Mortara, Valsecchi and Prost to test for Lotus

2012 F1 season

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Lotus will run three different drivers during the forthcoming Young Drivers’ Test in Abu Dhabi.

GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi will drive the E20 on the final day of the test. “For me this is a great honour,” he said. “I am eager to showcase my talents and demonstrate that I am ready to take the next step in my career after winning the GP2 Series”.

Valsecchi drove for the former Lotus team, which is now Caterham, in first practice for last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

Edoardo Mortara, who won the F3 Euroseries in 2010, will drive for Lotus on the second day of the test. Mortara, a two-time winner of the Macau Grand Prix, has been racing for Audi in the DTM for the last two years.

Nicolas Prost will begin the three-day test for Lotus. The son of four-times world champion Alain Prost last raced single-seaters in A1 Grand Prix four years ago. Since then he has competed in endurance and GT racing.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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25 comments on “Mortara, Valsecchi and Prost to test for Lotus”

  1. Mortara looks to me like a wasted talent, I hope it isn’t too late for him to get a chance in F1.
    Valsecchi may have taken five attempts to win in GP2 but this test is deserved and hopefully he will show his speed and secure a seat at a small team for 2013.
    Regarding Prost, I’ve not heard any news on him, although I don’t follow endurance racing. I think he might be the “worse” of the three, but probably Lotus have made their own considerations.

    1. Agree on Mortara.. Winning that Macau race should be more of a guarantee. that track is veery challenging on simulators.

    2. Prost is driving in endurance racing for a team (Rebellion Racing) which has some “connections” with Lotus (as in… sponsorship stickers, the team is actually running LMP1 Lolas with Toyota engines), but he’s pretty handy at it, he was part of the Petit Le Mans-winning crew and he’s been racing with the team for about 4 years now.

    3. I think he might be the “worse” of the three, but probably Lotus have made their own considerations.

      @fixy – The man snatched 4th place in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans for Rebellion Racing as part of the single crew that managed to classify in front of at least one Audi. He drove alongside Nick Heidfeld and Neel Jani and he did it in a brilliant fashion, I would think. And he’s been “the best of the rest” in 2011 as well, finishing right after Audi and Peugeot. And he’s currently 3rd in the WEC drivers standings with the same Rebellion. And he’s been quite crafty in the Andros Trophy as well.

      If anything I would say he’s the best of the three and without doubt the most experienced.

      Unfortunately, at 31 years old, I’m afraid he’s there just for the fun of it / so that Lotus can snatch some performance input from him. The F1 train is long departed for him and I for one would be VERY surprised if he’ll ever make it past a potential “test/reserve driver” role. Even that looks like a long shot…

      1. @tony031r I didn’t know that. I never thought he was a bad driver though, only said I think the other two are better.
        Endurance racing is quite different from F1 and there are several examples of failed F1 drivers who have had a great career in sportscar racing. I would have said the same of DTM but perhaps the gap is not so big as di Resta proved he was fast in both, and other ex-F1 drivers in DTM haven’t had the same success.
        GP2 is the better way to prepare for F1, and Valsecchi by winning it has hopefully taken a step towards the category. I’m not saying Mortara or Prost in equal machinery couldn’t beat him, but I predict them to be slower than him if speed is what they’ll be looking for during the tests.

    4. @Fixy Mortara has been strong in DTM as well. He was the only Audi driver, who managed to win races this year, leaving his much more experienced team mates Mattias Ekstrom and Timo Scheider, both double DTM champions, behind in the standings. As far as I know, he’s very good, aggressive and ambitious. I think Mortara could become the next Paul di Resta.

  2. Looks like the wrong Lotus in that picture.

    1. @alfie As it says in the article, Valsecchi previously drove for the other Lotus.

  3. Mortara finally gets the chance he deserves. I’ve hardly been as impressed by the speed of a driver here (Macau) as I was with Mortara. Looking forward to see the Abu Dhabi test results. I wouldn’t be surprised (provided they all do similar programmes, of course) that he go faster than the other 2 drivers. Would love to see him in Formula 1. If Lotus hire him for 2014, they have a potential race winner in hands. Lets not forget who he beat when he was Formula 3 champion… And I’m sure someone is going to dig his GP2 lacklustre performance. To those I say look at Kobayashi. The fact is GP2 in their times was not as balanced as f3. There were clearly performance differences between teams, much like F1, and that influenced driver’s performances. Truly excited and happy to see Mortara get the recognition he deserves!

  4. I’ve never heard of Mortara so I won’t say anything on him other than the Macau GP is quite a big feat, let alone twice! Prost I’ve not seen much of either but I always like seeing those names back in F1 cars, and Valsecchi deserves a chance, GP2 is getting harder and harder to win by the season!

    1. @craig-o

      Prost I’ve not seen much of either but I always like seeing those names back in F1 cars

      I’m the other way round, I don’t like seeing famous names back in F1 unless they are able to live up to the hype.
      Bruno Senna for example has somewhat tarnished the name. If you mentioned the name Senna to some people they would think of Bruno’s mediocre F1 career instead of Ayrton’s talent unfortunately.

      1. What about Hill, Rosberg, Villeneuve etc?

      2. “If you mentioned the name Senna to some people they would think of Bruno’s mediocre F1 career instead of Ayrton’s talent unfortunately.”

        The real shame of that is that Bruno Senna had better results in junior categories than some people who later became World Champion. Had he got the Brawn drive in 2009 he could have won races in his rookie year and maybe even fight for the title. His confidence was at his best at the time, as he had almost won GP2 title. He deserved more to be in Brawn in 2009 than Damon Hill deserved to race in Williams in 1993 as he had better results in junior categories. The problem for him was Honda’s withdrawal due to the financial crisis. That led to him having 3 years without a proper development and that is the real cause for his problems as he also could have entered in 2010 with an established team but had no sponsors for that at the time.

        I hope he stays for next year as I think he still can recover the ground he lost in these last few years. In races he is already as good and quick as most of the grid and he just needs to improve in qualifying to become a very good driver. He’s still 29, so he’s 3 years younger than Damon Hill was in his first full season in F1.

  5. Prost is a very strong choice for the F1 team formerly known as Renault – in terms of name recognition and brand power. Does he have the talent necessary to make it to the top ranks of single seaters? I am not sure. Was Di Resta as long out of single seaters before his DTM successes and friday practices secure him a full time F1 drive? I would love to see the name Prost in the Renault :) even if its not yellow haha. But its good for all the wrong reasons, if the speed isnt there. I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  6. I would love to see the name Prost in the Renault.

    I share your enthusiasm but Prost’s age, racing background and the mere fact that he started competing very late, at 22 years old are really not to his advantage.

    Now, I wonder, when was the last time a driver made his debut in F1 at 30, 30-some years old?

    1. Allan McNish and Damon Hill come to mind.

      1. So, that’s about 10 respectively 20 years back. And with cars infinitely much simpler than what modern drivers have on their hands.

        I don’t think we’ll ever see anyone making his debut for a full season in F1 at 30+ years old ever again, unless he/she is an absolute, inconstestable, natural born talent. Or a millionaire with a passion for motor-racing.

  7. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
    25th October 2012, 3:46

    So many deserving, promising young talents vying for a chance to get into Formula One, yet so little vacancies available.

    We have a glut of drivers (Maldonado, di Resta, Hulkenberg) already with the midfield teams, struggling to get their big break. Combine this with emerging talents (Valsecchi, da Costa, Frijns, Razia) waiting in the wings. Some will get a shot at a drive, and some will lose out. Others will languish in a backmarker team, never to fulfill his potential.

    And what of the future? At the moment, I can think of only two drivers who will be retiring in the near future – Webber, probably after 2013, and Button sometime further down the road, maybe 2015. The rest – Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Rosberg, Perez – are, or will be, contracted to the top teams for years to come.

    So even if these young drivers break through into F1, the odds are slim that there will even be available seats for them to progress toward, at least before a new generation of young talents arrives to up the already intense competition for a seat.

  8. Oh good, I was getting worried about Valsecchi. Sadly though, I don’t see much coming of it for him…unless Grosjean has a disaster at the end of this season!

    1. He COULD replace D’Ambrosio or team up with him as an official test/reserve driver for Lotus next year and double the job up with a new season in GP2. In fact, that’s the most probable scenario for him, in my opinion. But it’s good as it is. Who knows, if Grosjean keeps using his car as a batter ram and Lotus decide they need even fresher blood in 2014, Valsecchi could just be the man for the job.

      1. As GP2 Champion he is barred from participating from the series.

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