Grosjean is top choice for 2015 seat at Lotus

2015 F1 season

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Romain Grosjean remains Lotus’s favoured candidate for the second seat at the team next year despite Esteban Ocon’s impressive test performance this week.

With Pastor Maldonado already confirmed at the team for next season, Lotus have one place to fill in their driver line-up.

“Romain is in pole position for that place,” said deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi, “honestly it’s a case of us finalising a few details”.

“We expect to have an announcement very shortly,” he added.

Grosjean, who strongly criticisd the team’s Renault engines in Singapore, says he is eager to try to the Mercedes power units they will use in 2015.

“This is something we’ve known about internally for quite some time and I know the engineering department are very excited,” he said. “For myself I can’t wait to get to testing next season as that’s when we’ll know if next year’s car is any good.”

Gastaldi indicated the team intend to continue promoting Ocon’s progress towards F1. “We have a rich heritage of giving young talent a chance at Enstone, like Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso and Romain,” he said.

Gastaldi added Ocon’s European F3 championship triumph was more impressive “when you consider the calibre of his opposition in Max Verstappen“.

“We recognised Esteban’s feat by ensuring he got his first taste of an F1 car at Valencia this week, where he impressed everyone with his application and attitude,” he added. “We are looking forward to working with him as he climbs his way up to the top.”

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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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26 comments on “Grosjean is top choice for 2015 seat at Lotus”

  1. You know, call me crazy but…Lotus feels like they’re due for an upswing soon. If they retain Grosjean and Maldonado, they still have two very quick and capable (if a little ragged) drivers that can win races, with the right car underneath them. The Mercedes-Benz powerplant should provide more grunt to the E23, the important thing for them is that the chassis it’s built upon is improved. And even if Grosjean and/or Maldonado don’t work out next year, they now have a future star in the wings in Esteban Ocon, currently a Lotus junior talent, possibly a future Mercedes-Benz junior talent – and that alliance between Lotus and Merc could help fast-track Ocon to a drive in 2016 coupled with a solid FR3.5 or GP2 campaign.

    1. @rjoconnell Upswing. Williams also had Pastor when they had their 2 worst seasons in history but still their accounts were okay. There’s a connection here, the PDVSA money is keeping this team afloat and who knows if indeed as you say they won’t make another run for the championship as a couple years back.

    2. Agreed. I can see Ocon becoming a Mercedes junior driver and them placing him in Lotus for FP1s next season and possibly a race seat for 2016 (although I had predicted he’d get a seat next year but Grosjean looks odds on now).

      As you say they still have two quick drivers (despite Maldonado’s reputation), and they will be running the envious combination of a Mercedes engine fuelled by Petronas. I can see them ‘doing a Williams’, at least returning to be regular points-scorers.

      1. “Fuelled by Petronas” that would seem to conflict with their (Pastors) major sponsorship income provided by PDV.

  2. I hope this is the case. I think Grosjean hasn’t gotten the results he deserves. Hopefully he stays at Lotus, and they’re able to give him a car capable of finishing in the top5 next year. Lotus has lost alot of brain-power lately, but im sure the switch to Mercedes will be motivating, and hopefully bring results.

  3. That line about Michael Schumacher will make steam come out of Eddie Jordan’s ears…

    1. Hahahahahha.. COTD

    2. They gave him his chance, even if it wasn’t his first… And Alonso didn’t get his immediately either.

  4. i’m still hoping he ends up at mclaren-honda and i’m not giving up until either team confirm their drivers.

    1. Why on earth would McLaren even remotely consider Grosjean, when they have Button & Magnussen available?

      1. because boullier is grosjeans manager (or at least he was) and grosjean is a good driver. i think he’d be better than button.

  5. Ocon should be promoted to GP2 and have some FP1 time. That kid is on the same level as Verstapen.

    1. He did a small sample of FR3.5 with Comtec, who aren’t exactly a powerhouse of engineering setups like DAMS/Fortec yet he still got some good results with what he had. I expect him to come back for a full season with a top team.

      1. Hopefully at DAMS alongside Nyck de Vyres or at Fortec with Oliver Rowland (that’s only if Sauber want Sirotken next year

  6. I find it amazing that Lotus are saying Grosjean is in “pole position” for the seat instead of in line for the seat; is there any doubt over his place? I know Ocon was impressive, I know Grosjean has perhaps not got the best out of an undeniably tricky car in 2014, and I know an inevitable management reshuffle at Total has the potential to put a question mark above Romain’s budget, but this is the same man that twelve months ago Gerard Lopez called one of the “top three” fastest drivers in F1! Yes, the 2013 love in between Romain and Lotus has been soured by a poor season, a loss of brain power at Enstone, a poor Renault V6 and an even poorer E22, but surely this deal should be a formality for a driver that entered the season as Enstone’s favourite son?

    1. I think the fact that with Renault going Romain can no longer bring backing through Total to the team(with or without the death of the boss), so Lotus, a team with not too much money, are going to have to employ him on merit, rather like Hulkenberg at Force India. Obviously if Bernie wasn’t a money grabber these two GP2 champions’ seats in F1 would be a formality, but I imagine Lotus are going to have to pay Grosjean if they want to keep him, and this could cause issues. A sorry state of affairs…

      1. @jmc200 Conversely though, where will Grosjean go? No one else is open except for maybe Sauber, Marussia, and Caterham if they’re still around. I don’t picture Mclaren seriously looking at Grosjean unless Seb AND Alonso are at Ferrari somehow.

      2. @jmc200 – The points you makes are slightly odd. Firstly, although Lotus will have to use Petronas fuel, Grosjean’s financial and commercial sponsorship with Total will likely still apply to Lotus they just won’t be receiving barrels of fuel from them. It is not uncommon for team to use brands of automotive products that they don’t actually use, so for example don’t for a moment think that the incredible Mercedes V6 has ever come into to contact with Syntium oil, despite the fact that they are an “official partner” and have “developed their products in associated with the Mercedes F1 Team”; Brixworth designed their own oil. Also Vandoorne brings Total sponsorship to a McLaren team fueled by Petronas.

        Also, as @beejis60 says, where is Grosjean going to escape to? The only scenario in which Grosjeans leaves Enstone with anything other than a P45 in his hand is if Alonso and Vettel end up at Ferrari and if in a sudden bout of amnesia Ron forgets Button’s recent form and fires him. I’m not going to be betting on that one.

        1. Good point, but I’ve never seen it with Total before, they’ve only ever sponsored Renault teams, that’s what I based my assumption on.

        2. Mclaren and Force India use Mobile1 fuel. This can explain the relative lack of pace between them and Mercedes and Williams.

          1. Not true, Mobil 1 makes engine lubricants, like Syntium, not fuel. All Mercedes engined cars use Petronas fuel but they are only commercially linked with the works team, which is why Lotus should be able maintain their Total links.

  7. Well something I would not have said 2 years ago, but I think Grosjean deserves a better/bigger team…..

  8. I can see Lotus at least being more towards the front of the midfield next season. Maldonado has shown improvement as the season has gone on and Grosjean dragged 8 points out of that car when realistically it shouldn’t have delivered that, and they have Mercedes engines next year. It sounds promising on paper.

  9. If that’s the case, their sponsor shouldn’t be posting things like this:

    1. Ha, bold move by Burn.

  10. I have to say I’ve never really liked Lotus, but the team really Grosjean you… high five anyone?

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