Grosjean “disadvantaged” by lack of upgrades

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Romain Grosjean is heading into his second weekend in a row without the benefit of the latest upgrades which Kimi Raikkonen has on his car.

Lotus technical director James Allison said only Kimi Raikkonen had the newest parts for the E21, as was also the case in Melbourne.

Asked about Grosjean’s performance in the opening race Allison said: “He’s not had an easy weekend either here or there because we haven’t got, we haven’t been able to provide, two cars of exactly the same configuration on either occasions.”

“So in Melbourne on Friday he was running a step behind Kimi in terms of his aero package and then he had the upgrade for Saturday morning but Saturday was disturbed by the weather as we all know.

“And here once again we only have one set of kit and we’ve chosen to run that with Kimi and Romain is disadvantaged for that.”

Raikkonen ran a new exhaust and outlet package on his car in practice today. Allison added they preferred to bring updates for both cars simultaneously: “It’s a feature of not having in-season testing that you try to upgrade the cars as fast as you can.”

“Generally speaking that means you’re always going to have one set of kit ahead of the second set and that almost inevitably means that one drivers gets to try it before there is a second one available. We’ll always try to get two sets available, but not always possible.

“So he’s had a difficult set of circumstances and he’s also up against a team mate who’s really firing on all cylinders.”

Allison praised Raikkonen’s “incredibly patient” performance in Australia: “I think he knew he had a good car under him.”

“He knew he didn’t have to scamper up behind the group in front. He looked after the tyres, only going quickly when he needed to. Just a very mature and smooth and fast race.”

Grosjean finished in tenth place, over 80 seconds behind Raikkonen, but Allison has no doubts about his potential:

“Romain showed us over and over last year that he is a driver with a lot of pace,” he said. “It’s the one really valuable community a race driver has and he’s got that.”

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

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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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112 comments on “Grosjean “disadvantaged” by lack of upgrades”

  1. So all the teams have this problem? Because is the first time I read about it. Poor Grosjean it seem that Lotus has chosen his number one.

    If this were happening in RBR or Ferrari, fans will be asking for the driver’s head

    1. i dont know what’s the issues really. Team always run cars with different parts to compare them.

      Last year Romain receive new upgrade package from valencia to hockenheim period, kimi never whines and stick to it by scoring more podiums and points than him.

      He got the same car as Kimi at least in weekend without waiting for several gps after.

      His issues seems to be understanding the car rather than lacking upgrades.

      1. +1
        These are but lame excuses…how about Kimi being disadvantaged by the near-total lack of winter testing due to unreliability??? If GRO wanted to be the team’s no.1,then he shouldnt have crashed so often last year. Also,he’s pretty ridiculous at setups….

        1. he been facing setup issues since hockenheim last year i remember.

          He also claimed he had hard time adapting to the coanda Lotus as claim that the E21 is better than the predecessor.

          Remember Abu Dhabi?? he pitted earlier for new set of option, and yet despite running in clean air, he couldn’t match the pace of Kimi that running on older set of option and stuck behind Hamilton.

      2. +1.

        Only thing I would say though is that Lotus have stated that this year’s car is designed around Raikkonen and his driving style so it naturally will probably be more to Kimi’s liking than Grosjean’s. Still, a weak excuse though.

        1. not really. James Allison mentioned last year that it would be foolish to design the car around driver as you wont find performance from there. Performance was found from aerodynamics.

          Where did you hear that?? LOL

          1. I think the whole “car favouring one driver” thing to be an overused excuse for drivers not as fast as their teammates as well.

      3. Since this is kimi,people seem to be fine with it.I guarantee you if this was alonso or vettel getting upgrades instead of their team-mates,people will be calling for blood.Journalists and some fans alike were all up in arms last week when alonso came in for his 2nd pit-stop before massa,calling it unfair and conspiracy.I bet you these sames journalists and fans will turn a blind eye when in fact it is much worse in terms of preferential treatment than what ferrari did last week.

        1. MB (@muralibhats)
          22nd March 2013, 13:09

          There have been occasions when Vettel and Alonso alone have got updates.

          1. Remember Abu Dhabi?? he pitted earlier for new set of option, and yet despite running in clean air, he couldn’t match the pace of Kimi that running on older set of option and stuck behind Hamilton.

            Er, no mate. Raikkonen wasn’t stuck behind Hamilton, Lewis was pulling away at 1 second/lap.

        2. @tasvat001

          If the team only has one set of upgrades, do they go without it for both drivers to be fair to the other? No, of course not, this is a competition where performance counts. So Now you have to pick which driver to give them to. As Kimi was significantly better in the last season, it makes sense to give it to him.

          The team have publicly acknowledged that Kimi has the advantage due to getting the upgrades first. They have done the right thing.

      4. Kimi whines “every 5 seconds” because Lotus lacks the funds Ferrari and Red Bull have…

        1. @jcost
          If a journalist asked you whether Lotus will be able to keep up in development no doubt you’d mention that they have a smaller budget.

          1. @mike sure I would. I’m not saying they’re wrong, Kimi is their “number 1 driver” on merit and having limited cash, they cannot afford making two new experimental pieces when they don’t know how it will affect performance.

            Someone up there said Kimi “never whines” and I made fun of his constant remarks about how poor Lotus is comparing to Ferrari and Red Bull.

    2. @celeste You are right.
      Every team has a number one driver, some teams bother to make it look like it isn’t one and other teams actually don’t know who’s number one.
      Grosjean is getting the updates late but in the other hand, he doesn’t have to try out all the new parts first as he did last year, which got some people thinking he was the donkey in Lotus.
      Unfortunately for Lotus they don’t have both drivers feedback, and that is Lotus main issue. I say this because the theory is that Grosjean’s early struggles are down to this years front tyre characteristics and the E21 tendencies, that all together go against his driving style, honestly there is no way that for instances the new exhaust update explains solely their gap in FP.
      Romain was very fast last season but he must adapt asap for this new season, in order of taking advantage from a great start by his team.

    3. This has happened to Ferrari and Red Bull before, not to this extend I believe, but it has already happened to them. I guess it was 2010 that Vettel got a new front wing on a crucial race, there was some heat there. Last year Alonso had some new aero two or three races before Massa. It happens.

  2. well….he had the whole FP1 and FP2 for him to sort out his issues. Still, he struggle.

    Just show that he doesnt gel with the car nature. The E21 has a very pointy front end , suit a delicate and precise driver rather than one that agressive with his wheel.

    It would be foolish to hand him the newest update given how much he struggle while his teammate leading wdc table.

  3. It’s sad and very unfair but we should remember that Lotus have less money than Red Bull and Ferrari so having a clear number one might be the only way they can win the drivers’ championship.

    1. Thats a double standard. If we are making excuse for Lotus. Not having money is not a green car to do things different, or will a new set of rules aply to teams that don’t have money. Beside Lotus is gettings lots of new sponsor so I’m not buying the “poor guys they don’t have money” excuse. We should not complain about Ferrari giving team orders to Massa, of in the future Button gets new package before Checo.

      Is only the 2nd race of the season and Lotus already pick up their driver for the championship. Is unfair to Grosjean.

      1. I dont see you around yelling the same stuff when Kimi did not get a new upgrades package in Valencia last year. Or kimi wasted his Fp1 and Fp2 to test the DRD leaving with FP3 to setup his cars.

        Still scoring more points and more podiums than Romain.

        You’re right, its all excuses.

        1. Frankly? I didn’t even knew that happened in Valencia and is unfair no matter who the driver is.

          My point is, so early in the season how can you pick up a driver over the other? If with the new parts Lotus car is a championship winning car Grosjean has the right to get the equipment to compite. Same with Webber, same with Massa, same with Checo, Rosberg, etc. Or just because you are the world champion in the team you get first right for everything.

          Remember what you all guys are saying next time you complain about team orders in Red Bull/ Ferrari/ McClarean

          1. he got the car in melbourne and he didnt do justice with it.

            So with only 1 exhaust package in Malaysia, who would you handed it to?? Kimi that leading the front or Romain that struggle with the car??

          2. people complaining clearly have no concept of manufacturing engineering. Also this is the same thing macca used to do when Lewis and Kovalinen were there, Lewis always fot upgrades first.

          3. Againt my point is not what are they doing to Grosjean. They shouldn´t doing period. Unless is very ahead in to the season and is clear that one driver has more chance than the other.

            And is not only Lotus, I don´t any of the teams should be doing it.

          4. @celeste – So when they have one set of parts that they think will be good for the car they should sit on it until they have two? That doesn’t make sense. So they send it. The team has one set of what they think will be upgraded parts, and they can only put those on one car. Do they give the upgrades to the driver who won last week or the one who couldn’t make the points on his own?

            I honestly like Romain and I’m glad he kept his seat. I think he is a solid driver and showed last year that he is fast. But, if upgrades are only going to provide so much benefit (and that is how all upgrades work, no upgrade gives a 3sec advantage), I would want to give it to the driver who is performing better at that point in the season. It doesn’t mean that they have chosen Kimi—though, based on experience, that is a reasonable solution—it means they have made what they think is the best decision for the team at this point.

          5. @hobo I´m not saying that. I´m saying that Lotus should word harder to have the same equipment for both driver, if since the begining of the season they dont have enough money to provide the same car, I don´t want to think how they will survive all year. If they can do this how they spect to compete, and what do this mean for the second driver, that he will always will be behind in car development.

            How can you messure who is flying since before the first rance? Is not a question of weather if Grosjean, I will be botter if this were any other driver on the grip.

          6. @celeste – You can’t have it both ways. You say, “so early in the season how can you pick up a driver over the other?” and “if since the begining [sic] of the season they dont [sic] have enough money to provide the same car…” Is it early or is it so late that “since the beginning” has force?

            I’ve only been watching F1 in earnest for the past 12, maybe 15 years, so I can’t speak from the experience that some of the older fans can. However, one thing I have noticed as a potential, but regular, theme in that time is that in the early part of the season, namely the pre-Europe fly-away races, is that parts aren’t always available. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard about special wings or bargeboards being flown in over the years. It happens. Is it super awesome for the team or for the driver who gets left out when there aren’t enough parts? No. But it happens.

            As for how they expect to compete if they “don’t have enough money to provide the same car…”? They seem to be able to compete pretty well so far. One for one in races, and leading practices for race two. Not shabby. I would say wait to get your knickers bunched until the European part of the season. Because if they are favoring one car then, you’ll know the team has decided internally. Until then, it’s unnecessary hand-wringing, IMO.

            Your last point is a fair one, namely, how can the team decide which car gets scarce parts at the very first race. Given the circumstances, Kimi is a WDC, finished well ahead of Romain last year, is far more experienced, and has proven less likely to crash and therefore ruin said scarce parts, I would say that it isn’t a difficult choice. But again, that may just be me.

      2. If I were the CEO at Lotus, considering Grosjean last year performance, I would have picked Kimi as my no.1 driver as well.

        Let’s face it, Gorsjean is less reliable, riskier driver than Kimi, as well as less efficient at seting the car. There’s no way I’d give the french the new updates.

        So, I don’t see any disadvantages at all here i.e. each to his own. ;)

        1. Yeah, I think it’s important people remember that they arn’t doing this to spite Grosjean.

          Simply put, they have one set of upgrades, and it makes sense to give them to Kimi.

        2. And for a team with not so deep pockects making two pieces of an “experiment” would be foolish. They must try first and once there’s no in-season testing before regulated dates FP is their only shot and for that they must pick a driver.

      3. I think I’m not looking for excuses, just trying to explain the situation. I’ve also never been among the fiercest critics of Red Bull & Ferrari (except after Hockehneim 2010 that was simply too outrageous) when they’ve favourited one driver over another. I’ve rather always tried to understand the reasons for every case. And we are not talking about the rules here. What Lotus are doing is perfectly legal. We can talk only about ethics and, of course, circumstances always must be taken into account when judging someone’s behaviour from an ethical point of view.

        I believe that the small(er) teams have always been using team orders and favouriting one of their drivers more often and more blatantly than the big teams. For instance, they often ‘cover’ their strategies, thus clearly putting one of their drivers at a disadvantage. Caterham did that last year in Brazil, thus decreasing Kovalainen’s chances to finish in a higher position because they desperately needed to get the 10th place in the championship. Did fans blame the team for doing that? Of course, not. In 2001 and 2002, Minardi blatantly favoured Webber and Alonso over Yoong. Of course, no one cared about that and focused on Ferrari’s infamous ‘let Michael pass for the championship’ instead. And it is fully understandable because Caterham and Minardi were fighting for their survival.

        The business model of F1 means that Lotus are at a disadvantage in the fight for the DWC and now they are probably trying to compensate that. It’s unfair, Grosjean is one of my favourite drivers and I feel truly sorry for him. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to pretend not to see the other side of the story.

        1. so Lotus should hand in that only upgrades to Romain in this gp then??

          Despite his inability to score more than 1 points with the identical car spec as Kimi in melbourne. And finished somewhat 80sec behind.

          1. He didn’t have the same car in Melbourne, that’s the problem. If from the start Lotus didn’t botter to give him the same equipment, how do we know they are gonna try him fairly in the future.

          2. err, he had the same package……..

            new exhaust only arrive in Sepang mate. Wake up LOL

          3. He did have the same package in Australia, he just got it a bit later. It is not like “we only have one package available and we give it to kimi’. It is “we have a package that might be effective. We need to test it in one car before adopting it”, at least in Aus. Here, well tough luck. If you score one point and your team mate wins then this is what is expected to happen. Besides, i wouldn’t even think of updating Grosjean first, unless i wanted the updates to wind up in the junk yard.

          4. @candice: Whatever you say a Finnish guy’s package is always better than a Frenchman’s.


          5. @celeste

            I think it’s important to remember that this is Allison telling us this. The team are acknowledging that they are giving Kimi an advantage.

            You can’t ask them to keep new parts on the sidelines, what we should expect though is that they are open about it, and they are being open.

      4. petebaldwin (@)
        22nd March 2013, 14:20

        @celeste – it’s simple for me, Raikkonen has been flying whereas Grosjean has been poor. On that basis, if you only have one part instead of two, you give it to the driver who will return the best feedback and data.

        It’s not right to compare Ferrari’s team orders to what Lotus are doing – Lotus haven’t asked Grosjean to pull over and let Raikkonen past yet or to tamper with his engine moving him back 5 places on the grid but ensuring that Raikkonen starts in a better position.

        The Red Bull thing is irrelevant because that was just people kicking off because they don’t like Vettel – I didn’t see much wrong with what they did there. They had one part and gave it to the faster driver.

      5. I think your read too much in it now @celeste, its just that its the start of the season but they are pushing to get new, and better, parts flown out to the other side of the world.

        In Australia Kimi got the new bits for the Friday running, for Grosjean they did not get them before friday evening. Not good, but it does show they do their best to provide both drivers with the best parts ASAP. I think its reasonable that with Kimi on form as he is now, to give them first to him in case they cannot have them available for both cars in time.

    2. beside of all that arguments, let’s remember when:
      2009: Lewis got upgrade first than Kovalainen (CMIIW
      2011: Alonso got upgrade first than Massa (CMIIW too)
      both of them are the year when the related teams struggled in the terms of pace and tried to catch-up with their developments. they got a car upgraded to compare it with initial reference.

      While now Lotus have chance to lead the championship, they are more conservative with their developments. They don’t want the case like 2011 (radical things screwed up). With only upgraded car, they can compare the significance of the new package with the one which isn’t. And it’s more important since the excuse of their budget and limited testing. It does sacrificed Romain’s chance but they need to evaluate his records first for next few races. Like I said, I predicted it will be similar cars once we reach European races.

  4. Romain has to prove how reliable he is in next few races. There’s no point to give him latest update if he got trouble (crash) again. Moreover, Lotus have the lowest budget compared to another top teams. So it’s more logical as Lotus wants to get points as much as they can with better car in the hand of Kimi. Once we reach European races, I think Romain’s and Kimi’s car are likely similar upgraded.

    1. this article is rubbish. Romain said the car is the same except the new exhaust.

      “Grosjean confirmed that, aside from the modified exhaust package run by Raikkonen, the specification of his Lotus E21 is identical.”

      1. @genevene What you’ve cited agrees entirely with the article. As most of the article is quotes straight from the technical director I don’t see what you’re objecting to.

        1. you never quote what Romain said about the issues he had. He never said he was struggle with the upgrades, rather he was struggling to get the car work for him. Even after two FPs sessions, he still struggle.

          Your article headline is so misleading.

          1. @genevene

            you never quote what Romain said about the issues he had

            Yes I did

            Your article headline is so misleading.

            No it isn’t. James Allison specifically said Grosjean had been “disadvantaged” by the situation with his upgrades – the quote is right there in the article.

          2. @keithcollantine Your article is misleading because it doesn’t comply with the desperately tenuous interpretation required to support my own biased and misguided preconceptions about my favourite teams and drivers.


          3. @mazdachris That sounds about right :-)

        2. @keithcollantine: So when will both the cars get the same package and there will be no difference? Or are they going to do this the entire season?

          1. I guess it will get better when they come to Europe, as it takes away at least part of the logistics – i.e. team members taking VERY big bags in their luggage.

  5. How expensive can it be really to bring two sets of kit?….

    1. Depending on the kit, it can be very expensive. This might not be an issue for a new front wing but for something like a new exhaust layout, the cost is very high.

    2. the cost lies with infrastructure…..

      Mclaren can produce new parts in a matter of few days……..while Lotus…you can imagine…

      1. Yeah well, that’s a McLaren, even Williams have less lead time, but Lotus runs a tight ship. Lets not compare Lotus to McLaren, Ferrari. I think it’s commendable where they are now.

    3. I guess it all comes down to how many parts can you manufacture before you need to ship them over to the next GP. Larger teams would have bigger facilities to manufacture more parts at a time and might be able to make enough parts for two cars. I guess two sets is not enough for two cars if you need to have spare parts in case of a collision etc. Otherwise you might end up having to go back to the previous package. I guess the part cost is not the crucial but having the machines to manufacture several parts at one time, the machines and staff cost money to operate.

    4. Why make two when it might not work??

      1. MB (@muralibhats)
        22nd March 2013, 11:48

        If it doesn’t work, its unnecessary wastage of cost! Manufacture it only one its tested OK.

    5. Maybe the problem is not with the cost for making two of them @jason12, but the fact that when it takes for example a day to make it, they can have the first set ready say on Wednesday night (remember only a week between these races) so a mechanic or other team member then takes it to Malaysia in their luggage during the Thursday so it can be on the car for Friday sessions. The second set might be ready only on Thursday evening (in the UK, i.e. even flying it directly means it arrives during FP2 or so.)

  6. Why keith never wrote an article about Kimi wasted most of his FPs time last year testing the failure passive DRS??

    Ohh…because he was not affected badly despite having only Q3 to setup his car.

    1. @genevene I mentioned it several times last year – here’s one example I found with a quick search for the terms “Raikkonen” and “DRS”.

      1. How about the valencia incident when Romain got all the new upgrades as reported by ted kravit while Kimi had to wait until Hungary???

        People read your article and misunderstood that Romain didn’t had any new upgrades in which he had. But struggling to setup the car with wet FP3. After a very hot and mix condition Fp1 and Fp2 in Malaysia, he still struggle with the car, so the issues does not lies with duration, rather he had issue adapting to the E21 with a very pointy front end.

        1. @genevene

          People read your article and misunderstood that Romain didn’t had any new upgrades in which he had. But struggling to setup the car with wet FP3.

          Again, the Allison quote makes that abundantly clear (paragraph four).

        2. People read your article and misunderstood that Romain didn’t had any new upgrades in which he had. But struggling to setup the car with wet FP3.

          Not sure which people you mean there @genevene, to me it was completely obvious that Grosjean has found that what he first thought was trouble setting up with the new parts, was in fact something different.
          But still, if the team say that he is at a bit of a disadvantage because they put the new, improved, parts on Kimi’s car first when they have only one, shouldn’t we just accept that as fact. That they did differently last year, is no reason to “disagree” with stated fact.

  7. Seems like a lost opportunity to gain some points, especially since the E21 looks like it’s headed in the right direction. But then again, who knows if Romain could extract everything from the upgrades like Kimi has shown. Sucks that Lotus has a lower budget.

    1. @rpiian thats not good. By your logic, in a team like Ferrari Alonso will always gets the part before Massa. After all Massa was beating by Alonso in 2010, 2011 and 2012, so who knows if he can used the part better than Alonso.

      And how do you know Grosjean won’t be faster with the part? The thing is he is not getting the chance to prove himself in the same equipment? If this were RBR or McClarean we will be up complaining.

      And what about Grosjean championship chances? What if by the time “poor Lotus” gets the chance to product the parts Grosjean doesn’t have right now is too late.

      And this will always happened in the development race? Will Kimi always get the part first?

      Poor Romain

      1. Romain got the same car in melbourne, but finished 80 sec behind his teammate.

        WDC chances?? he aint got any until he capable to adapt with E21.

        1. @genevene No he didn’t, in the first race he didn’t have the exaust system. So from the start he was at disanvadvantage

          1. yes he did. Romain said it himself.

            THe new exhaust package was only brought to this gp. He got the winner car in melbourne and he fail to make progress with it.

          2. From James Allison.

            Asked about Grosjean’s performance in the opening race Allison said: “He’s not had an easy weekend either here or there because we haven’t got, we haven’t been able to provide, two cars of exactly the same configuration on either occasions.”

            From Grosjean:

            Grosjean confirmed that, aside from the modified exhaust package run by Raikkonen, the specification of his Lotus E21 is identical.

            How many times have we seem the exhaust system being the difference on a car. Red Bull can talk to you about this based on his 2011 car. So his car is not the same, and hadn´t been from the start.

        2. Nope,Romain got the upgrades for FP3 in which time it was too late to get his car set up to his liking.Kimi got the upgrades on friday,meaning he had more time to adapt.So basically Romain was disadvantaged from the start.

      2. I don’t disagree with you. I said, “who knows”, not “I know”, implying I’m not an expert.

        I just hope that Romains fortunes change. He’s got speed, evidenced by his 2012 campaign.

      3. He had the same equipment for the relevant Qualifying and race sessions… Slight delay in getting the upgrades, but he still got it nonetheless.

        “So in Melbourne on Friday he was running a step behind Kimi in terms of his aero package and then he had the upgrade for Saturday morning but Saturday was disturbed by the weather as we all know.

        And just because one gets the ‘upgrade’ first, it doesnt mean that he’s at the advantage. For all you know, the upgrade may be a step in the wrong direction, thus also wasting time that could be used for car set up. (Like how Kimi and Lotus wasted some time with the passive DRD last year)

  8. So Grosjean is the new Webber!

    1. Hehehehehe nice one

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      22nd March 2013, 14:24

      yep – outclassed by a faster team mate.

    3. @funkyf1: Webber will not like that.

  9. This is really unfaire for Grosejean.
    @keithcollantine make a very good point to publish this article because this need a serious discussion.

    In one hand i can understand Ferrari where last year 3-4 gp from the end they put most of the updates in Alonso’s car. Alonso was fighting for the championship why Massa has 0 possibility, but at the start of the championship it’s really unfair for Grosjean. I think that Grosjean has the potential to win races . In quali last year he showed to be as fast as Raikkonen if not faster.

    From a strategic point of view this maybe a good way to focus only in one driver and to obtain the maximum from this driver…but this is a clearly NR.1 policy, and a clearly “engineering team order”.
    I would agree that in the middle of the championship you could make a decision for one or another driver, but not at the start…it’s also the possibility to demotivated and lose a driver like Grosjean.

    I was wondering if Ferrari and Red Bull would have admitted that from the start of the season that Alonsos and Vettels cars would have been the most updated (admitted also from Massa and Webber), how people would react to this??…i have the impression that people react only when it’s Alonso or Vettel.

    I think that it’s totally unfair for Grosjean.

    1. and its fair to grosjean for finishing 10th in melbourne while kimi won the race despite running identical cars on sunday.

      So you are suggesting lotus to hand in the only upgrade package readied for Sepang to Romain instead of the on form Kimi that lead the wdc table??

      1. Candice –

        and its fair to grosjean for finishing 10th in melbourne while kimi won the race despite running identical cars on sunday.

        lol ouch! ;)

    2. @nomore Maybe RBR wouldn’t have admited but Webber wouldnt have being quite about it (as we all know). I agree with your post

    3. @nomore – The problem with your logic is that points late in the season are worth no more than points early in the season; i.e. it’s 25 points per win every race. Every team has to get as many points as it can, when it can. If Lotus have a chance to get a lot of points right now, they must not leave any on the table. When Alonso lost by 3 points last year, he didn’t lose the championship at Brazil. He lost it at every race where he did not outscore Vettel; every race where he didn’t get another place to get a few more points.

      So, if they have one upgraded exhaust (per this case), they must use it to their advantage as best they can. Giving it to the best performing driver is their plan to do just that. The alternative would be to give it to the poorer performing (at the moment) driver, or give it to neither until they have 2 complete. Both of those options risk letting points slip through, which would be unacceptable based on the past few seasons’ results.

  10. I don’t what’s this fuss all about. It’s pretty common that the number one driver gets the upgrades first. Lotus would be insane if they would choose Romain over Kimi.

    1. They did during last year from valencia to hockenheim period. Romain got the latest upgrades, kimi had to wait until Hungary.

      Despite that, Kimi never whines, never struggling, still score more podiums and points than Romain.

    2. This. Not pointing out the preference in the press, wont make an exiting article :)

    3. @cyclops_pl
      +1. Kimi ended up number 3 last year with 207 points, Grosjean number 8 with 96 points. The numbers points out the priorities easily.

    4. Most of the time they do that, but that is off course when they feel confident these parts are an improvement right away. As we saw with Ferrari last year, they gave Massa some new parts to test them, get the first gremlins out of them, before they did put them on the car (or dropped them because they were not bringing the wanted improvement).

      I think last year Lotus gave parts to Grosjean before Kimi in a part of the year, because at the time Kimi was struggling a bit in qualifying and needed to be able to focus wholly on setup during the Fridays to get on top of that, while Grosjean evidently was fine with the speed of the car and could work on development.

  11. Why make two and transport them halfway across the world to test. They might not even work which is a disadvantage to the nominated driver (RAI in this case). The part in question might also take some time to manufacture and instead of holding it back until they have a second one, it makes sense to at least get some data on one of the cars. In addition, by running the nominal spec in the second car they can get a comparison under similar conditions.

  12. Why is everyone reading into this as favouritism and team orders when it’s blatantly stated to be a combined case of ‘we can’t bring enough parts in short order’ and ‘what if the package fails – we need something to fall back on’.

    Remember how Webber won Silverstone 2010, despite having an older front wing than Vettel? Yes, a measure of red mist may have contributed to it, but with such little testing at the moment, teams don’t necessarily know how parts will perform until they’re raced in anger.

    1. @optimaximal

      Why is everyone reading into this as favouritism and team orders when it’s blatantly stated to be a combined case of ‘we can’t bring enough parts in short order’ and ‘what if the package fails – we need something to fall back on’.


      Thank you for stating it so well…

  13. I don’t think there’s a problem with Lotus choosing Kimi to have the upgrades first given that Kimi has a lot more experience and thus can give a better appreciation weather those new parts are working or not.
    I wouldn’t mind even if Lotus came in front of the media/fans and declared that Kimi is their spearhead in their championship campaign. After all Kimi finished 3rd last year in the 4th fastest car while Grosjean only kept his seat due to Boullier’s intervention.
    It would be a lot uglier if Lotus consistently claimed that they treat their drivers equally (like RedBull do) when the whole world knows it’s not true and point fingers to other teams who are open about their driver’s policy.

    1. Yeah, just leave Kimi alone, he knows what he is doing :-)

      Oh, as regards Ferrri; massa, alonso is faster than you :-)

  14. Grosjean is lucky to be even driving in F1 after what happened last season… He’s not going to complain over such matters.

    1. @litepad

      I wonder if Maldonado and Grosjean share a flat…

      1. @full-throttle-f1: I wouldn’t like to be their landlord.

        1. Or cleaning lady

  15. While I can understand that Grosjean’s fans are upset by a perceived bias, the fact remains that when a team has only one set of parts available, it makes no sense to hand those parts to a driver who has proved crash prone. Not only are you not going to get the benefit of the parts, it’s expensive, and you don’t get to evaluate their impact.

    Without lotus, Grosjean would not even have a drive in f1. He may be at a disadvantage, but I would argue it’s at least partly of his own making.

  16. These kind of packages have an effect of 0.1 sec / lap. They do not explain Romain is not doing so well. The car is made to be easy on tyres. Kimi’s smooth driving style supports that. That’s the biggest reason why Kimi is doing so much better than Romain. It is wise to test new parts with Kimi and do other tests with Roimain and proven construction.
    Now when the tyres are in so big role, it really gives an advantage to Kimi over every other driver out there..

  17. I don’t see what some people are complaining about. This is only FP1 and Lotus are logically giving their best driver the new parts first. If Grosjean didn’t have new parts for the race, then that’s a different story.

  18. Sometimes I wonder why Maldonado and Grosjean even get such good sponsors/backing. There are many other drivers who could do better with that money like Bianchi. But that’s life.

    1. I don’t think one should overrate Bianchi only after one race. Nobody can say for sure whether Bianchi was so good or Max Chilton was that bad. Comparing a rookie to another rookie doesn’t really show the value of a driver.

    2. easy, PSDVA is a Venezuelan oil company so they back a Venezuelan driver. Grosjean is not backed quite in the same way but being French, he’s had Renault throw him a few life lines

  19. its Kimi’s fault, really. I mean, why isn’t he telling the whole world that he got unfairly treated last year? If only he whined and whined about how Romain was getting all the latest update, perhaps more people would know. But Kimi isn’t political, he just gets on with the job and we all know that.

    As for Keith, I love your website, and its my go to site for F1 news. However, I still do think your article was a little misleading this time. Yes I agree, you quoted stuff accordingly and truthfully. BUT, like any news outlet, quotes can always be used to support a certain message or agenda, and can give people the wrong impresson. I’m not saying you are doing that, but a food for thought nonetheless.

    As for all those out there saying this was unfair. I ask you why might that be? Kimi has been well known to give extremely precise feedback on the car, so if I was the team principal I would ask Kimi to test the new parts first. Given he’s more experienced and successful. Allison himself said so last year that Kimi was extremely good at giving feedback on how the car feels and said something along the lines of “9 out of 10 times when we follow the direction Kimi wants, we will improve”. Secondly, if the team could only produce one new part, then you are crazy enough to say you wouldn’t want to use that upgrade for ‘fairness’? Oh well, some people…

    I perhaps feel there is an underlying problem with humanity in general, we are all so distrustful (is there such a word?) and are always quick to point out flaws in people. We believe the world is corrupt, that everyone will do anything to succeed. Is this perhaps a reflection of ourselves? I have been browsing this website for a long time, and in every article the arguments always come down to the same patterns. Wouldn’t it be oh so nice if we could all just view the world as a better place? You know, cheer up people. ;)

  20. I see that this article has generated lots of anger from both Kimi fans and his opponents. I don’t see what’s the problem here. If Lotus has resources to produce only one set of upgraded parts, isn’t it natural to give them to Räikkönen, who won the first race and gathered twice as many championship points than Grosjean last season? But then again it’s obviously an advantage for Räikkönen against Grosjean to have better parts and Romain will most likely be even further behind Kimi because of this decision.

  21. Chill out guys! Just a team on limited budget trying to do the best they can to maximize their chances, given the testing rules. Stop fishing for conspiracies where there’s none.

  22. Really guys, if one day Kimi and Romain knocked at your door and asked if one of them can take a ride with your car, whom did you trust your car to?

  23. I think there are a few things that factor into such a decision from Lotus:

    1. Raikkonen has proven very consistent, and as such will be able to get more reliable and useful data from the upgrades for the Lotus team to look over, and therefore decide how best to continue from there.
    2. Grosjean has shown to be quite accident prone, and so if he did crash, it would mean that all the work and money used to get the part over there would be for nothing. Until he can prove otherwise, I’m sure that he’ll continue to be ‘disadvantaged’.
    3. Money. Lotus don’t have the same amount of finance as the top teams, and so I’m guessing that they are trying to pour their resources into upgrades, and save money by maybe just giving it to one driver. Therefore, they can get the data and make more if it’s successful. If it’s not, then they haven’t wasted money.

    It’s probably a combination of all three, and it makes sense to me. Raikkonen did a great job last year, and showed that even with his team mate being just as fast, or faster at some stages, he is the safer pair of hands, and should get the upgrades first.

  24. I think this shows so well what Massa (and Webber) have to go through all the time. It doesn’t take much to be clearly slower than your team-mate.

  25. I love how people say that the points-difference between Grosjean and Raikkonen was so extremely big just because Grosjean was so terrible… It isn’t as if he had to race against a teammate who had 9 years of F1 experience and also won a WDC while he only had half a year of experience and a GP2-title or something like that! Save for the crashes, he actually did pretty well, I’d say! As for the part-distribution, I think they need to stick to Raikkonen, but try and give Grosjean his setup-time, since he showed that he really needs it.

    1. Romain got all the time needed from fp1 and fp2 in Sepang…

      Yet, he still struggle.

      It showed that he was struggling with the car nature as a whole. A very pointy front end does not suit an agressive driver like him.

  26. haha what is the big deal? there is enormous time and infrastructure involved in making any single piece of a complete package. a team must allocate resources to achieve the maximum result, and that means the stronger driver gets the new, faster parts. it’s to grosjean’s detriment, but even more to the team’s detriment that the limit of their production is less than 2 cars.

  27. I just can’t believe that anyone would even entertain the notion that with two drivers, one of whom is Kimi – leave me alone, I know what I’m doing and am already once a World Champ – Raikkonen, if there was only one set of particular upgrade parts they would go to anyone other than Raikkonen. Sheesh.

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