a majority stake in the team.

The difficulties off the track hampered on track performance so it was down to the drivers to do the talking and once again Romain Grosjean was a solid driver, regularly scoring points and not getting involved in incidents.

The same unfortunately couldn’t be said for team mate Pastor Maldonado who admittedly was unfortunate with technical problems at various stages of the year, but too often when things were going well he messed up by resorting to his usual messy and crash prone ways.

The Venezuelan’s money is keeping him in his seat for now, but with a steady stream of cash from Renault now keeping the team afloat, his on track affairs will be scrutinised even more.

2016 will be a year of rebuilding, they should aim to score regular points and stay in the mix with the likes of Force India and Toro Rosso.

Grosjean handed gearbox penalty

Romain Grosjean will start from the back row of the grid for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after a gearbox change.

The Frenchman – who is taking part in his final race for Lotus before moving to the new Haas F1 Team next season – was hit with problems during qualifying and stopped on track towards the end of Q2, leaving him 15th on the grid originally.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Qualifying Day - Abu Dhabi, UAE

However, the problems which plagued Grosjean have led to a gearbox change which carries an automatic five-place grid penalty, demoting him to the back row of the grid.

Despite the penalty, Grosjean will not start last as Manor’s Will Stevens took a fifth control electronics ahead of final practice on Saturday which also gave him a grid penalty. As a result Stevens – who qualified 19th – will start from last with Grosjean one place ahead.

Drivers to profit from Grosjean’s penalty are Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Marcus Ericsson who all move up a place, while Roberto Merhi will start from the pit lane after making set-up changes since qualifying.

Palmer announced as 2016 Lotus driver

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Jolyon Palmer, Lotus, Silverstone, 2015
Palmer will replace Grosjean Source- F1Fanatic

Lotus have announced that Briton, Jolyon Palmer will make his F1 racing debut for the team in 2016.

Palmer who won the 2014 GP2 championship has taken part in numerous practice sessions for the team and will sit alongside current driver Pastor Maldonado.

The seat for Palmer became available after the loss of Romain Grosjean who surprised some with a move to the new Haas team.

Speculation over the future of the Lotus team remains high as Renault signed a letter of intent to buyout the financially struggling outfit.

However the talks which began in early summer have taken longer than expected and is yet to be confirmed if the takeover will even happen.

Palmer is the first GP2 champion to gain an F1 race seat since Grosjean won the junior series in 2011. His father Jonathan raced in Formula One between 1983 and 1989.

Grosjean joins Haas for 2016

The newly formed Haas F1 team have unveiled Romain Grosjean as lead driver for the 2016 season.

Smiles at Haas– (Source-Haas F1)
Grosjean will move to the American based team from lotus after spending the past six seasons at the Enstone team including when it was under its previous guise of Renault.
Team founder Gene Haas said that he was looking for an experienced driver to lead the rookie team into the sport. Grosjean has ten podiums to his name and has been team mates with Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Pastor Maldonado.
His most recent podium came after he finished third at this years Belgian Grand Prix after pushing Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel hard for the position.
Grosjean said that he hoped that points in the first few races would be a possibility.
The Frenchman has had a steep learning curve in the sport, he joined Renault as Nelson Piquet’s replacement halfway through the 2009 season but was subsequently dropped at the end of the year.
In 2011 he returned to Renault under their new guise of Lotus as a test driver and then was given a full race seat in 2012.
The year showed Grosjean to be quick, but numerous first lap incidents attracted heavy criticism.
He crashed with Maldonado on the opening lap of the Australian Grand Prix, he span Michael Schumacher on the first lap in Malaysia, he punctured Sergio Perez in the opening moments in Spain and he crashed out before the first corner in Monaco.
He also knocked Mark Webber out on the first lap of the Japanese Grand Prix, but his driving at the Belgian Grand Prix earned him a one race ban after crashing into the back of Lewis Hamilton and crashing over Fernando Alonso which was dangerously close to the Spaniard’s head.
Many were critical of Lotus for retaining him in 2013 despite three podiums in the previous year, but a much improved Grosjean was able to earn back the respect of the F1 paddock after some great driving all year and at times challenged Kimi Raikkonen as he took six podiums.
The Lotus in 2014 and 2015 has been wildly off the pace but Grosjean will be a safe and fast pair of hands to help steer Haas into Formula 1.

Lauda confirm Manor deal

Niki Lauda has confirmed that Mercedes are set to supply Manor with engines in 2016.

The non-executive chairman of the world champions said that a deal had been reached with the minnow team.

Manor are currently supplied by Ferrari, but only have the Italian’s 2014 engine which was significantly down on power compared to the 2015 iteration.

Lauda said that if the Renault takeover of Lotus is completed then the Manor agreement will go ahead, but Toto Wolff suggest that talks were still ongoing.

Lotus are awaiting confirmation that a takeover from Renault will go ahead which would mean that their current Mercedes engines would be free for another team, an announcement on the takeover is expected imminently with British court cases looming for Lotus.