Formula 1 mid-season review: Lotus

Formula 1 mid-season review: Lotus

11 August 2014 – As the Formula 1 fraternity enjoys the summer break, GPUpdate.net takes the opportunity to analyse team and driver performances over the first 11 rounds of the 2014 season. In the latest instalment, we look at Lotus' so far challenging term plus the contrasting performances of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado.

Lotus: 4/10

Lotus' campaign took a turn for the worse before the pre-season had even started, with the team opting to skip the opening test at Jerez for alleged further car development. Under normal circumstances, this would not have been viewed as a disaster, but 2014's regulation overhaul meant that track time was absolutely vital. Whilst the other 10 teams, albeit some better than others, had shaken down their machines at the first four-day gathering, Lotus arrived in Bahrain having to cram all of its preparation into eight days. And once it left the pits, it soon became clear that the E22 was going to struggle, with Renault's troubled power unit a sizeable factor. It is hard not to think that the delay in hitting the circuit was brought on by a taxing 2013, which saw talented staff depart – including James Allison and Dirk de Beer to Ferrari – amid financial problems and on-off talks with mysterious investors. There were also key management changes, with team boss Eric Boullier – now of McLaren – getting replaced by Lotus co-Chairman Gerard López, who subsequently installed Federico Gastaldi as his deputy. It was somewhat of a relief for the team when it arrived at Melbourne in one piece, but its cars didn't leave that way. And since then it has been a brutal journey with little reward. Eight points, courtesy of Romain Grosjean in Spain and Monaco, is all Lotus has to show for its efforts, while Pastor Maldonado has sparked further criticism for the team and its partners.

Romain Grosjean: 7/10

Romain Grosjean has been the shining light at a flickering Enstone this season. Although highly critical of the team's car, which most talents attempting to prove their worth would be itching to do, he has taken 100 per cent of the points and on most occasions extracted the maximum available to him. The Frenchman's once erratic driving style, which was close to costing him his seat at the end of the 2012 season, has almost been honed, with his only self-inflicted retirement of 2014 coming in Hungary, when he spun off on cold tyres amid challenging conditions. Grosjean simply needs to keep doing what he has been doing; reaching his potential, outpacing his team-mate and collecting the odd point. A big team might come calling. Some say McLaren, given the arrival of Boullier – in charge of the management company looking after Grosjean. But with Mercedes power seemingly en route to the back of next year's Lotus machine, would he be wiser to stick around and potentially reap the rewards of a recovery?

Pastor Maldonado: 3/10

Maldonado has amassed a sizeable list of critics since joining Formula 1. Seen as a hot-headed, sometimes dangerous member of the grid, the Venezuelan has done himself no favours so far this year. He sent Esteban Gutiérrez's Sauber into a barrel roll at the Bahrain Grand Prix, before leaving mechanics with their heads in their hands after hitting the pit entry wall during practice at the following Chinese round. In Spain, he crashed out of qualifying and on race day was deemed to have caused a collision with Caterham's Marcus Ericsson. And most recently, he ploughed into Jules Bianchi's Marussia at the Hungaroring. When you add this to the fact that he is one of only six drivers, along with the Sauber duo, Caterham pair and Marussia's Max Chilton yet to score a point, it begs the question, is he talented enough to remain on the 2015 grid? But that he will. Lotus recently announced that both parties would be sticking together for at least another year. For Maldonado and the rest of the field's sake, let's hope his previous flashes of pace come to the fore and that he takes a leaf out of team-mate Grosjean's book.

Do you agree with GPUpdate.net's ratings? Join in the discussion via the Facebook panel below

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Saturday 2 July 2016

  2. Honda close to next engine upgrades 07:22

    Honda close to next engine upgrades

    McLaren engine partner Honda is set to introduce its latest batch of upgrades in the next "couple of races", according to the…

    F1
  3. Video of the Day: Austrian GP challenges 05:26

    Video of the Day: Austrian GP challenges

    Mercedes' Nico Rosberg and Andrew Shovlin discuss the challenges of the Austrian Grand Prix.

    F1
  4. Friday 1 July 2016

  5. 19:36

    Latest GP2 photos: Friday at Spielberg

    GP2
  6. Three drivers handed GP2 grid penalties 19:34

    Three drivers handed GP2 grid penalties

    Three GP2 drivers have been handed three-place grid penalties after a series of incidents during qualifying for the Feature Race…

    GP2
  7. 18:18

    Latest F1 photos: Friday at Spielberg

    F1
  8. Vettel gets grid penalty for new gearbox 18:16

    Vettel gets grid penalty for new gearbox

    Sebastian Vettel will receive a five-place grid penalty at this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix after Ferrari was forced to fit a…

    F1
  9. McLaren duo look to exploit possible rain 17:17

    McLaren duo look to exploit possible rain

    Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso both feel that rain will provide McLaren with its best chance of a strong result at the…

    F1
  10. Hembery: Sub-1m06s possible in qualifying 16:58

    Hembery: Sub-1m06s possible in qualifying

    Pirelli's Paul Hembery reckons a sub-1m06s lap could be possible in Austrian Grand Prix qualifying, providing the weather stays…

    F1
  11. Rosberg backs Red Bull Ring changes 16:33

    Rosberg backs Red Bull Ring changes

    Nico Rosberg has backed the resurfacing and kerb additions at the Red Bull Ring after the first day of practice for the Austrian…

    F1
  12. Verstappen: Walls better than new kerbs 15:50

    Verstappen: Walls better than new kerbs

    Max Verstappen feels that walls would be a more effective anti-cutting measure than the new exit kerbs at the Red Bull…

    F1
  13. Sirotkin edges Giovinazzi for Austria pole 15:30

    Sirotkin edges Giovinazzi for Austria pole

    ART Grand Prix Sergey Sirotkin claimed his second GP2 Series pole position of the season as he edged out Antonio Giovinazzi…

    GP2
  14. Vettel: Brake issue caused late FP2 spin 15:25

    Vettel: Brake issue caused late FP2 spin

    Sebastian Vettel says a brake distribution issue caused his spin during the closing stages of Friday's second practice session…

    F1
  15. Dragon Racing retains Duval, d'Ambrosio 14:57

    Dragon Racing retains Duval, d'Ambrosio

    Dragon Racing has confirmed that Loïc Duval and Jérôme d'Ambrosio will stay at the team for the 2016/17 Formula E…

    FE
  16. 14:39

    Austrian Grand Prix: Full Practice 2 results

    F1
  17. Rosberg fastest in rain-interrupted FP2 14:37

    Rosberg fastest in rain-interrupted FP2

    Mercedes driver and championship leader Nico Rosberg again topped the timesheets during Friday afternoon's second practice…

    F1
  18. Pirelli announces Monza tyre compounds 14:04

    Pirelli announces Monza tyre compounds

    Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli has announced its compound choices for the Italian Grand Prix, with the red-marked Super Soft…

    F1
  19. Drivers reprimanded for FP1 incidents 13:46

    Drivers reprimanded for FP1 incidents

    Manor drivers Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto and Sauber's Marcus Ericsson have been given reprimands following separate…

    F1
  20. Sirotkin to test for Renault at Silverstone 13:13

    Sirotkin to test for Renault at Silverstone

    GP2 frontrunner Sergey Sirotkin will receive a day's worth of running with Renault during the post-British Grand Prix test, the…

    F1
  21. FIA releases 2016/17 Formula E entry list 12:46

    FIA releases 2016/17 Formula E entry list

    Formula E's entry list for the 2016/17 season, featuring 10 teams, has been released by the FIA. Eight of the 10 outfits on…

    FE
  22. Ricciardo honoured with home grandstand 11:41

    Ricciardo honoured with home grandstand

    Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo has had a grandstand named after him at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne as a gift from…

    F1
  23. Ferrari spends another engine token 11:20

    Ferrari spends another engine token

    Ferrari used up another of its engine development tokens ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix. Although the focus of Ferrari's…

    F1
  24. 10:37

    Austrian Grand Prix: Full Practice 1 results

    F1
  25. Rosberg sets record pace in first practice 10:35

    Rosberg sets record pace in first practice

    Nico Rosberg posted the fastest ever lap of the Red Bull Ring during Friday morning's first free practice session for the…

    F1
  26. Frijns stays with Andretti in Formula E 09:36

    Frijns stays with Andretti in Formula E

    Amlin Andretti has confirmed that Robin Frijns will remain with the team in Formula E next season. Frijns, 24, made his…

    FE
  27. 08:52

    Follow first practice for the Austrian GP!

    F1
  28. Button: Tyre pressures 'unbelievably high' 08:12

    Button: Tyre pressures 'unbelievably high'

    Jenson Button has described Pirelli's mandatory minimum tyre pressures for the Austrian Grand Prix as "unbelievably high", and…

    F1
  29. Bottas plans to be 'more involved' in future 07:32

    Bottas plans to be 'more involved' in future

    Valtteri Bottas says he plans to be more involved in discussions regarding his Formula 1 future moving forward, but has made…

    F1
  30. Hamilton braced for engine grid penalties 06:12

    Hamilton braced for engine grid penalties

    Lewis Hamilton says that he is bracing himself for engine-related grid penalties over the remainder of the season after taking…

    F1
  31. Video of the Day: Red Bull Ring hot lap 05:22

    Video of the Day: Red Bull Ring hot lap

    Join Daniel Ricciardo for a hot lap of the Red Bull Ring ahead of this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix.

    F1
  32. Thursday 30 June 2016

  33. 19:03

    Latest F1 photos: Thursday at Spielberg

    F1
  34. Ferrari presents updated halo device 19:01

    Ferrari presents updated halo device

    Ferrari has publicly debuted an updated version of its 'halo' device, as Formula 1 inches closer to introducing increased…

    F1
  35. Sainz Jr. sure top team chance will come 17:08

    Sainz Jr. sure top team chance will come

    Carlos Sainz Jr. is adamant that an opportunity with a leading Formula 1 team will come, following confirmation that he will…

    F1
  36. Alonso: Busy period will test McLaren 16:50

    Alonso: Busy period will test McLaren

    Fernando Alonso says the upcoming busy period in the Formula 1 calendar will provide an all-round test of the competitiveness of…

    F1
  37. Lowes 'astonished' by Aprilia test debut 16:37

    Lowes 'astonished' by Aprilia test debut

    Sam Lowes says he was left "astonished" by his first experience of MotoGP machinery as he tested Aprilia's RS-GP during a…

    MotoGP
  38. Ricciardo confirms Red Bull 2018 deal 14:29

    Ricciardo confirms Red Bull 2018 deal

    Daniel Ricciardo has formally confirmed that he will remain with Red Bull until at least the end of 2018, after Team Principal…

    F1
  39. Bottas eyes Williams podium challenge 14:05

    Bottas eyes Williams podium challenge

    Valtteri Bottas is confident that Williams can challenge for the podium positions at the Austrian Grand Prix as it bids to…

    F1
  40. Ericsson: Sauber outlook more positive 13:59

    Ericsson: Sauber outlook more positive

    Marcus Ericsson believes the outlook for Sauber is more positive, having negotiated "the most difficult part" of a troublesome…

    F1
  41. Haryanto still unclear over F1 future 13:50

    Haryanto still unclear over F1 future

    Rio Haryanto says he is still uncertain whether he will finish the current Formula 1 campaign with Manor but understands that…

    F1
  42. Haas opts to switch focus to 2017 car 12:24

    Haas opts to switch focus to 2017 car

    Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner says that the rookie outfit has now switched the majority of its focus to developing its…

    F1
  43. Video: Formula 1 driver eye-tracking 12:08

    Video: Formula 1 driver eye-tracking

    Explore the skills and reaction times of Nico Hülkenberg as he wears special eye-tracking glasses.

    F1
more news