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. Tuesday 30 September 2014

  2. Button says McLaren on 'upward curve' 10:03

    Button says McLaren on 'upward curve'

    Jenson Button believes that his McLaren team is on an "upward curve" with the development of the MP4-29 chassis, even though...

    F1
  3. Suzuka memories: Senna, Prost collide, 1990 05:07

    Suzuka memories: Senna, Prost collide, 1990

    A year after their infamous clash as McLaren team-mates, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost collide at the first corner of the...

    F1
  4. Monday 29 September 2014

  5. Video: Sainz Jr. inspects shopping mall 16:24

    Video: Sainz Jr. inspects shopping mall

    Carlos Sainz Jr. carries out a unique inspection of the Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi ahead of its opening in November.

    F1
  6. Penske adds Pagenaud as fourth driver 15:25

    Penske adds Pagenaud as fourth driver

    Simon Pagenaud will drive a fourth Penske car in 2015, the reigning champion team has announced. The 30-year-old...

    Indy
  7. Video: Rossi crashes out at Aragón 14:09

    Video: Rossi crashes out at Aragón

    Valentino Rossi avoided serious injury during this violent crash in Sunday's Aragón Grand Prix.

    MotoGP
  8. Rossi back to '100 per cent' after crash 13:55

    Rossi back to '100 per cent' after crash

    Valentino Rossi says he is already feeling "100 per cent" again after his Aragón Grand Prix crash. The works Yamaha rider...

    MotoGP
  9. Hamilton yearning for first Suzuka win 11:58

    Hamilton yearning for first Suzuka win

    Lewis Hamilton has his sights fixed on claiming his first ever victory at the Suzuka circuit this weekend. Although...

    F1
  10. Verstappen confirmed for Suzuka practice 11:19

    Verstappen confirmed for Suzuka practice

    Toro Rosso has confirmed that future racer Max Verstappen will drive at a Formula 1 event for the first time this weekend,...

    F1
  11. Single DRS zone retained at Suzuka 11:11

    Single DRS zone retained at Suzuka

    The FIA has retained a single DRS zone for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix. As in previous years at the Suzuka...

    F1
  12. Force India continuing to develop VJM07 10:49

    Force India continuing to develop VJM07

    Force India boss Vijay Mallya says the team will continue to develop the VJM07 chassis over the closing stages of the 2014...

    F1
  13. Verstappen passes extensive medical tests 09:41

    Verstappen passes extensive medical tests

    Max Verstappen has passed an extensive medical evaluation as preparations ramp up for his maiden Formula 1 campaign with...

    F1
  14. Suzuka memories: Räikkönen's last-lap pass 05:12

    Suzuka memories: Räikkönen's last-lap pass

    Kimi Räikkönen claimed victory at Suzuka in 2005 with this stunning last-lap move on Giancarlo Fisichella.

    F1
  15. Sunday 28 September 2014

  16. 17:05

    Latest MotoGP photos: Sunday at Aragón

    MotoGP
  17. Rossi suffers concussion in Aragón crash 16:22

    Rossi suffers concussion in Aragón crash

    Valentino Rossi suffered a concussion but escaped serious injury following his crash in the Aragón Grand Prix on...

    MotoGP
  18. Lorenzo wins epic dry-wet race at Aragón 13:53

    Lorenzo wins epic dry-wet race at Aragón

    Jorge Lorenzo claimed his first win of 2014 in an epic dry-wet race at MotorLand Aragón after Repsol Honda riders Marc...

    MotoGP
  19. 12:51

    Latest FR3.5 photos: Sunday at Paul Ricard

    FR 3.5
  20. Sainz Jr. inches towards title with seventh win 12:50

    Sainz Jr. inches towards title with seventh win

    Red Bull young driver Carlos Sainz Jr. controlled proceedings at Paul Ricard to claim his second win of the weekend and move...

    FR 3.5
  21. Caterham has performed a small miracle – Ravetto 10:24

    Caterham has performed a small miracle – Ravetto

    Caterham Team Principal Manfredi Ravetto believes that the squad has achieved a "small miracle" in 2014, following the...

    F1
  22. Lotus pair hopeful of more 2014 points 07:28

    Lotus pair hopeful of more 2014 points

    Lotus drivers Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado say that they have not ruled out adding to the squad's points tally...

    F1
  23. Video of the Day: F1 in every Renault – Umbrella 05:04

    Video of the Day: F1 in every Renault – Umbrella

    Unsuspecting Renault drivers experience the sensation of being on a Formula 1 starting grid.

    F1
  24. Saturday 27 September 2014

  25. Red Bull sure of closer Renault relationship 15:20

    Red Bull sure of closer Renault relationship

    Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko says that the current champions will have a closer relationship with engine supplier...

    F1
  26. 14:00

    Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Aragón

    MotoGP
  27. Márquez flies to pole at MotorLand Aragón 13:58

    Márquez flies to pole at MotorLand Aragón

    MotoGP championship leader Marc Márquez will start the Aragón Grand Prix from pole position after he set the quickest time d...

    MotoGP
  28. 13:00

    Latest FR3.5 photos: Saturday at Paul Ricard

    FR 3.5
  29. Sainz Jr. marches to victory at Paul Ricard 12:53

    Sainz Jr. marches to victory at Paul Ricard

    Carlos Sainz Jr. took a giant step towards this year's Formula Renault 3.5 title after easing to his sixth victory of the...

    FR 3.5
  30. Márquez on top in third Aragón session 09:46

    Márquez on top in third Aragón session

    Marc Márquez set the quickest time during third practice at MotorLand Aragón in Spain. Márquez spent much of the session f...

    MotoGP
  31. Chester doubts F1 will enforce telemetry ban 07:14

    Chester doubts F1 will enforce telemetry ban

    Lotus Technical Director Nick Chester says he doubts Formula 1 will add a telemetry ban to its radio clampdown as the sport...

    F1
  32. Video of the Day: Virtual lap of Sochi track 05:06

    Video of the Day: Virtual lap of Sochi track

    With a fortnight to go until the inaugural Russian Grand Prix at Sochi, enjoy a virtual lap in F1 2014.

    F1
  33. Friday 26 September 2014

  34. Substance contamination caused Rosberg failure 19:31

    Substance contamination caused Rosberg failure

    Mercedes has revealed that a freak substance contamination contributed to Nico Rosberg's retirement from last weekend's...

    F1
  35. 15:38

    Latest MotoGP photos: Friday at Aragón

    MotoGP
  36. Dovizioso keeps GP14.2 on top in FP2 14:02

    Dovizioso keeps GP14.2 on top in FP2

    Andrea Dovizioso made it a clean sweep for Ducati's GP14.2 by topping Friday's second practice session at MotorLand...

    MotoGP
  37. Radiator seal led to Magnussen issue 12:05

    Radiator seal led to Magnussen issue

    McLaren has confirmed that a broken radiator seal led to hot air being pumped into Kevin Magnussen's cockpit during the...

    F1
  38. MotoGP announces 2015 calendar 11:15

    MotoGP announces 2015 calendar

    MotoGP has announced its 2015 calendar, with 18 rounds and the current race order retained. Donington Park is the only...

    MotoGP
  39. Caterham eager to retain Ericsson 11:01

    Caterham eager to retain Ericsson

    Caterham's new team boss, Manfredi Ravetto, says he wants to hold on to Marcus Ericsson for 2015. Although the season has...

    F1
  40. McLaren: Too late for third cars in 2015 10:07

    McLaren: Too late for third cars in 2015

    McLaren's Eric Boullier says there is not enough time for F1 teams to add a third car for the 2015 campaign, claiming that...

    F1
  41. Iannone tops opening Aragón practice 10:03

    Iannone tops opening Aragón practice

    Andrea Iannone topped the timesheets during Friday morning's opening MotoGP practice session at MotorLand Aragón. The...

    MotoGP
  42. Miller warned to expect 'very big step' 09:23

    Miller warned to expect 'very big step'

    Jack Miller has been warned to expect a "very big step" when he jumps from Moto3 to MotoGP next year. Miller, who holds a...

    MotoGP
  43. Video of the Day: Hamilton on title race 05:07

    Video of the Day: Hamilton on title race

    Ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton sat down with Damon Hill to discuss the 2014 title race.

    F1
  44. Thursday 25 September 2014

  45. Hunter-Reay signs up for Race Of Champions 14:18

    Hunter-Reay signs up for Race Of Champions

    Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay will contest this year's Race Of Champions in Barbados. The American, who edged...

    Indy
  46. Force India wants third-car compensation 12:47

    Force India wants third-car compensation

    Force India's Vijay Mallya would expect compensation if his team is forced to run a third car in 2015. Should the grid...

    F1
more news