No team orders at Lotus in Korea, says Boullier

2013 Korean Grand Prix

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Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Korea International Circuit, 2013Lotus said they allowed Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean to race for position during the Korean Grand Prix and did not impose team orders.

Team principal Eric Boullier said Grosjean wanted the team to instruct Raikkonen to let him past after being passed by his team mate on lap 38.

Several radio messages between Grosjean, race engineer Ayao Komatsu and Boullier were played during the race.

“You have to remember that the television feed only takes certain edits from radio transmissions between the driver and the pit wall,” said Boullier.

“We had Romain asking for Kimi to let him by as he felt he was faster, but we wanted to leave the drivers to determine their positions by racing on track which is why we were telling Romain to race Kimi.

“As we know, Kimi doesn?t want to talk too much to the pit wall and doesn?t need words of encouragement; he knows what he?s doing and we saw that once more in Korea.”

Boullier eventually told Grosjean on the radio to “keep racing like it is”.

The team has previously ordered Grosjean to let Raikkonen past at Silverstone and the Nurburgring this year. “The team?s philosophy is always to let us race unless we?re on very different strategies where one driver could hold up the other,” said Grosjean, “and this is the right approach”.

“Obviously we?re both competitive, but our racing has always been fair. I made a mistake in Korea which is why he got past, but this is not something I want to happen again.”

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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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    22 comments on “No team orders at Lotus in Korea, says Boullier”

    1. I hope Lotus can regain 2nd in WCC. What a story that would be…..triumphed against those with more bucks in their pocket.

      Keep up the good works.

    2. That’s the main difference between Raikkonen and Grosjean: Grosjean may be faster on one lap, but he lacks racecraft, which has Raikkonen. Sunday’s race just shows that – Raikkonen just “smelt blood” and maximised his opportunity by making superb move even though Grosjean was pushing him to the left side a bit too much.

      1. kimi was struggling with the new pirelli tire. And broken front wing in Q3 of korean gp didn’t help. Lets hope they found the right setup for the tire.

        1. Funny and sad, that F1 has gone from right setup for driver to right setup for tyre. They should just have drivers with a stick and one tyre and they push it around the track.

          It’s been a whole season now and apart from maybe one or two teams everyone is struggling with tyres. The tyres fiasco should’ve been sorted out by now. But redoing the entire car setup race after race to get the tyres working (which will then work either during qualifying or on race day or none) is just a waste of resources. I dont think “right setup for the tire” is the way to go, atleast for F1.

          1. @hatebreeder, and while all this is going on Bernie and the FIA are piously castigating the teams for wasting money.

    3. I can’t wait for Keith’s team radio transcript

      1. I bet it will be hilarious!

    4. I agree with Bouliier. There was nothing strategic here. They were racing for position and Romain had made a mistake. There was no reason to let him back past unless he could do it himself

    5. “The team’s philosophy is always to let us race unless we’re on very different strategies where one driver could hold up the other,” said Grosjean, “and this is the right approach”.

      Ah ok, that explains the incident at the Nürbrugring, but it still doesn’t explain the British GP, as they were on similar strategies before the safety car came out on lap. And it doesn’t explain Singapore 2012 either, when Grosjean was asked to move over on lap 46 despite the pair being on the exact same strategy.

      So basically, we can say that there are no team orders under the following two conditions:
      1) the drivers are on the same strategy;
      2) the number one driver would benefit from team orders.

      Nice PR talk, Lotus. So when it comes to team orders they are about as awful as Ferrari, but at least Ferrari doesn’t lie about it (anymore).

      1. […] the safety car came out on lap.

        lap 15

        1. In silverstone, Kimi was ahead of Fernando and Romain. Fernando pitted, Lotus didn’t cover kimi by making him stay out. Instead they pitted Romain. When kimi came out, he was furious because both fernando and romain was ahead. Kimi closed the gap to Romain very fast, and the team could see that Kimi was on another league to Romain in term of pace, and they also felt stupid to make king lose places to fernando, hence the TO.

      2. I believe you missed the second criteria “where one driver could hold up the other”. Grosjean was not even near to DRS range. Also in British GP they were running different strategies, Kimi for WDC, and Grosjean for supplementary. Sorry about that!

      3. @andae23
        In Singapore 2012 Lotus used team orders to help Räikkönen, who couldn’t have overtaken Romain otherwise. However, at the time Räikkönen was still fighting for the championship and Romain wasn’t.

        In other races where Lotus has used team orders, it has been under certain conditions:
        1) Driver A has a chance to catch the leader and win
        2) Driver A has better pace and will eventually overtake Driver B anyway and thus Driver B won’t benefit from holding the other driver.

        This clearly wasn’t the situation in Korea, because Grosjean couldn’t overtake Kimi on his own. And yes, it’s true that Räikkönen has been the ‘Driver A’ every time Lotus has used team orders, but Grosjean has never put himself in a position in which he had been the ‘Driver A’.

        Obviously this is PR talk from Boullier, at times they have used team orders. But claiming that Lotus has a number one driver isn’t true. Why would Lotus favor Räikkönen now anyway? He’s not fighting for the championship anymore and he’s leaving the team at the end of the year.

        1. @hotbottoms Indeed it would be quite silly to favour Raikkonen now. I guess Korea was the first time for them they would actually take a step back and let their guys brawl it out on track, simply because there is nothing to win or loose for them now. Wrap that up into a nice PR story, i.e. that you’ve always worked like that, and everything works out fine.

          But I do think that they have used team orders in the past to favour one of their drivers over the other, most blatantly Singapore last year, when Raikkonen was still more or less in the hunt for the title (so they based it on championship standings rather than race performance). That doesn’t imply that I think Raikkonen is per definition Lotus’ number one driver, like Alonso at Ferrari.

      4. @andae23 I think it’s because at those points, Raikkonen was still with a chance at the World Championship and Romain, while still mathematically in it in Silverstone, was quite clearly not the safest bet for the crown – and quite frankly, to me this is about the only situation where team orders are understandable.

        1. In Silverstone and actually in Germany Lotus made a mistake with Kimi’s strategy he was ahead of Grosjean both times but they pitted Kimi at the wrong time which resulted in him lose places, which is why he ended up behind Grosjean to begin with, if they just used the right strategy for Kimi, then they wouldn’t have needed team orders for those two races.

    6. Boullier: “… he knows what he’s doing.”

      I guess that’s fixed for eternity now.

      1. Exactly my thoughts! This is going to haunt him until his final days.

    7. I think Lotus was just afraid of asking Kimi to back off, they knew he wouldn’t listen so they didn’t even consider doing it.

      1. Exactly:
        Lotus: “Kimi, Romain is faster than you.”
        Kimi: “What?! Who?! Just leave me alone, I know what I’m doing!!!”

      2. Exactly! Can you imagine the PR nitemare Lotus would have had on their hands if they had even tried to tell Kimi to move over just like they did when they tweeted the mating rabbits.
        Fact is Kimi knew the yellow would be coming out & would not have DRS he saw an opening and took full advantage of the situation & was long gone. That is talent & intelligence. Too bad Lotus did fit think to reward that guy by paying him.

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