Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Nurburgring, 2013

Will Lotus errors drive Raikkonen to Red Bull?

2013 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Nurburgring, 2013It’s no secret that Kimi Raikkonen is the shortlist to replace the departing Mark Webber at Red Bull in 2014.

Lotus will be anxious not to see the 2007 champion go. Since his return to F1 last year Raikkonen has scored in all bar one of his races for them, claiming more than 70% of the points scored by the team.

But at this sensitive stage in deliberations over next year, Lotus have made some crucial errors where it matters most – on the track.

The Raikkonen-Lotus partnership began the year on a high, using the E21 chassis’s kindness to its tyres to excellent effect in Melbourne, where they won. But as the season has progressed the team’s strategic decisions have come under scrutiny:


Lotus ran a two-stop strategy for Raikkonen which helped him move ahead of his three-stopping rivals to start the year with a win.


In a rain-hit Q3, drivers who took a fresh set of intermediate tyres headed the field. Lotus got the call right but Raikkonen only manages seventh on the grid. He then received a grid penalty for impeding Nico Rosberg and finished the race seventh.


A two-stop strategy paid dividends again for Raikkonen, lifting him from eighth to second.


The team played to their car’s strength again by making one stop fewer than eventual winner Alonso. But Raikkonen lost time in traffic and, as in Malaysia, the team’s quickest pit stop was over a second slower than the best.


A race riddled with problems for Raikkonen: a two-place grid penalty was his fault but brake trouble, high fuel consumption and a slow pit stop were not. He finished tenth.


Lost a place to Alonso at the first round of pit stops but the real damage was done during the final Safety Car period. Lotus missed the chance to bring Raikkonen in for fresh tyres which left him vulnerable to those who had come in. He fell from second to fifth in the closing laps.


While Grosjean eked out 13 laps on his soft tyres at the start, Raikkonen pitted five laps earlier and fell into traffic. The Safety Car allowed him to regain lost ground, but a late pit stop saw him surrender the lead to Vettel, and although Lotus waved him past Grosjean (for the second race in a row) he was unable to catch the Red Bull. Strategic decision-making was clearly hampered by a radio communication problem.

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Silverstone, 2013The slip-up at Silverstone was one of the costlier errors but team principal Eric Boullier said it was unlikely to be a deal-breaker when it comes to securing Raikkonen’s services for next year: “Kimi?s an intelligent guy and he won?t let a single pit stop call define a decision like where to drive for 2014.”

But looking back over the last three races it’s clear Raikkonen has more missed opportunities to reflect on than just a single strategy decision.

One week later at the Nurburgring Raikkonen questioned whether the team had done the right thing by pitting him in the closing stages. “I?m wondering if we should have done it,” he said after the race, “take a gamble and try to go to the end because the tyres were pretty OK, my speed was pretty OK so it was hard to know what happens in the next ten laps.”

However Lotus are “very comfortable” that bringing Raikkonen in was the right thing to do, as trackside operations director Alam Permane explains: “It?s very clear from our simulations that ?ǣ had his tyre degradation level continued at a steady rate ?ǣ [Vettel] would have quite easily been able to reel him in.

“While we are in no doubt about that, what is questionable is what would have happened if the degradation level had increased towards the end of the race. This was certainly the case for a number of other drivers who opted for that strategy, who we then saw being passed quite easily in the latter stages; something that would likely have happened to Kimi and subsequently dropped him back to fourth behind Fernando [Alonso] rather than a comfortable second with a fighting chance of victory.”

It matters as much whether they got the call right as whether Raikkonen has full confidence in the decisions they are making. Clearly it was playing on his mind after the race.

He has several factors to weigh when deciding his destination for 2014. Does he want to go up against a triple – potentially quadruple – world champion? Which team is the best bet to produce a winning car for next year’s regulations? Who will do more to accommodate his intolerance of PR work?

Events on the track will play a part as well, so Lotus’s recent troubles could not have come at a worse time.

2013 F1 season

Browse all 2013 F1 season articles

Images ?? Lotus/LAT

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

89 comments on “Will Lotus errors drive Raikkonen to Red Bull?”

  1. The funny part is that everyone thinks Kimi is going to Red Bull, which totally makes sense, but it will be real fun if he doesn’t, in the end.
    However, Kimi is a championship material, and despite his calm and indifferent nature the guy wants to win, and Red Bull can give him that. James Allison’s departure could play further role in that decision-making issues and thus drive Kimi away from Lotus.

    1. @kiril-varbanov

      it will be real fun if he doesn’t

      I don’t agree, I’d rather see Vettel vs Raikkonen than Vettel vs Ricciardo.

      1. Which is exactly why it won’t happen.

      2. + infiniti with an ‘i’

      3. It would spice up things if Kimi does move to Red Bull . But I don’t know if the partnership will work well. It’s a gamble considering the changes for 2014 . That said, Red Bull have the resources and acumen to succeed .

      4. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        23rd July 2013, 16:15

        @keithcollantine +1, Vettel’s teammates so far have been Sebastien Bourdais and Mark Webber (…er, and Heidfeld, but for just the one race), not exactly a whole load of competition for him. It’d be interesting to see some real pressure put on Vettel by his teammate, something he hasn’t really experienced before in F1.

        1. Mark put plenty of pressure on him in 2010. I think we all know how he will do.

      5. +1.

        VET vs RAI would be explosive. Assuming Red Bull will produce another top car, it would be something close to Hamilton vs. Alonso (but I’m expecting a more friendly partnership)

    2. Although I would love to see Räikkönen vs Vettel as it would provide a golden opportunity to see how he fares against one of the recognised “top guns”, I feel Red Bull would want somebody who could take the gauntlet should Seb leave and that won’t be Räikkönen (he’ll be reaching retirement age fairly swiftly). Also, I think they have to show that all the money they have invested in the young driver programme is worth something so Ricciardo looks like no.1 to me currently.

      1. Also, I think they have to show that all the money they have invested in the young driver programme is worth something so Ricciardo looks like no.1 to me currently.

        @vettel1 – and what about Räikkönen’s well-known aversion to PR-work? Do the positives he would bring to the team that Ricciardo can’t match in sporting terms outweigh whatever the loss in marketing potential would be from employing the Finn instead of the PR-willing Ricciardo?

        1. @joepa for sure they may well bolster their fanbase and public image quite significantly but the main sponsor to the team is still Red Bull themselves, so I doubt it’d make a massive difference with regards to attracting new sponsors.

          I don’t think Ricciardo will be a bad choice in that respect either: he seems like a very accessible and friendly guy and I’m sure will be far better at PR than Räikkönen. So really it will come down to do Red Bull want an established hand and a fighting pair or do they want one of their own to showcase their driver program (of course Vettel & Ricciardo are both RB development drivers). I’m 70% sure they’ll go for Ricciardo purely because he will be a good replacement for Webber and could take on team leader should Vettel leave once his contract is up. The guy’s no slouch either it appears.

    3. I think Red Bull have already decided to sign Ricciardo, or are at least close to doing so. It was a bit unusual of them to go public with their interest in Kimi, which makes me think that they might have been using him as a stalking horse in order to get the Toro Rosso drivers to up their performances. Ricciardo has done that, while Vergne hasn’t.

      1. Meanwhile, Vergne is leading Ricciardo in the standings despite 2 more dnfs.

        1. jimscreechy (@)
          24th July 2013, 13:33

          That is true but his Qualifying is what is letting him down. on paper their really isn’t much more than a hare’s whisker between then, but qualifying is giving Ricciardo the edge. Also from a personality perspective he ‘seem’ an easier going character.

        2. I always maintain that it is far easier to refine a skill than to find speed. You certainly have to be naturally fast to be a good qualifier, something Ricciardo definitely appears to have whereas Vergne doesn’t. He’s got the edge on racecraft currently but that is something which is easy to improve with experience: outright qualifying pace isn’t as easy.

          So Vergne may be leading the standings but Ricciardo is still leading the race to Red Bull IMO.

  2. RBR would want Kimi simply to remove him as competition.

    1. @joshua-mesh That makes no sense at all. If they hired Raikkonen he’d be driving for them, so they’d want him to be as competitive as possible.

      1. It makes perfect sense, I think you misread what Joshua wrote. If Kimi were at Redbull, then he wouldn’t be a competitor to Redbull– he’d be competing for them.

        1. @chaddy Ah I get it now, thanks.

    2. Kimi would be certainly Vettel’s best team mate ever, but I don’t think Vettel is unable to beat him fair and square, actually considering his long tenure with Red Bull I’d Kimi will have a tough time to beat Seb.

  3. Alexander (@)
    23rd July 2013, 15:56

    I think Kimi would have a bigger chance of a second championship in the Redbull, and i really would love to see him win it, but somehow it would be a more special moment if he won it with Lotus, so as long as he continues in F1 it’s all good.

    1. I am equally keen on Kimi winning a 2nd WDC and frankly I don’t care which car he is in. The next year cars are a lottery and any team might come on top, but I guess the odds of big 4 due to their resources are higher (actually if I wanted to bet at this point I would have considered McLaren or maybe Mercedes: two teams with deep pockets and about to pivot their focus to next year).

      On the other hand we have Lotus that is owned by a private equity firm and according to personal experience they care much more about their ROI nad exit strategy than glory, whereas for Ferrari or RedBull winning even if it hits ROI a bit is acceptable.

      Then it’s the question if talent and departure of James Allison has made next year prospects (if not also this one) bleaker for Lotus.

      I think only after they are paired we would know if Kimi can beat Vettel, but I am confident of one thing: Kimi is the most adaptable driver in new teams: he moved from Sauber to McLaren and the first year he got a decent car in 2003 (2nd season there?) he challenged Schumacher. He moved to Ferrari in 2007 and won the title. Then came back last year after 2 years of rallying and truck driving and was instantly on it. And if he was ready to move to Ferrari and race next to 7 time champion Schumacher who was the undisputed King there, Vettel wouldn’t be that intimidating. (It was Schumacher in the end that decided he had enough and deprived us an interesting 2007 line up).

  4. Hi james, at the beginning thought Raikkonen would go to RBR, but after what Marco said abt Seb’s teammate should do with all those simulator work & spending time with engineers, I thought does he really think Raikkonen would do for his teammate. I think RBR just distracting Lotus becoming serious contenders this season. If Raikkonen joins RBR i will be very happy but i really wants him in Mclaren tats is team.

    1. All Marko said was equal amount of work from both drivers. Not any more, not any less than what Seb/Webber have been doing. God knows how such an unremarkable comment did cause negative reactions from Kimi fans! What did they expect seriously?

  5. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    23rd July 2013, 16:11

    Will Lotus errors drive Raikkonen to Red Bull?

    No. The more I think about this the more certain I am that Ricciardo is in line for this drive. The situation in the Red Bull Young Driver Programme is so dire that I feel it’s very existence is under threat. The purpose of the programme is to take talented drivers from the junior categories, train them up, and plonk them into arguably the best seat on offer in motorsport. If Red Bull choose Raikkonen, then what is the point of having a young driver programme? Red Bull have got great drivers like Antonio Felix da Costa, Mitch Evans and before too long, Carlos Sainz Jnr, queing up outside Toro Rosso demanding a drive. It would be better for the Red Bull brand also if they could put Daniel next to Vettel and see him do a good job, because he would be “their find” and not some guy that they’ve had to pay in lorry-loads of Russian premium vodka just to get him to drive the car. I am also sure that Vettel would prefer Ricciardo alongside him…and we remember who is really in charge from Malaysia…

    I’d love to see Raikkonen alongside Vettel. I’d be great for F1 in that finally Vettel would have a real benchmark to be measured against in the garage next door, just as Hamilton, Alonso, Raikkonen, Button and Massa have all had in the past, and not some guy with mountainous peaks and troughs in performance. But…it just don’t see it happening. Next year the huge aerodynamic advantages Red Bulls have had over their rivals will be of lesser importance, and the difference between a Renault powered Red Bull and a presumably Renault power Lotus will actually be rather minimal. And one gets the impression that Kimi has finally found a team where he is comfortable, so why would he leave the Eden of Lotus to go to a highly commercial environment via some highly intricate contractual negotiations? Money? I know Lotus is struggling but I still think that they can keep Kimi in premium vodka! In a recent AUTOSPORT article, Ed Straw argued that Raikkonen was perfect for Red Bull. His evidence? That Raikkonen and Vettel get on and that Kimi was once sponsored by Red Bull in rallying. Now, even though none of that…er…evidence…has changed, Ricciardo has since very much come into his own as a driver. Couple that with frankly sketchy motivations for Raikkonen to switch, a backlog in the Red Bull Young Driver Programme and the odd Vettel tantrum and you have the driver line-up for Red Bull Racing in 2014. Good luck, Ricciardo.

    1. Next year the huge aerodynamic advantages Red Bulls have had over their rivals will be of lesser importance, and the difference between a Renault powered Red Bull and a presumably Renault power Lotus will actually be rather minimal.

      Now , we have no guarantee that will be the case . Red Bull have the upper hand in financial matters and can bring faster and better updates.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        23rd July 2013, 16:30

        @hamilfan – True on all accounts, but we do know that engines will be massively influential next year, and that is why ultimately the team that can create harmony between power plant and chassis that will win the championship. My money’s on Mercedes, especially with Newey’s asset value somewhat diminished.

        1. On paper, Mercedes odds look good. To make it look better, Pirelli will certainly be more conservative next year…

          1. Why Mercedes? Why not Ferrari?

          2. jimscreechy (@)
            24th July 2013, 13:38

            Perhaps he has seen the engine designs for 2014, stuck them on the dyno in his shed, and evaluated them for potential flaws.

    2. While I can agree with a lot of your reasoning I think it is failing the point that Red Bull will much rather employ Kimi than Ricciardo not only for his skill and currently unparalleled consistency but certainly also for his popularity as I have stated before. Even with reduced PR work he will extremely marketable for Red Bull world wide which in return will make up for his higher price tag multiple times.

      Please explain why a less powerful engine in a new chassis will make aero engineering less important? I think it must be the opposite.

      1. @poul

        Red Bull will much rather employ Kimi than Ricciardo not only for his skill and currently unparalleled consistency but certainly also for his popularity as I have stated before. Even with reduced PR work he will extremely marketable for Red Bull world wide which in return will make up for his higher price tag multiple times.

        On this point I must disagree. While Raikkonen does bring with him an automatic fanbase, the thing to remember about Raikkonen fans is that they are very much fans of Raikkonen above other considerations. It’s unlikely that this would significantly boost the Red Bull brand, especially if he’s not prepared to put in public appearances and suchlike.

        Ricciardo on the other hand is PR gold – he’s young, always smiling, always positive, has the general aura of ‘extreme sports’ hanging around him, and is fully prepared to engage with fans. And, it’s important to remember, he’s Australian, and Red Bull do have a good following in Australia thanks to Mark Webber, which they’ll want to retain.

        In terms of the Red Bull brand identity, Ricciardo is hands-down winner. He’s also a promising young driver who has shown consistent improvement through his career, and who seems to be able to apply analytical skills to understanding where things need to be improved, very much like Vettel. I think he’d be a perfect fit, and would be a far better choice for Red Bull long term.

        1. In terms of the Red Bull brand identity, Ricciardo is hands-down winner.

          This is your opinion and far from factual. While Riddiardo is basically unknown outside hardcore F1 communities while Räikkonen is a well established brand of his own already, holding huge recognition outside F1.

          Why would Red Bull marketing care about a big smile, a few handshakes and a little recognition in a sparsely populated country when they can get a popular face creating huge roars at any podium and already seen in countless ads all over the world ?

          1. I agree with you as a strategy consultant; Ricciardo is at best a Brand in the making while Kimi is a well established one. In Brand development we use a framework called DREK which is initials of: Differentiation, Relevance, Esteem, Knowledge. The goal for any brand is to score high on all 4 and Kimi does so (with the possible exception of relevance, but then which celebrity is really relevant?). Ricciardo would score lower on differentiation (being nice and jolly is not enough, Grosjean is also very personable whereas these days Kimi’s aloof “iceman” approach is cool: imagine a special Red Bull edition called “Iceman”), he has nowhere near the esteem of Kimi and as you noted is much less known compared to Kimi.

            Imagine a spoof on Kimi’s charge from 15 to win in Suzuka 2005, showing the audacious overtakes, esp. that last one on Fisichella in the last lap, but then on the podium he turns down the champagne and opts for a Red Bull :)

          2. @iFelix Thank you for strengthening my point. I would suggest Red Bull marketing to employ you. You could make them a truckload of money :-)

            Actually it says a lot for someone’s nickname to hold that much brand recognition. Quite impressive.

        2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          23rd July 2013, 17:57

          @mazdachris +1
          @poul Trust me, Raikkonen won’t be employed for anything other than his driving ability. In terms of the 2014 technical scenario, the power plant will be king. Creating a harmonious balance between turbos, ERS and the V6 will be paramount, and will certainly dominate the 2014 season; certainly more than downforce.

          1. @william-brierty Actually I don’t believe that. Red Bull has already won everything for years. What else is there to pursue except higher popularity?

          2. @poul I think the blind side of Kimi’s fans is that they think he is universally liked. This is not the case. To me, for instance, he comes out as grumpy, disinterested in the whole thing (I know it passes as cool to some people, but not to everybody – believe me), rude and inarticulate.

            I consider F1-driver the best job in the world. When you have the absolut extraordinary good fortune of finding yourself in that position (it is not only a matter of rare talent, but also of rare opportunity), the minimum you should do is show some appreciation. I think Riccardo may have a smaller fan base at the moment but his level of rejection is much lower than Kimi’s – give the Aussi a chance to drive a competitive car and start winning and I think his popularity will go through the roof.

          3. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            24th July 2013, 11:12

            @poul Red Bull are the leading team in F1 on the brink of arguably the biggest shake up in the F1 technical regs of the modern era. They need to be worrying about how they can maintain their winning ways in the new era and whether they are popular is not in the equation.

          4. @william-brierty Again, this is your personal assessment. In the real world they most likely need to concern themselves with money as the means to keep building those winning ways. Just like any other business venture.

            How many minutes do you really think it would take the Red Bull board of directors to cut off F1 entirely if the next statement showed it wasn’t worth the money?

          5. @antifia I have never suggest that everybody likes Kimi. There are almost always two sides to popularity and while Senna is probably the most popular driver ever in history he still has a lot of haters. Equally Kimi get’s a lot of stick for his personality which is at the same time the reason for his recognition. To you it all comes across negatively but you still care to have a stronger opinion about him than about most drivers.

            Aside from national preferences I will still argue that Kimi is the most popular driver world wide. Based on the amounts of press he gets, the roars he gets at any podium and also the amount of time people care to spend criticizing him.

            I miss the days of stronger personalities in F1 as I find most of today’s grid utterly indifferent and though you might argue that Kimi is actually the worst in that category we have a lot of funny stories and interviews. Somehow the worst showmanship turns out to be the funniest at the end.

        3. Riccardo has nowhere the recognition that Kimi has. Even Vettel is not as popular as Kimi. Riccardo does look like a really nice guy and he is doing a great job. But F1 is littered with nice guys, it just doesn’t bring in real interest. It is doubtful whether Riccardo could ever be as popular as Kimi, that takes time to build up. Popularity and interest is PR. Kimi’s personalty is the image that Red Bull likes to project. Smiling and giving the right answers isn’t enough. Even now Red Bull is using Kimi’s popularity to drive speculation for next year’s Red Bull seat. If Kimi wasn’t in the picture and it was only Vernge and Riccardo in contention, then it wouldn’t have generated nearly as much interest.

          Kimi does PR just every other driver, just the past 3 weeks Kimi has done more PR then any other driver. People far over exaggerate Kimi’s so called lack PR duties.

          Kimi has always been a part of Red Bull, when he was in rally he did quite a few PR events for them. Even now this just past weekend Kimi took part in a motocross event where had to change his team’s livery to remove the Red Bull logos from his own kit. Kimi has always been connected with Red Bull in some way. They dont have to keep on sponsoring him, but they obviously think it is worth it. People dont seem to understand the concept of PR in general.

          But it seems like Red Bull is more interested in maintaining a no.1 and no.2 driver. Which makes a lot of sense for them, they have won a lot of championships this way. But even if Kimi doesn’t drive for Red Bull next year I m pretty certain that they will keep on sponsoring him in some way.

      2. @poul

        Please explain why a less powerful engine in a new chassis will make aero engineering less important? I think it must be the opposite.

        In actual fact, they are predicted to be slightly more powerful:

        “We have new powertrain coming in 2014, with all sorts of energy recovery devices, which will I think bring the power up to a little over what we have at the moment,” said Whiting.

        Also, they will produce significantly more low-end torque due to the increased involvement of energy recovery systems (I would expect the extra 160bhp will be used to aid acceleration and in the high ranges to boost top speed as they have 33 seconds per lap of “boost”). That will make harmony between chassis and powers rain significantly more important than it is currently. Also, the tweaks to the regulations will presumably reduce overall downforce levels and certainly the exploitation of exhaust gasses for aerodynamic effect (somewhere Red Bull have been dominant at since midway through 2009-2011 & midway through 2012+) so aero is likely to become less important.

        1. “Powers rain”? That’s an interesting typo! *Powertrain is what I intended to say ;)

        2. The 2009 rulechange was meant to significantly reduce downforce. I’m not sure it ever did, in the end, and certainly by now the cars are generating far more than they were in 2008. The fact is, if you take something away from an F1 team, it’s only a matter of time before they get it back again. There may be a reduction in overall downforce, but it’s still going to be the biggest distinguishing factor between the teams. It’s still going to be the most important part of the car’s design. Innovation in the field of aerodynamics will not stop at the end of this year, you can be absolutely certain of that.

          1. @mazdachris Exactly. And as we saw in ’09, Newey optimizes a brand new set of aero regulations far quicker than other teams are able.

            It’s possible the Renault won’t be a competitive engine next year, but if it’s anywhere near the top, I’d expect Red Bull to be dominant (at the very least against fellow Renault engined teams).

          2. @mazdachris no absolutely I’m not denying aero will still be hugely important but I suspect less so than currently because there will be a whole new challenge with chassis dynamics. Absolutely though, expect to see some loopholes being exposed.

          3. I think it did take away a lot of downforce, at least initially @mazdachris.

            But that did not count in the DDD – that added a whole new bag of downforce to the cars. And off course by now the teams have found ways to get back, and top what they had with all the flicks and bits in 2008.

        3. @Vettel1

          Thank Max. Last time I checked it was believed that the new power train would be slightly less powerful than today’s.

          However, I did place a little loophole in my comment so while you may be correct that aero will play a smaller role over all, I did say “aero engineering” :-) in which Red Bull is generally believed to excel. So even if the overall down force is reduced it could initially be to Red Bulls benefit as far as maximizing it sooner than than others.

          By the way; we did have some serious “power rain” here in Canada lately!

        4. i think the opposite could hold true.
          To maximize your time gain you will want to use your additional power as early as possible on a straight. So actually traction and aerodynamic downforce can become more important and will definitely not lose any of its importance.

      3. Even with reduced PR work he will extremely marketable for Red Bull world wide which in return will make up for his higher price tag multiple times.

        @poul – this is really the fundamental of the calculus, eh? I think it would be fascinating to understand in both qualitative and quantitative terms how this analysis was/is conducted.

        1. @joepa Surely it is my own estimation but still based based on previous endorsement deals; the largest of which where Tag Heuer sunglasses and cronos. I honestly cannot find the link for proof anymore but if a major, established company will continuously shove that much money in his face just for photo ads and special editions carrying his name; they do so because it is worth it. Well worth it I will assume.

  6. It’s all about the regs, isn’t it… Kimi might be better taking a Williams Mercedes drive than a Red Bull Renault – that’s how much change we could see.

  7. Raikkonen to Red Bull would be fantastic for fans . Would it be fantastic enough for Kimi though ?

    1. Would it be fantastic enough for Kimi though

      I would argue he would end up 2014 champion, so yes it would. As much as everyone discusses the major shake up coming in the regulations threatening the status quo, at the end of the day RB still retain Mr Newey, so a great disturbance of the force seems unlikely. I also feel that RB will end up going with Ricciardo, as;

      a) Having two world champions might upset the current balance at Red Bull
      b) choosing Kimi would render the young driver’s program effectively irrelevant and defunct

  8. I think a raikonnen and vettel team up will surely create sparks as Raikonnen is no slouch.
    I suspect something similar to Alonso -Hamilton battle in 2007.
    But Vettel will always have the upper hand at RBR so i don’t think kimi should leave Lotus.

    1. Vettel would have the upper hand over Kimi even if they were driving for a Finn team of snowmobils – Kimi vs Webber would be more of a match though.

      Kimi should not change teams because he is in one of the luckiest situations he could find himself in. The lore is that he is driving a mediocre car beyond what could be expected from it – look at Grosjean’s performance, they’ll say. No pressure at all, and he is a hero everytime he doesn’t mess up.

      What if instead, the Lotus is a great car, and he is not quite living up to it? You know, same engine as the RedBulls, kinder on tyres, good balance…..Grosjean is such a bad driver that even if you gave him a gig at Ferrari in 2004, he would still find a way to be a midfielder – he is not a parameter. As I said in the past, every time Kimi had a half-decent team mate, he was beaten (see, Massa and Heidfeld). He is overhiped – has always been.

      Just food for thought: How do you think this year’s Lotus would perform if it was in the hands of a Vettlel, Hamilton or Alonso?

  9. Kimi, should he stay or should he go? All things being equal, which in 2014 they won’t be, it would make good sense for Kimi to go to Red Bull. In 2013, Lotus is very close, Red Bull is better. But, we do not know what package will be most competitive in 2014. That is the biggest gamble for Kimi going. Chances are very good that Red Bull will still be up there in 2014 given their track record. Lotus has more question marks with financing issues and key personnel having left. Likely edge, Red Bull.

    If Kimi does go, quite likely Red Bull will win WCC again with these two top drivers. I do not believe, as many posters here seem to, that Kimi will go anywhere to play second fiddle nor that Red Bull or Vettel would expect him to.

    To answer the question posed in the article, it is not likely that the Lotus mistakes are helping to retain Kimi, but the bigger picture may be that Red Bull gives him the best opportunity to win another championship. I believe that is what Kimi wants most of all.

  10. Another point to note – if Simon Rennie left Lotus because of Raikkonen’s attitude (i’ve read it in a few comments on here, not taking it as gospel but it played on my mind) then would Red Bull want to shuffle their trackside staff AGAIN for Kimi?

  11. In my opinion their major concern should be straight line speed not Kimi.

  12. Surely a chat to webber is on the cards for Kimi, may be a big deciding factor. I know Kimi and Seb have a very strong friendship based on a once a year game of badminton, but I can’t see it lasting long after the first corner.

    1. Sorry, but can he possibly expect unbiased info from Webber?

      1. And don’t forget Mark may have an ulterior motive. After all he is one of the biggest supporters of Daniel taking his seat, which indirectly indicates the proverbial 2nd driver treatment isn’t too bad.

    2. jimscreechy (@)
      24th July 2013, 13:45

      LOL, funny and insightful

  13. Kenneth Ntulume
    23rd July 2013, 17:11

    Funny how most people judge differently! Kimi’s supposed move to Red-Bull from Lotus, in comparison too Lewis’s move to Mercedes from McLaren

  14. I don’t think that Lotus has been that bad this year. Sure, their mistake in Britain was a bit stupid, but other than that they did a good job, in my opinion. Australia, Bahrain and Spain were great performances by Kimi and very good strategies.

    Their strategy in Germany was the best, in my opinion. Not doing the final stop could have worked out, but if it hadn’t Kimi would have probably finished in fourth place. As a consequence he (and his fans) would have been angry at his team.

    If Kimi leaves, that’s because he wants a car both quick and consistent enough to really challenge for the WDC.

  15. Sorry to say, but I don’t think it is Kimi’s decision to choose teams. It is red bull’s decision on whom to hire. Kimi will have the choice made for him.

    1. Alexander (@)
      23rd July 2013, 19:30

      I’ve thought about that, but Kimi has said a few times “RedBull wants me”… So it’s still quite open, if they agree on the terms then it’s a mutual decision…

    2. I don’t agree. Even though I think Daniel deserves it, It’s Kimi who will decide whether he goes to Red Bull or Lotus. Yes, if Red Bull ultimately decides on Daniel before Kimi makes his mind up, he’ll probably stay at Lotus, but at this point, if today he said I’m with Red Bull, he’s putting on the black/red/purple firesuit next year. He’s proven he’s got the speed and the skills to bring Red Bull to at least another championship.

    3. Kimi will have the choice made for him.

      Evidence, please? Your statement contradicts everything that Kimi has said publicly on the matter (little that it is).

    4. Hm, Sumedh, when Red Bull have stated several times that they hope to find out what Kimi chooses, what makes you think its their choice?

      Sure, if Kimi wants to wait until februari next year, they will have to act before that and probably take Ricciardo, but apart from such an extreme, they really do not have any pressure to act, and can wait. After all, its not as if Ricciardo is likely to go anywhere else if they do not announce him as their driver before a certain point during the season, is there?

      1. @bascb : What I mean is :

        Let’s say it is a given that Lotus wants to retain Kimi (which I think is a given). Now, if Red Bull also offer Kimi a seat, then technically, yes, Kimi has a choice of two teams and can choose Lotus over Red Bull.

        But realistically, will he do that? Red Bull has much more resources and momentum than Lotus going into the 2014 rule changes. It is a no-brainer that Kimi will select Red Bull.

        So, effectively – if Red Bull offer Kimi a drive, they will get him. If Red Bull don’t offer Kimi, then Kimi is stuck with Lotus because Lotus is still the next best available seat on the grid.

        Hence, I say that for Kimi the choice will be made for him by the teams.

        1. Uh, right. Well, yes. Its up to these teams to present him what they offer. Naturally moneywise is what talks for Red Bull.

          But if Lotus did not have a good/solid offer (in his view), its likely that he would have long ago decided. When you look at what they have done with the limited means available, they are far more efficient in the last 2 years at least. And its still a team that has a lot of good people available, so who knows they might have a trick or 2 up their sleeve for next year too.

          Red Bull will surely be a very tempting move for Kimi, but in the end, the choice is still his to make.

  16. I wish Kimi moves to Red Bull. That way, we can really find out if he is really good. After all, Vettel would be his first truly world class team mate then.

  17. I know the same can be applied to other contenders, but if Lotus did not constantly screwed up the pit-wall calls during 2012 – Raikkonen funnily could have been right there in Brazil and even win it.

    Not much changed this time around.

    On a bright note, last year Hungary was finally a strategic master-piece from Lotus (well, Kimi had to perform his miracle too) compare rest of the season.

    I hope he joins RB. Lotus keeps on doing same mistakes, the fact that their pit-stop times did not improve in other a year and the treatment of “The Device” misshap just shows that they are playing lottery rather than incremental improvement like a top team should.

  18. I can’t decide between KR and DR. On the one handit would be great to see Vettel head to head with a recognized champ, even if it was just to shut up everyone who thinks his driving acumen has never really been tested. On the other Daniel is so enthusiastic and thoroughly likable; how could you not wish him a chance to show what he has got?
    If either candidate has talked to Mark Webber, I can only imagine what he has advised. RBR have let him down on so many occasions; why oh why for example, do the pit crew excel on Vettels pit stops only to drop the ball (albeit ubconciously) when it comes to Webber. And, more to the point, would the aura of KR or DR be enough to prevent this happening in the future and truly give the candidate the same sort of focus they give to Sebastian?

    1. Off the top of my head, 2012 Brazil – the championship decider, 2011 Monaco, 2011 Silverstone… let alone all sorts of race ending mechanical problems. People tend to forget when things happen to Seb then make a big deal out of every issue when it comes to Mark.

  19. Speaking of marketability, does anyone else think there’s a fair chance of RBR’s popularity going south with Seb-Kimi pair? Even these days there are some conspiracists who believe Lotus are making strategic blunders on purpose to reduce Kimi’s championship point based bonus. The majority of Kimi fans seem firm believers of Ferrari sabotaging Kimi theory. If Kimi doesn’t perform well enough for whatever reasons in Red Bull, I’m not too sure Kimi’s presence in the team would bring the much expected popularity to them. I admit that it’s a crazy/wild guess though.

    1. “conspiracists” being the key word there.

      Would not Lotus be reducing their own points if they were reducing Kimi’s?

      Sounds wackadoo to me.

      1. @bullmello I’ve also seen plenty of times Lotus were accused for favoring Romain, because Bullier is his manager. It’s ridiculous but its absurdity doesn’t stop them from imagining things, does it? The same can be applied to Webber-RBR story. According to them RBR must enjoy throwing away points and money.

        1. Speaking of marketability and conspiracies, Vettel may be popular in Germany, but Kimi is much more popular everywhere else, and if RB really just wanted to increase their popularity, all they would need to do is to give Kimi a WDC and humiliate Seb a bit.

    2. Where is these conspiracy theorists? The only conspiracy theorists I see is those who doesn’t like Kimi, who thinks up conspiracy theories for his fans.

      Red Bull might be top team but they certainly are not very popular, a lot of other teams are more popular. Interest and anything that gets people talking generates publicity. Red Bull are there to sell energy drinks, they need popularity more then winning. Winning alone isn’t making the team popular.

  20. Red Bull aren’t exactly error-free either. They’ve made costly pit mistakes on Webber’s car in two races already this season.

    1. which is pretty significant, because its clear from the last couple of years that they have had a bit of an issue giving both cars the same level of service.

  21. Interesting article as always, albeit slightly wrongly titled – the question isn’t about Lotus’s mistakes, but rather will Kimi move to RB and will RB offer Kimi a seat.

    The young driver program aside, the news came from Horner and came unilateraly – suggesting the third fastest driver of this year should join RB. Smells more like a pressure move on Kimi and his entourage (even the guys at Lotus) rather than a serious move to get him onboard in 2014.

    I mean, how many times has a team leader made a statement in the press about a candidate he wanted to recruit then followed up on it, rather than signing a pilot from another team THEN announcing it to the press?

  22. What red Bull will also be mindful of is that if they sign Kimi and Ricciardo is out of contract then he may well end up at Ferrari. A fast Italian(ish) driver will be PR gold for them and in a couple of years could make them look very silly whn Kimi is retired.

    1. I think you are VERY far off the mark there @lindsay9876.
      Firs off all, with all the Red Bull young driver program contracts, its hugely doubtful that Ricciardo would in fact be out of contract and free to move to Ferrari (they could just keep him at STR another year).
      And as for Ferrari actually wanting him, what makes you think they would go for Ricciardo over available highly rated drivers like Nico Hulkenberg, or Ferrari young driver program guy Jules Bianchi? Or even Kobayashi for that matter. And there is the matter of Ferrari being not unlikely to stay with their current line-up for another year

      Being Italian is not of any advantage for Ferrari, it might even be deemed a bit of a disadvantage (they really do not need more popularity in Italy, how much higher can they actually go?)

  23. Just a couple of points: 1. Regarding Ricciardo and his points. If STR had not made an awful hash of his Silverstone race, Riccardo would have come in 5th, or possibly 4th. That, coupled with his qualifying was obvious to RBR. 2. If you think RBR don’t make errors, think again. Cast your mind back to two lost wheels this year for Webber and a couple of times running out of fuel in Qualifying, if memory serves, once for Vettel and once for Webber. There is no doubt that RBR are the slickest in the paddock and Vettel does seem to have incredible luck with reliability, but as a number 2 to Vettel, I don’t think you would receive the same level as priority at RBR.

Comments are closed.