Lotus rehires staff for 2015 push

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In the round-up: Lotus has rehired staff for 2015 after cutting back on their numbers last year.


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Lotus says it is financially sound now (Autosport)

"We possibly laid off a few too many so, during the course of the year, we got people back to the design office and aero office."

Jolyon Palmer Q&A: I have to seize Lotus chance (F1)

"I beat (Felipe Nasr) last year, he has got a seat this year - there's nothing I can do about that. Some people get different opportunities, but I don't think about what other people can or can't do too much."

Where to Buy Gasoline for $0.002 a Gallon, Seriously (Bloomberg)

The Venezuelan government has poured money into motor racing in recent years but trimmed back its support recently with a significant exception - Pastor Maldonado. However as this article shows plummeting oil prices are a major problem for the country.


Comment of the day

In this week’s poll we’re picking the next best 18 drivers outside of F1 – but as @Scalextric points out this highlights a significant shortcoming with grand prix racing at the moment:

Only 18 drivers in F1? That’s a problem.

The grid needs more cars in my opinion, which means more teams, in an ideal situation. That means more money is needed for small teams and if that doesn’t come in an adequate supply from FOM, it has to come from sponsors who are often tied to drivers. So that’s why drivers are unfortunately not simply assessed on talent alone.

The best driver for a small team may be one that brings enough money to allow the team to exist, but then if they’re not among the most talented, the team is guaranteed to stay at the back of the pack.

Join in the debate and vote for your top 18 drivers here:

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Shelley Lee, Tnfox and David Clifford!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Rene Arnoux took his first F1 win in the second round of the 1980 season 35 years ago today. Elio de Angelis was second for Lotus ahead of points leader Alan Jones.

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...

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32 comments on “Lotus rehires staff for 2015 push”

  1. Looks like Lotus knows they messed it up “reducing costs” and now they have to spend if they want to revert and improve respect from their terrible 2014 campaign.

    1. So, basically Williams circa. 12 months ago…

    2. In the perfect world, nobody can get profits without investment. I wish them the best.

  2. Does Palmer keep on forgetting Nasr beat him when they were teammates in 2013, despite not winning a race?

    1. But on the other hand he did win races.

  3. On the 1980 Brazillian GP highlights, on 4:47 Murray says that Piquet is a 2 time world champion….guess Murray could see 3 years into the future then..

    1. What a guy? The only man capable of interrupting himself while talking! You got to love him :-)

      1. Haha, I like the phrase! Good old Murray.

    2. @jaymenon10 As Boomerang so amusingly pointed out it sounds like Murray was going to say something about compatriot Emerson Fittipaldi but interrupted himself due to the pass :)

  4. “Today, at the #MTC, we fired up the McLaren-Honda MP4-30 for the very first time. #MakeHistory”

    Promptly followed by a chorus of coughing and spluttering and subsequent engine shutdown… While I do not wish ill against any team nor new endeavours, I still can’t shake this nervous feeling I have that Honda are 1 year behind the rest of the pack.

    1. Don’t know why, but I’ve got the same feeling. Let’s hope for the best.

    2. @dragoll Well, we know their engine architecture is ‘right’ (see: a cloned Merc.), so they’re in a better position performance-wise than Renault and Ferrari were at this point last year.

      1. @optimaximal while Merc’s architecture was deemed to be better, its not to say that it was wrong architecture which caused the issues at renault. In fact, if I recall correctly, it was software issues with feeding in the right amount of fuel/kinetic energy to make the turbo work.

      2. I’d say that point about the engine architecture’s a very simplistic view. Sure, Ferrari and Renault got that part wrong, and having to correct that error is going to hurt them. But that doesn’t mean that getting this part right automatically means you’re fine. There’s an awful lot more that can go wrong, and we’re only pointing at that particular element because Ferrari and Renault have made the same error of judgement, unlike Mercedes. Honda might find different ways of screwing up.

        1. To be fair, the comment reads “than Renault and Ferrari were at this point last year“.

          1. Point taken.
            That notwithstanding, I think the engine architecture will only play a very minor role in Honda’s relative performance. Their botched Abu Dhabi test has shown how difficult it is to get an engine that works fine on the dyno to run on the track.

          2. But @nase Red Bull likewise were DEEP in it at last year’s tests and then they fixed the breakages and pretty quickly it was the architecture holding them back. Programming isn’t restricted, don’t forget, and reliability upgrades are allowed too. Honda having the Merc turbo means they’ll have scope to catch right up, all year. It’s key.

    3. I don’t see Honda a year behind, I see them having learned a LOT from 2014. They have the Merc turbo solution with all its advantages, they know cooling is key, log exhausts, all kinds of basic building blocks that the others had to learn the hard way.

      They’ve had a free hand with infinite tokens, huge resources, why wouldn’t the PU be spot on? They seem to have cracked the turbo driveshaft challenge already.

      Most likely they’ll have some teething troubles like they had in Abu Dhabi, which were a bad sign about their processes perhaps, but even last year reliability for these engines was a lot better than many feared. My money is on Honda being the second-best this year. Not a lot of money, fair enough…

      1. I expect to see a lot of problems due to learning the operational side of things. Building a good engine is fairly black and white, but running it and learning its operational characteristics takes time that you can’t easily short-cut. I can’t think of anything in particular, maybe warm-up procedure or engine priming or installation methods. For example, I read once about a race engine frequently blowing gaskets. The engine builder told the mechanics to try re-torqueing all the bolts and studs and what-have-you after the engine had warmed. That might sound a little lo-tech, but engineering can occasionally seem like animal husbandry, I guess.

  5. Wow! everything about the 1980 race is cool. Dangerous fast looking cars, dangerous fast track . Would have made me want to buy a Renault Fuego Turbo !

    1. …right up until the point the turbo caught fire and scorched the bonnet (this was a thing that happened!)

      1. Fuego being quite an unfortunate name… :)

  6. Well Palmer has got to do something pretty special, not just be in the same ball park as the qualifying Renaults, he needs to embarrass Maldonado and get Grosjean thinking hard. If he thinks he can just do a Di Resta and get his mates to talk him up on TV then hes already finished.

    I hope he gets a seat and I think with the oil prices plummeting, Maldonado’s 30 million sweetener may disappear, quickly followed by him (well not that quickly or he’ll spin off). If that happens Palmer should get the drive, then there are no excuses.

    Fingers crossed, we need some new blood, Lewis is 30 now and Jenson is the luckiest man in the paddock to get 2 more years. If we’re not careful we are going to suddenly find ourselves (GB) without a driver on the grid.

    1. @antonyob – Damon Hill was 36 when he won the F1 driver’s championship with Williams. He raced until he was 39. He didn’t get into F1 until he was 32!

      Alonso, Button and Hamilton are not “old”. They could easily have another five to ten years each.

      But would we want them to stay that long?

      1. Damon Hill was 32 odd when he got in, good point, even hotshots didn’t get until they were 23/24 and then they often had to do a year or 3 in the lower teams. Its a different era with 17 year olds coming straight in to teams who can finish top 6.

        Id be staggered if Alonso, Button & Lewis were still racing in 10 years.

        1. Ryan Fairweather
          27th January 2015, 11:06

          Alonso wont give up until he has a third title, its eating him away inside.

      2. Yes, and that as in 1996, almost 20 years ago. Nowadays Raikkonen, Alonso and Button are the old drivers of F1, and they are very far away from age 40, but performance does deteriorate with age.

      3. Agreed. I reckon many drivers on the grid could remain at the top into their late 30s. I think motivation would be more of a factor as the years go on than performance loss. A driver’s peak years could be in their 30s.

        Just to add, I’d expect Alonso to still be in F1 in 2017ish, Button 2016ish and Hamilton 2021ish.

        And on Palmer, I don’t see him landing an F1 seat in the future. He’s another Valsecchi.

        1. Depends on the driver, how much he is paid, who comes through, what teams survive/change. So all supposition and fairly meaningless. Also see comment re Valsecchi, what does that even mean?

          1. @antonyob, I would assume that it is a reference to the fact that many feel Palmer’s success in GP2 owed more to his experience in that series rather than outright talent.

            Valsecchi spent nearly five seasons on GP2, where his final finishing position was 15th, 17th, 8th, 8th and 1st. Palmer, meanwhile, has competed in four seasons in GP2, where he was 28th, 11th, 7th and 1st.

            Both of those drivers also managed to be beaten by less experienced and less highly regarded drivers as well. For example, people mock Ericsson and say that he is unfit to compete in F1, but Palmer was beaten in both 2011 and 2012 by Ericsson.

            It’s one of those things where, overall, he has not really shown any spark of promise until his sudden championship win, which really runs against his form in other junior series – in that sense it is similar to Valsecchi, who has a fairly uninspiring career prior to his sudden success in GP2.

  7. I can’t believe. As I see Lotus team has a lot of big words everytime.

  8. Thanks for COTD, Keith.

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