Lotus quietly confident about 2012 car
After step noses and clever exhausts, the latest buzzword in the Jerez paddock is ‘Lotus’.
“I am one of the happiest guys in the world right now,” said Romain Grosjean on Thursday after easily outpacing Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.
The reigning GP2 champion was also quicker than the 2012 McLaren, steered for the first time on Thursday by Lewis Hamilton.
Drawing conclusions based on test results is an unreliable practice, but the body language in the Lotus garage so far is confident.
“For the first test it looks good,” team boss Eric Boullier admitted to Finnish broadcaster MTV3, “but still you can’t really speculate on anything.
“Between here and Melbourne, all the cars will change a lot.
“It is true that today we have a good car, we are able to drive a lot of laps and that is why we are at the front,” he added.
After watching the action trackside from a corner, Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg told Auto Motor und Sport that the E20 is “a missile with an incredible amount of grip”.
“The Red Bull and the Lotus make the best impression,” agreed 1982 world champion Keke Rosberg, who is also at Jerez.
Hamilton described Grosjean’s best time – 1.18.4 – as “good”, while Red Bull’s Webber wanted to know what compound of Pirelli tyre was fitted to the Lotus.
Told it was the medium, the Australian admitted: “Then it was a very good lap.”
Grosjean smiled: “The car is easy to drive and predictable everywhere, especially in the fast corners, and when you go over the limit it is easy to get back.”
Said Webber: “If Grosjean can do those laptimes then we will all have to watch Kimi (Raikkonen).”
Alonso is Already Expecting the Battles with Raikkonen
Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso is already waiting to face Kimi Raikkonen on track.
- "I’m happy that Kimi has returned because he’s a spectacular driver and a great personality. It will good to battle with him again. To get him back on the starting grid is good for the sport, the fans, us drivers, the teams and sponsors. I only see good aspects in it but it remains to be seen how fast his car is", Alonso said to MTV3 on the eve of the last test day in Jerez.
Kimi Raikkonen is adamant Lotus can build a winning F1 car
Kimi Raikkonen is adamant Lotus is capable of building a winning car, as the team unveiled its 2012 challenger to the public on Sunday.
The Finn, the 2007 world champion with Ferrari, is returning to grand prix racing with Lotus after having left the sport at the end of 2009 to compete in the World Rally Championship.
Lotus, racing under the Renault name until last year, won its last race in the 2008 season with Fernando Alonso and has struggled to be competitive since.
Raikkonen is confident, however, that the team has what it takes to return to winning ways.
"I think these people know how to build a good car, and even the biggest teams cannot produce a winning car every year," said Raikkonen during the launch of the E20.
"They are very capable people and they have a good feeling about things and they’re pushing hard so hopefully we will get good results."
The former world champion said he is not nervous about his return to racing despite an absence of over two years.
"Not really," said Raikkonen, who drove a two-year-old car last month in preparation for his return. "It will be something slightly different to what it used to be when I was in Formula 1 before – with a different team and different regulations, but everybody’s different. For some people it’s more difficult to get used to new stuff.
"And it depends a lot on the car – if you have a good car it makes your life easier than if you have an average car. I was pretty happy after the first test we did two weeks ago. It felt pretty normal already.
"I think it will be okay but before the first race it’s really difficult to say still. We’ll wait and see but I’m happy with how everything is going."
Raikkonen will be partnered by GP2 champion Romain Grosjean, who is making a comeback to Formula 1 after a short stint with the team in 2009.
The Frenchman says he is feeling upbeat ahead of his first full season with the team.
"2011 was a fantastic season for myself with the GP2 title and the Friday morning in the car and all the time at the track with the team as the third driver," Grosjean said. "I’m feeling quite good for the season. I’m very proud to be chosen as one of the drivers.
"So far I’ve a little bit more knowledge about the Pirelli tyres but I think I will be able to get a lot from him. We need to work to bring the team as far forward as possible, which is our main goal. I’m very happy to be alongside him.
"We are all expecting a lot from this year. I’ve seen the car almost from the beginning to the end of the building, and we’re all expectant to see the car on track and after the first four days of testing we will have a good idea of how the season will be."
Lotus co-owner Gerard Lopez says fourth in championship is realistic 2012 goal
Lotus team co-owner Gerard Lopez believes getting back into the top four in the Formula 1 constructors’ championship is a realistic initial step for the squad in 2012.
The Enstone-based team was fifth in the standings for the past two years under its former Renault guise, having slumped to eighth in 2009. Prior to that, it had been in the top four for seven straight seasons, winning the ’05 and ’06 titles.
The team had high hopes for last year, but its radical exhaust concept did not work and lead driver Robert Kubica suffered horrific injuries in a pre-season rally crash.
Lopez said he hoped the team could make up for the false start of 2011 and start making progress with the E20, which will be driven by F1 returnees Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.
"The hopes are to be able to get one season together and do what we were expecting last year," he said.
"We hope to have a strong car, and have strong drivers, one of which is of course an ex-world champion. We hope to bring the car up to the front of the pack and probably try to aim for fourth as a reasonable goal for this season."
The car is the first from the Enstone team to bear the full Lotus name after the end of the dispute over the use of the brand in F1.
"We’re obviously extremely proud that finally the Lotus name is a clear concept for everybody in Formula 1 now," Lopez added.
A word that has not frequently been used to describe Kimi’s appearances in press conferences, interviews, etc.
The Finn has won the Belgian Grand Prix more than any other race – with a total of four victories from his last five visits to the ultimate driver’s circuit, Spa.
Kimi made his F1 bow testing a Sauber in 2000 at Italy’s Mugello circuit. The only other driver on track, Michael Schumacher, saw enough to correctly declare him a future champion (see O).
On 31 July 2004 Kimi Matias Raikkonen married Jenni Dahlman, a Finnish model and former Miss Scandinavia.
Kimi has a total of 18 grand prix victories from his Formula 1 career so far. The first came at Sepang in 2003, the most recent at Spa in 2009 (see L).
Kimi has an enviable total of 35 fastest laps, which places him third on the all-time list behind only Michael Schumacher (76) and Alain Prost (41).
after two seasons in the WRC, Kimi’s going to need to work on his neck to withstand F1’s cornering forces.
Home of Kimi’s first Formula 1 team, Sauber.
The Finn has the word Iceman emblazoned on his crash helmet. He’s cool, you see…
Another F1 world champion who has apparently offered Kimi both inspiration and a pseudonym for races in both snowmobiles and powerboats.
Kimi owned his first kart when he was eight years old. He started competing in 1988 and went on to take the Nordic Championship a decade later.
The Finn produced perhaps his greatest victory at Suzuka in 2005 from 17th on the grid, storming through the field to pass Giancarlo Fisichella on lap 53 of 53.
Kimi founded his own Motocross World Championship team, Ice 1 Racing.
Kimi has also ventured into racing in the United States, making his debut in the Camping World Truck Series last year (see X).
This was the margin by which Kimi took the 2007 F1 world championship ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.
Kimi has taken a total of 16 F1 pole positions, the latest at Magny-Cours in 2008.
Anything HRH can do… In 2008 Kimi appeared on a set of Finnish postage stamps.
Most of Kimi’s pre-F1 experience came in Formula Renault. He won the 2000 title with seven wins and ten podiums from ten races.
The Iceman is fond of anything freezing and white – with snowmobiles, snowboards and ice hockey among his favourite pastimes.
Kimi famously only had a total of 23 car races in his life before he made his F1. He won 13 of them…
No-one else dresses quite like Kimi in F1.
Winning the 2007 World Championship.
Kimi has a total of 59 points from his time in the World Rally Championship. He also has a stage victory to his name from the 2010 Rallye Deutschland.
We learned from Kimi’s NASCAR pit-to-car radio conversations that we should make sure he has enough in his drinks bottle…
Kimi is a big fan of yachting.
At his first F1 race at Melbourne in 2001, Kimi surprised all by being cool enough to have a nap half an hour before going to the grid. He went on to score a point for 6th place and the Iceman was born.
Kimi Räikkönen’s Q&A
I think we’ll have a lot of fun in the season ahead and hopefully we will get some good results. I want a strong enough car to challenge for good results.
The 2007 Formula 1 World champion talks of his return to the sport with the lotus F1 Team after two years away in the forests and stages of the World Rally championship
Formula 1 is something very special in my racing career, and you always want to race at the toughest level, so Formula 1 is where you want to race if you have a choice.
What do you think of the team now you’ve completed two days testing?
I’m happy with the team, they are very nice people, very easy going and it was nice to work with them for the two days I did in the R30. I think we’ll have a lot of fun in the season ahead and hopefully we will get some good results. I want a strong enough car to challenge for good results.
When did you decide to finish rallying and to go back to Formula 1?
When I did the NASCAR races, I enjoyed the racing and I want to do more racing. I still want to do rally and if I could I’d do them both at the same time – but this isn’t possible. For sure I will do rallying again in the future. I want to do racing as I had a really good time in NASCAR racing against other people and I realised that I was missing this – that’s when I decided that if there was a good chance to return properly that I would do it.
What are your thoughts on how F1 has changed since you last competed?
In 2010 I didn’t really follow Formula 1 but I saw more races last year. It doesn’t really look different, but there is overtaking in some different places where people can just drive past by opening the rear wing and the driver in front has no chance to defend himself – so is this really overtaking? I don’t think it counts all the time. But for sure the show is better. The tyres make a difference too, as there is a big speed difference between when the tyres are new and when the tyres are old. In the old Formula 1, you had to be so much faster than the guy in front of you to have any chance to overtake, but now with the tyres and the DRS, it’s different.
Do you have anything to prove with your return?
I think people expect things from me, but as long as I know that I’m giving 100% and I’m happy with my driving then I’m happy. If those aspects are true and it’s not enough, then it’s not enough.
How well do you know your new team-mate, Romain Grosjean?
I think we will have a good relationship. I met him before Christmas and I raced against him in 2009. He seems a very nice and normal guy, so I don’t see any problems there.
Da Autosprint n.5 del 31/01/2012
Altre foto: twitter.com/#!/Lotus_F1Team
Da Iltalehti 27.1.2012 (paper edition), traduzione Wolfie@ f1coffee.phpbb.fi
Wild and free
Kimi Räikkönen won’t ask for permission to drink alcohol
1. Kimi, what’s on your mind? 2. What do you expect from the next tests? 3. What kind of season would you yourself be satisfied with? 4. You are used to really big teams during your F1-career. Does it show in the operation of Lotus that it’s slightly smaller than McLaren and Ferrari? 5. During the last months a few motorbikers have passed away due to an accident. Does a professional driver think more about the sport’s dangers and risks when hearing these kinds of news? 6. You have already won your WDC in Ferrari. From where do you get motivation to continue? 7. You have always been an excellent track-racer, but your attitude towards the media has been a bit questionable. On the scale from 1 to 10, how much do you hate these kinds of media-days? 8. Has Jenni already healed from her riding accident? 9. You have probably without any cause been in the publicity because of alcohol. What is your relation to alcohol now? 10. Do you think that you have changed during the years? 11. In public there is also the understanding that this Lotus-deal would only be a step to Red Bull in either 2013 or 2014. Is it correct? 12. Do you have a two-year deal?
- Nothing. Ask something for God’s sake since you have come all the way here.
- Difficult to say. We’ll see then what the new car is like. I don’t think that it’s terribly different. I don’t know about the tyres. They say that they have changed a bit.
- I haven’t really thought anything concrete. I see in the tests what the car is like and how good it is. That decides. How it feels, that’s a thing you notice right from the first test. At least I have noticed it immediately earlier.
- No, it’s just the same. We have all the same equipment here and hence we also have a chance to make a good car. The same gang who earlier won championships is still here. And physically the team is located in the same place. Maybe it’s smaller in the sense that Lotus doesn’t have a car factory behind them like Mercedes or Ferrari had.
- Those are never nice news no matter if you know them or not or if they even are from your own genre’s circle. Those just happen. Sadly it’s part of many other sports too. Of course anything can happen and happens. Sad things but part of life.
- I have never had any problems with motivation, although everybody always colors things. I have always liked to race. Back in the time there were quite many factors why I started to rally. Now I got a reasonably good chance to drive in F1. I get to race against others again. I guess that’s the biggest reason.
- I don’t hate them but they always ask the same questions. They won’t change to anything else. If I could decide I wouldn’t come here. It’s definitely not the first thing that comes to my mind when waking up or something that I would be excited over. But I think it’s the same for everyone else too. They probably would rather drive than do other things. If someone claims that they like these things, then I guess he is lying. Of course driving is always the number one thing. I don’t have anything against these. Maybe they have made the matter a bit too big.
- She is better now. She is still in pain but that’s normal. It wasn’t any serious matter.
- It’s just the same as it was before. If I want to go out and have fun, I go. I don’t have any problem with it. Nobody forbids me and I don’t have to ask anyone for permission.
- I’m sure every person changes, but I don’t think anything bigger has happened in me.
- I don’t have any plans. Lets see how this goes. In F1 everything can change reasonably fast. I hope that we can have fun with the team. At least I have had fun so far.
- Yeah, in principle.
1. Kimi, what’s on your mind?
2. What do you expect from the next tests?
3. What kind of season would you yourself be satisfied with?
4. You are used to really big teams during your F1-career. Does it show in the operation of Lotus that it’s slightly smaller than McLaren and Ferrari?
5. During the last months a few motorbikers have passed away due to an accident. Does a professional driver think more about the sport’s dangers and risks when hearing these kinds of news?
6. You have already won your WDC in Ferrari. From where do you get motivation to continue?
7. You have always been an excellent track-racer, but your attitude towards the media has been a bit questionable. On the scale from 1 to 10, how much do you hate these kinds of media-days?
8. Has Jenni already healed from her riding accident?
9. You have probably without any cause been in the publicity because of alcohol. What is your relation to alcohol now?
10. Do you think that you have changed during the years?
11. In public there is also the understanding that this Lotus-deal would only be a step to Red Bull in either 2013 or 2014. Is it correct?
12. Do you have a two-year deal?
Kimi è tornato: a pettinare le bambole?
Altro ruuullloooo di tamburi.
Oggi il Santo Bevitore conclude il suo Come Back sulla pista valenciana.
Che sia tornato a pettinare le bambole?
Comunque, visto che l’argomento interessa a tanti, in primis ad Abramo Nuestro Maximo Lider, ecco un po’ di insider trading.
1) Al Biondino è arrivato, domenica sera, un sms di auguri. Mittente: Fernando Alonso.
2) Al Biondino era arrivata anche una telefonata del Dom.
3) Raikkonen ha detto agli ingegneri della Lotus ex Renault che la cosa più importante, per lui, è riuscire a girare molto con tanta benzina a bordo. Fino a fine 2009, la F1 ammetteva i rifornimenti, dunque si deve adattare ad uno stile di guida necessariamente differente.
4) Ad amici comuni finlandesi, il Santo Bevitore ha spiegato che la sua nuova carriera in F1 ‘durerà almeno cinque stagioni’.
5) Kimi ha accennato anche alle sue prospettive di medio termine. Vuole sfruttare l’esperienza con la Lotus per far capire ai top team (ovviamente, Ferrari esclusa) che prossimamente cambieranno almeno un pilota che, sì, insomma, lui c’è ancora, all’insegna di ‘meglio l’usato sicuro di una novità farlocca’.
6) Il Biondino ragionevolmente pensa che per la Lotus sarebbe un ottimo risultato collocare la macchina, a fine campionato, tra i 5 Top Team.
7) Mia nipote, sempre la stessa, quella che ignora persino l’esistenza di Alonso e della intera Formula Uno, ha sollevato un delicato quesito, che in breve riassumo. Ma perché questo signor Born To Be Abramo ce l’ha tanto con uno sconosciuto come questo signor Raikkonen? Ha forse paura di qualcosa?
8) Ah, l’innocenza dei bambini…
Kimi Raikkonen ‘very positive’ after F1 comeback test with Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen said he was feeling ‘very positive’ after concluding a two-day test at the Valencia circuit on Tuesday.
The 2007 world champion returned to the cockpit of an F1 car for the first time in over two years yesterday, as he began his preparations to race in 2012 with the Lotus team.
Raikkonen covered 91 laps today for a total of 171 over the two sessions, completing the equivalent of more than two race distances.
"It went well today and overall the two days have been helped me a lot," said the Finn. "Even though I was using a two year-old car and the Pirelli demonstration tyres, I learnt about working with the team and the engineers which means I can focus on the new car once we get to Jerez for the first official test.
"It was great to be driving an F1 car again and from that respect I feel very positive."
Lotus’s Trackside Operations Engineer Alan Permane said the former world champion’s pace had improved since yesterday and labelled the test as "productive and valuable".
"We enjoyed another good day with Kimi in Valencia," he said. "The morning was spent doing set-up work in particular with front and rear cambers. In the afternoon we ran very low fuel qualifying simulations with two new sets of tyres followed by a 27 lap run starting with a full tank of fuel.
"Kimi’s pace improved from yesterday as we would expect and we completed several start, pitstop and clutch simulations. We were even able to finish early as we completed our programme ahead of time. Overall it has been a productive and valuable two days."
Raikkonen will return to action when the team unveils its 2012 challenger at Jerez next month.
Kimi Raikkonen to ramp up testing programme on day two with Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen is set for more intense running on the second day of his comeback Formula 1 test with Lotus on Tuesday.
The Finn completed just over 300km in a 2010-specification Renault R30 at Valencia on Monday using three sets of Pirelli’s very durable demonstration tyres.
He has four sets of Pirellis available for Tuesday’s running and is scheduled to complete more laps than on the first day as the team is hoping to give him more long runs as part of a wider-ranging programme.
"We’ll do some more high and low-fuel runs," Lotus track operations director Alan Permane told AUTOSPORT on Monday. "And there will be a few more set-up changes as we did some basic ones today.
"There will also be some procedural stuff like starts that will be subtly different to what he experienced at Ferrari, just to get him up to speed before he drives the new car."
Lotus has structured its running around Raikkonen’s needs, with re-acclimatising to F1 his priority ahead of the first pre-season test at Jerez, which starts on February 7.
As Raikkonen left F1 before refuelling was banned in 2010, giving him experience of varying fuel loads is also key.
"It isn’t a traditional test, it’s more about doing what he wants and getting him up to speed," said Permane.
"We wrote a run-plan and pretty much stuck to it [on Monday]. But I said to Kimi in the morning that the test is really for you and that if you want to do something different, that’s fine, let us know.
"But he just got on with it. We did a few little set-up changes and ran the car on a very high fuel load because that’s something he didn’t do as he left F1 before the refuelling ban came in.
"So it gave him a feel of the car on 150kg [fuel levels] when there’s a difference of four or five seconds a lap. The plan is for more of the same on Tuesday."
Raikkonen is looking forward to the extra mileage on what is his first experience of an F1 car since November 2009.
"Obviously you get more into the zone with the more laps you complete as you discover more about the car and the tyres," he said.
La cronaca della giornata da https://twitter.com/lotus_f1team:
@Stotty1Dog He is very laid back Stotty, really easy to talk to! Although once he has his helmet on he’s in another zone, totally focused!
@Formula1chick I’m sure if it were up to Kimi he’d be in the car all day! Unfortunately we occasionally need to stop him for fuel / tyres
marysophymary Kimi did short runs this morning and is going for long stints this afternoon. We’ll let you know how many laps he completes!
Kimi Raikkonen impresses Lotus in his first test since returning to Formula 1
Lotus’s trackside operations director Alan Permane said Kimi Raikkonen proved on his first day back in a Formula 1 cockpit that his return to grand prix racing can be a success.
Raikkonen is spending two days testing a 2010 Renault at Valencia this week as he settles back into F1 after two seasons in the World Rally Championship.
No times were released from today’s test, and Raikkonen’s pace would not be representative as he is using demonstration tyres and an older car, but Permane said his quality had shown through.
"From the first run he was pretty much there," Permane told BBC Sport. "It’s very difficult to know where he should be but he was pretty much on the pace on the first run. He didn’t find a whole lot of pace during the day.
"I don’t see any reason why he won’t be on the pace – you can tell he’s a very, very experienced driver.
"It was very clear we were working with a former world champion. It was a good day."
Permane added that he could not understand why Raikkonen had a reputation for being uncommunicative, as he had got on well with the Lotus team so far.
"He must have two faces – one for [the media]," Permane said. "He’s perfectly normal. "He was very happy to sit and talk about the car for as long as it takes. He’s very open."
Kimi Raikkonen warns he will need time to settle back into Formula 1 after 2010 Renault test
Kimi Raikkonen thinks it will still take him some time to fully return to his best in Formula 1, despite quickly settling back into the cockpit of a grand prix car at Valencia on Monday.
The former world champion has begun a two-day test in a 2010-spec Renault R30 in a bid to reacclimatise himself with F1 machinery prior to his first run in the team’s 2012 machine at Jerez next month.
Although the age of the car, plus the fact it is running on Pirelli demonstration rubber, means that lap times are meaningless, initial feedback from the team suggested that Raikkonen was showing well already.
Speaking to Sky Sports News after a first run in the car, Raikkonen said he had little problem learning to drive an F1 car again – but said that understanding how to get the best out of the team and tyres was not going to be the work of the moment.
"It was nice to get back in the car," explained Raikkonen. "It was quite a few years since I have driven last time, [and] of course it takes a little while to get used to it. But the main driving, braking, turning, that doesn’t take many laps. But of course to start learning about the car and team and tyres, that will take time."
Raikkonen also suggested that he never took it for granted that he would make a return to F1 after he had embarked on a career in the World Rally Championship.
When asked if he had expected to be back in F1, he said: "Not really. I didn’t have any plans for the future.
"There were different choices to do this year and I really wanted to do racing. We did some NASCAR stuff last year and I enjoyed it a lot, racing against other people.
"That is where I decided to do racing, and [if you are] doing racing, F1 is the highest level and probably where most people want to be. I found a good chance to come back and do racing with Lotus."
Kimi Raikkonen drives F1 car for the first time since joining Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen has returned to the wheel of a Formula 1 car for the first time since the end of 2009, driving a two-year-old Renault R30 at Valencia as he reacclimatises himself to the sport with Lotus.
Raikkonen arrived at the track at 0830 CET and took to the wheel of a two-year-old Renault R30 car – painted in Lotus’s contemporary black and gold livery and using Pirelli’s demonstration-spec rubber – for an installation lap just after 0900.
The Finn is taking part in a two-day session designed to help him reacclimatise himself with grand prix machinery. His first test with the team’s 2012 car will take place at Jerez early next month.
Under the terms of F1′s strict testing limitations, teams are not allowed to run contemporary F1 machinery apart from at designated tests. However, machinery that is two years old is free from such restrictions – which is why Lotus is able to run him in a 2010 Renault car that is fitted with demo rubber.
Raikkonen last raced in F1 in 2009, when he was dropped by Ferrari and chose to switch to the World Rally Championship for the following year. He competed there for two seasons.
Keen to return to racing, however, Raikkonen briefly tried the NASCAR truck series last year before eventually agreeing a deal with Lotus to return to F1 in 2012.
Raikkonen said last month that he believed the biggest hurdle he faced in returning to F1 was getting used to the tyres.
He told the Lotus website: "I don’t think I’ve lost any speed. Getting on top of the tyres will be the hardest thing, of course, but I’m not really worried."
La cronaca della giornata da https://twitter.com/Lotus_F1Team
The picture so many fans have waited for… Kimi’s new helmet! What do you think? http://t.co/8tZUsp00
New Lotus Formula 1 car passes final crash tests
Kimi Raikkonen will definitely have his new Lotus ready for the first Formula 1 pre-season test after his outfit passed the last of its mandatory crash tests on Monday morning, AUTOSPORT can reveal.
As the former world champion began a private test at Valencia in Spain in a 2010-spec R30, exclusive pictures of which can be seen here, sources have confirmed his Enstone-based team was completing the last of its crash tests.
For the first time this year, F1 teams must pass the stringent FIA crash tests before they are allowed to run their cars on track – as opposed to only being required to do so for the first race of the campaign.
Lotus will unveil its 2012 car on its official website on February 5, prior to an official showing at the Jerez circuit the following day.
Raikkonen is due to kick off running of the new car for the first two days of the test from February 7, before handing it over to team-mate Romain Grosjean for the final two days.
Formula 1 teams have been told by the FIA that reactive ride height systems will be banned for the 2012 season
Formula 1 teams have been told that the reactive suspension system pioneered by Lotus has been banned for the 2012 season.
Sources have confirmed that a note was sent from the FIA to all teams on Friday evening indicating that the governing body was no longer satisfied the concept – which regulates ride height under braking – was still legal.
It is not clear why the FIA has decided now that the reactive systems should be outlawed, after AUTOSPORT revealed last week that it had given the green light to the Lotus idea as long ago as last January.
Rival teams are likely, however, to have made an effort to prove to the FIA that the Lotus system was in contravention of the regulations.
News of the FIA ban was first broken on The Flying Lap webcast, when Williams chief operations engineer Mark Gillan said on Friday night he had received a note from the governing body shortly before going on air notifying him of the move.
"The FIA has just banned that particular type of system," he said.
Speaking about Williams’ efforts on the device, Gillan said: "We have been investigating that type of system for a while. It obviously has an impact on the aero platform of the car, [and] anything that gets the front ride height lower is beneficial from an aerodynamic perspective."
The reactive suspension system on the Lotus was first spotted at last year’s Abu Dhabi Young Driver Test, and helped maintain the front ride height under braking for corners – to benefit both aerodynamic performance and stability.
Rivals teams were quick to look into the system, with Ferrari understood to be the first to propose its own version of reactive ride to the FIA.
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali had said at his team’s Wrooom media event in Italy last week that he was awaiting a response from the governing body on its legality.
He said: "What you are talking about, is more related to having stability under braking. It is a system that I know there have been some documents in writing between the FIA and the teams.
"We are waiting for the final confirmation if this kind of devices will be acceptable or not. But for sure we are looking around these sorts of devices to see if they contribute to a performance. But we need to wait and see what will be the reaction to the FIA on that."
Only this week, Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner had said he was unsure about the ultimate benefits of the system.
"It’s like all of these things, it’s about how they work and how they are integrated in the car," Horner told AUTOSPORT. "Things have to work as a package rather than as individual components. It appears to be an interesting concept but I’m the wrong person to be commenting on it."
When asked if he thought it was legal, he said: "I haven’t had that close a look at it. That’s more a question for [F1 race director] Charlie Whiting."
The Lotus system was mechanical and activated by brake torque. And, because it was part of the suspension system, was deemed legal at the time because it could not be classified as a moveable aerodynamic device.
Räikkönen pilota-azionista del team Lotus F1
Kimi Räikkönen debutterà prossimamente al volante di una Lotus nella sua prima stagione di F1 dal 2009. In aggiunta, le modalità della sua firma in favore della squadra di Enstone colpiscono ancora oggi. Il segreto risiederebbe nel diritto d’azione della squadra. Gérard Lopez, co-fondatore del fondo d’investimento Genii Capital e proprietario del team Lotus F1 ha messo in atto un piano di seduzione basato su più leve economiche. Il salario è una cosa, i premi anche. Tuttavia, l’uomo d’affari avrebbe accettato la proposta degli agenti del campione del mondo 2007, di ottenere una quota delle azioni della squadra sul periodo del contratto (2012 e 2013).
Il metodo non è nuovo è resta destinato a sedurre ed implica dei vantaggi per un pilota. L’ultimo in ordine di tempo ad aver ottenuto delle azioni in una squadra è Jacques Villeneuve che disponeva circa di un 5-7% secondo le indicazioni della squadra British American Racing (BAR). Allo stesso modo, Denis Hulme, campione del mondo 1967, possedeva delle azioni della squadra McLaren negli anni ‘60-70, così come il tre volte campione del mondo australiano Jack Brahbham che aveva delle azioni del costruttore inglese Cooper fin dal debutto degli anni ‘60. Trattasi dunque di una pratica corrente in un’epoca ma poi perduta. Kimi Räikkönen riporta in vita il concetto.
Sembrerebbe che il campione del mondo 2007 abbia a disposizione dei buoni di sottoscrizione per la durata del contratto. Permettendo così al pilota di ottenere una sorta di premio alla fine del suo contratto quando venderà le sue quote. Questo premio può essere stimato in circa 10 milioni di euro. In totale, Kimi potrebbe toccare più di 30 milioni di euro (salari, premi e azioni) durante il suo soggiorno ad Enstone.
Secondo una classifica di Sportune.fr Kimi sarebbe il pilota di F1 più pagato negli ultimi 35 anni!
Lotus will reveal Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus on its new website on February 5
Kimi Raikkonen will get his first taste of the new Lotus Formula 1 car when it runs for the first time at Jerez on February 7, two days after the car is revealed on the team’s new website.
The team has announced that it will reveal its 2012 contender, which carries the comeback hopes of the 2007 Formula 1 world champion after two years away from the sport, live on its new website – http://www.lotusf1team.com – at 1700 CET on Sunday February 5.
The site will also go live on the same date, before the team’s official unveiling of its new car at the Spanish venue the following day.
Raikkonen will then take on driving duties for the first two days of the first pre-season test at Jerez and then hand the car over to team-mate Romain Grosjean for the remainder of the four-day session.
The Finn, who has had no F1 track time since switching back from the World Rally Championship where he has been competing for the past two seasons, is expected to spend two days driving a 2010-spec Renault at Valencia next week using Pirelli’s demo rubber.
Genii Capital CEO Gerard Lopez has targeted a top three championship position for the renamed Lotus F1 squad, despite coming off a 2011 campaign that tailed off dramatically in terms of results.
Pre-season testing had provided encouragement to the Enstone-based team in 2011, but the two podium finishes that followed in Australia and Malaysia proved to be a false dawn as the radical exhaust system on the R31 failed to live up to expectation, particularly on the tighter courses. The team, already denied the services of Robert Kubica following the Pole’s rally accident, then dispensed with replacement Nick Heidfeld, replacing him with the less experienced Bruno Senna as team-mate to second year driver Vitaly Petrov.
As a result of its declining performance, Lotus Renault slipped back to fifth place in the constructors’ standings, coming perilously close to being overhauled by Force India, prompting a clear-out in the driver department, and an early focus on 2012. The team owner, however, refuses to be bowed, however, and already has high hopes for the coming year.
“Last year, we started really well, but then we suffered a setback when we were forced to stop with our blown diffuser concept because of the uncertainty that surrounded the technology at the time – and, of course, with Robert being injured it was not an ideal year,” Lopez acknowledged in an interview with YallaF1, “We are not one of the big F1 teams, but we are the best privateer team and, with Kimi [Raikkonen] on board, our intentions are clear – we aim to challenge the top three. It is very tough to take them on because they have the resources and experience.”
Dispensing with both Petrov and Senna allowed the team, which will operate under the Lotus F1 banner in 2012, to bring in 2007 F1 world champion Raikkonen and GP)2 Series champion Romain Grosjean for the coming year, a combination Lopez expects to serve it well.
“I must say the interest since Kimi joined our team has been very surprising," he noted, "We knew he was popular, but not to this extent, and [we were] not expecting such a good response. From our side, of course, it is great to have him on board as he is a world champion who comes with vast experience and we all know he is fast. He is also a great guy.
“When we realised that, with Nick Heidfeld, who is a very good driver, we were not going to be better than fifth in the championship, we tried our best to help the young talent. As you know, we gave Bruno Senna a chance last year and also Vitaly Petrov, who we are still very close to.”
“We knew we had to have an experienced driver in the team, so we have Kimi, [but] Romain deserves his chance. Unfortunately, we are not like Red Bull, who have Toro Rosso to try young drivers without disrupting the main team. We decided to give Romain a chance because he has matured, he won the 2011 GP2 Series and we believe he is capable of doing a good job.”
Lotus is also not shying away from revolution in the design of its new car, with much having been made about a radical braking system it appears poised to run in testing, but Lopez insists that there is more to the car than that.
“From our side, it is not about a single element that makes a car fast, but the package – and, of course, we are working on having a strong package for the season,” he pointed out.
The identity of Lotus’ third driver remains unclear, with several names having been put forward as potential candidates, including both Senna and Petrov. While they have also been linked to Williams and, in Petrov’s case, both Marussia and Caterham, in recent weeks, other possibilities in the frame include Virgin outcast Jerome d’Ambrosio, who is managed by Lopez Gravity Sports’ concern.
Lotus’s rivals set to be forced to copy innovative reactive ride height system
Lotus’s rivals look set to be forced to copy its innovative reactive ride height system ahead of the 2012 season, with the FIA happy the concept is totally legal.
There has been much intrigue in recent days about the mechanism that Lotus was reported to have tried out at the Abu Dhabi young driver test last year.
The mechanical system helps maintain a standard ride height during braking – when often the front of the car would dip down.
Rivals teams are understood to have looked into the system and its legality over recent days – with a report in Gazzetta dello Sport this week suggesting it was driver adjusted by the use of a pedal in the cockpit.
However, if the drivers were changing the ride height of the cars under braking then that would be a breach of the rules.
Article 3.15 of the F1 Technical Regulations states: "With the exception of the parts necessary for the adjustment described in Article 3.18 [the DRS], any car system, device or procedure which uses driver movement as a means of altering the aerodynamic characteristics of the car is prohibited."
AUTOSPORT can reveal, however, that the adjustment to the ride height – which improves aerodynamic performance and stability on the Lotus under braking – does not come from the driver.
Instead it is reactive to brake torque and is linked directly to the suspension – so cannot be classified as a moveable aerodynamic device in the way that independent mass dampers were.
The fact that the driver is not involved, and that the system is a part of the suspension, means it complies fully with the F1 regulations.
AUTOSPORT understands that Lotus has been in liaison with the FIA throughout the development of the brake system, having first been proposed in 2010 and been given an official green light by the governing as long ago as January last year.
With the FIA happy that the brake system is legal, it means that its main rivals will now have to propose their own systems to the governing body if they want to adopt such a concept for the forthcoming season.
AUTOSPORT also understands that at least one front-running team has already submitted plans for a similar ride-height adjustment device to be used in 2012.
Todt fa un favore a Kimi
Volendo essere cattivelli, potremmo considerarlo un favore del Pinguino, alias Jean Todt, al suo ultimo campione del mondo, alias Kimi Raikkonen.
Comunque, ecco qua.
Oggi l’ufficio tecnico della federazione internazionale ha annunciato di considerare ‘legale’ il dispositivo studiato dalla ex Renault, oggi Lotus, il nuovo team del Biondino, che permette di mantenere stabile l’altezza della monoposto in fase di frenata.
La Lotus ex Renault aveva introdotto l’innovazione in occasione dei test di Abu Dhabi riservati ai giovani piloti.
In quella occasione, la Ferrari (ma anche la Red Bull) aveva sollevato perplessità sul marchingegno, ritenendo che venisse attivato manualmente dal pilota, cosa questa vietatissima dai regolamenti.
Evidentemente la Lotus ex Renault ha dimostrato, in sede Fia, che si tratta invece di una soluzione soltanto ‘tecnica’, connessa al funzionamento delle sospensioni.
Quindi è stato dato l’ok.
Se la trovata garantisce vantaggi, Ferrari-Red Bull and company dovranno copiare, anche in fretta e furia.
Se non copiano, rischiano una fregatura (qualora la soluzione Lotus fosse…magica) in stile doppio diffusore 2009.
1-0 per Todt (e per Kimi) e palla al centro.
Da TS.fi, traduzione Nicole@KRForum Ufficiale
A quick neck link
Luca di Montezemolo uses a regular phrase of adding more testing opportunities by mocking F1-driving as the only top sport where training is forbidden.
Kimi Räikkönen would probably not have anything against it if testing was allowed like it was four years ago.
He would have already circled the track for eight days in December. With today’s special arrangements Räikkönen gets those eight days to drive tests before the F1-serie starts on March 18 in Australia.
Nature is merciless. The huge G-powers especially in corners strain the neck and you can only get them by driving a F1-car. Although Räikkönen is training in a very determined manner there is no shortcut in snatching a "neck link" to strenghten neck muscles.
Hence the first one, the extra two days driving with year 2010 Renault in Valencia, are extremely important for Räikkönen.
There the first tens of laps will be getting used to driving a F1-car – and the rest of the time to especially strenghten the neck muscles. Then he gets six days and 3000 kilometers more with the new car in winter testing.
After that Räikkönen’s neck should be at lest one centimeter thicker than it is at this moment.
Da TS.fi, traduzione Nicole@KRForum Ufficiale
Räikkönen has full bust-up in training
F1-immigrant Kimi Räikkönen can once again train with full steam. On Sunday it was precisely 10 weeks before the opening GP in Australia 2012.
On Saturday again it was 4 weeks when the new Lotus-driver hurt his left wrist after falling with the snowmobile in a show in Austria. They protected the hand with a spatula until the new year.
– Because of the hurting wrist we had to change plans a little, but in practice we have been able to keep a training program all the time with the exception of a short break of one and a half day, Räikkönen’s fysio Mark Arnall explains.
– All work on neck and legs have been fully taken care of – just as the endurance-side also. We have progressed in a very positive manner and Kimi is in a good stitch, Arnall assures.
It doesn’t take long to get used to driving
Räikkönen was in Lotus-Renault factory in Enstone on Thursday for a seat-fitting.
– First it was a bit weird to sit in a F1-cockpit with the helmet on after a long time. However I got used to it quickly and it has felt the same before too when being in a seat-fitting for a new car, Räikkönen confessed.
The new car will be on the testing track on 7th of February in Jerez, but before that Räikkönen will get used to F1-driving by driving a Renault from year 2010 for two days during January 23-24th on Ricardo Tormo -track in Valencia.
Räikkönen has often before started his winter testing after a few months winter vacation. Now he has had a break of two years and three months.
– I think I will get used to driving itself after 10-15 laps but there’s more to learn about everything else, Räikkönen thinks.
Räikkönen gets to try this year’s new Pirelli-tyres only after the winter testing has begun – meaning he will be on the same line as all the other racing drivers.
Neck strong only by driving
Arnall has taken care of Räikkönen’s training programs and wellbeing for ten years already, which is a record-long period of time in today’s F1-racing.
– We already know from before that we can do everything else except strenghten the neck muscles. They will strenghten to the level required only by driving a F1-car, Arnell emphasizes.
Räikkönen has has for a several years in his home in Switzerland a driving vehicle built by Technogym, a vehicle that is as close to F1-driving as possible.
– There the driver gets in the right driving position and the muscles are strained the same way as if he would drive on the track. Only neck muscles can’t be strenghtened as much as with a real F1-car because of the lacking G-forces, Arnall said.
Räikkönen has eight days before Australia’s opening GP. After Valencia’s private testing he will drive the first two days with the new car in Jerez and then four days later in Barcelona, where they divide driving tasks with French team mate Romain Grosjean.
If there are no technical problems then he can drive 3500-4000 kilometers in eight days.
– Eight days isn’t much but that’s what everybody else also gets. It sort of helps Kimi in a way that the track in Albert Park isn’t one of the most toughest one. This way he will get three more driving days to strenghten his neck for places that are physically more demanding, Arnall thinks.
- Guess who is visiting the Enstone factory today?
- The Iceman himself Mr. Raikkonen has arrived for his seat fitting! http://pic.twitter.com/yTzOgq4A
- Kimi Raikkonen back in an F1 driver’s seat for the first time in 2 years! http://pic.twitter.com/bpiCRrB6
- Q&A session with Kimi Raikkonen coming soon! If you have any questions for the Iceman send them to us using #askkimi
- This afternoon @OfficialLRGP reached 60,000 followers! Thank you all for your support! What would you like to see on this feed in 2012?
Kimi back behind the wheel
“I have not sat in an F1 car since the last race of the 2009 season” smiled Kimi, as he jumped into the cockpit for his first seat fitting at Enstone today. The Finn was with us all day and, despite a heavy technical programme, took time to answer his fans’ questions.
Stay tuned for more…
Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: “It will be nice to get back to racing”
We have received many questions from fans for Kimi today; we managed to grab him to answer a few of them. We will invite you to send us more questions next time he’s with us!
Kimi, today marked the first time you have been back in the cockpit of a Formula 1 car since 2009. How did it feel? How important is the seat fitting? Were you surprised by all the interest your comeback has generated these past few weeks? There have been a lot of comments about your comeback… sometimes really positive and other times a bit more negative
The last time I was at Enstone I quickly jumped into a seat, but this is indeed the first time I have properly sat in an F1 car with a helmet on since the last race of 2009. It felt a bit odd at first because the cockpit seems a bit small, but that’s normal. It’s just like in the past when I have done seat fittings – it feels a bit strange when you first step into the car but you quickly adjust. It will be nice to get back to racing.
It is one of the most important jobs. You spend so much time sitting in the car so the position is really crucial, it needs to be 100% right. I’d rather spend a lot of time getting it right at this time of the year because there are many races in the season and you sit behind the wheel a lot. Getting it right the first time is imperative.
There has been quite a bit of noise in the press about my comeback and there have been a lot of rumours. For me, coming back to Formula 1 is a good thing and I hope it will be for the team and the fans also! I love this time of the year at the factory. There’s a real buzz surrounding the new car, every single department is working flat out in order to have everything ready on time. You can really feel people’s dedication and it’s nice to be a part of it.
It has no effect on me – sometimes you hear some nonsense and sometimes you hear nice things. The main thing is that coming back is what I wanted and I have a good opportunity with the team so I’m happy. I have never really looked at what people say or think. I do my own thing and as long as I’m happy with it then that’s the main thing for me.
Kimi, today marked the first time you have been back in the cockpit of a Formula 1 car since 2009. How did it feel?
How important is the seat fitting?
Were you surprised by all the interest your comeback has generated these past few weeks?
There have been a lot of comments about your comeback… sometimes really positive and other times a bit more negative
KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN: “I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel”
Kimi, it has been three weeks since you were confirmed as a Lotus Renault GP driver for the 2012 season. How have you found the reaction to your F1 return?
KR: I have been surprised at how big the reaction has been so I guess people must have missed me!
What has been the best moment so far? How difficult do you think you will find it coming back? Do you think it will take you long to get back up to speed? What is your schedule in the build-up to testing? What are your targets for pre-season testing? What are your plans over the Christmas break? Have you got anything special arranged? Any more snowmobile races planned?
KR: Sebastian Vettel’s impersonation of me at the Autosport awards! No, seriously, my two visits to Enstone have been great. The first one, at the team’s Christmas party, made me realise how much support I have there. The second one, last week, allowed me to understand that this team has not been world champion by coincidence. I also saw all the investments they have made recently: new simulator building, CFD upgrade, 60% wind tunnel… It gives me a lot of confidence for the season ahead.
KR: Let’s put it this way: before my two years of rallying I had nine seasons, 157 races and 18 wins in Formula 1. I know the sport well. When I went to rallying and when I tried NASCAR, there were many new things to learn, but with Formula 1 I feel like I’m coming home. I can’t wait to get behind the wheel.
KR: I hope not! I am more motivated than ever and I don’t think I’ve lost any speed. Getting on top of the tyres will be the hardest thing, of course, but I’m not really worried. Although the technical regulations don’t seem to change much, they apply to a lot of areas and quite a few elements will have to be re-designed. As a result, the cars will be significantly different next year. The order could be shaken up, which will make things very interesting.
KR: We don’t test the new car until February so it’s a long wait. However, I should be able to jump into a two-year-old F1 car in January. Of course, there will be the usual training, but I will also be working on getting to know the team better and making sure I fully understand all the changes since I have been away.
KR: Finding out if we have a fast car! For me, learning how the team works will be another important aspect. Learning Pirelli’s tyres will be the most important job, as it’s a different approach from what I experienced before.
KR: I am doing a lot of training. The most important area for me is to get my neck strong enough again, especially as it will be put through its paces in testing. Of course, I will also be celebrating Christmas with my family.
KR: I was surprised by how much attention there was over me falling off a snowmobile. You can watch what happened on YouTube and it was probably the smallest and slowest crash I’ve ever had. It is almost embarrassing! I won a snowmobile race right before the start of the 2007 season and that year didn’t go badly for me so who knows?
What has been the best moment so far?
How difficult do you think you will find it coming back?
Do you think it will take you long to get back up to speed?
What is your schedule in the build-up to testing?
What are your targets for pre-season testing?
What are your plans over the Christmas break? Have you got anything special arranged?
Any more snowmobile races planned?
Fernando Alonso welcomes Kimi Raikkonen’s return to Formula 1
Fernando Alonso says he is delighted he will share the track with Kimi Raikkonen next year, following the Finn’s return to Formula 1 with Lotus.
Raikkonen, who left the sport at the end of 2009, has secured a two-year deal with Lotus Renault to return to grand prix racing in 2012.
Alonso believes the Finn’s comeback is good news for the sport.
"I welcome him back. He’s a great driver," Alonso said during a press conference in Madrid.
"He’s one of the drivers with the biggest talent on the grid, a world champion, a wonderful person… So it’s going to be a pleasure to race alongside him.
"I’m not comparing him with anyone, but it’s not the same to start a race and get to the first corner and have Kimi Raikkonen alongside you than having a young driver or a rookie. Fighting with champions like this gives you a different feeling and more security."
The Ferrari driver also conceded he was surprised that compatriot Jaime Alguersuari had lost his drive at Toro Rosso, although he admitted he did not know what the situation was at the team.
"I don’t have a very strong opinion about it," he said. "I don’t know how Toro Rosso worked and how happy or unhappy they were with their drivers.
"I’m probably surprised like everybody else that they have changed both drivers all of a sudden, because you usually need some consistency in a team, so replacing both is like starting from scratch and you have a tougher winter in terms of evolution and testing the car.
"But just like I was surprised about that, I was surprised about Sutil not staying and the same about other drivers.
"But I understand that Toro Rosso is like Red Bull’s junior team and they have a lot of young drivers and they only have two seats at Toro Rosso. So they felt the need to change their drivers and try two youngsters. But I don’t know what the situation was."
Lotus Renault accepts Kimi Raikkonen will need time in Formula 1 comeback
Kimi Raikkonen will be given all the time he needs to get back up to speed in Formula 1, with his new bosses adamant that there is no expectation on him to deliver straightaway.
With Michael Schumacher having shown since he came back the difficulties that even top-line drivers can face getting dialled back into F1, Raikkonen has been assured that Renault – which will be renamed after sponsor Lotus next year – will be patient with him.
Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar said on Monday that Raikkonen’s two-year absence from F1 will not make it easy for him to produce results immediately – and underlined that all the outfit was looking for was consistent improvement.
"You cannot expect from a driver that was absent for two years to come back and adapt to the new tyres and new regulations from day one, so he needs his time," said Bahar during a lunch with selected media in London on Monday.
"But whether this time is three days, six races or 20 races, we will see. What is important is to see how his tendency goes towards the performance. If it is always improving, then of course we will give him the time."
Although there has been much talk in recent weeks about Raikkonen’s motivation levels – and whether or not he will be prepared to knuckle down if the 2012 Lotus is not a frontrunner – Bahar insists that Raikkonen knows fully what he has let himself in for.
"Kimi is a cool guy, and he has grown up," he explained. "He is not as young now. He knows what he does, he knows what people expect from him and I think he takes it a bit more seriously now than when he was at McLaren."
He added: "I think Kimi is a very good guy, he is a very pure guy. I respect him a lot, we respect him a lot and that is the reason he is with us. He has matured a lot in the past 10 years in F1, so he is a grown-up man and he knows his return to F1 is not easy and he knows he has to deliver.
"But he is not the same kid as he was at Sauber and at McLaren. These are different times, he has to deliver and he realises that."
Bahar also believes that, despite there being no guarantee that Raikkonen will produce as much as in his last time in F1, the team made the right call in opting to invest in his services.
"Kimi is Kimi, and he is a world champion in F1," he said. "He deserves definitely to have a higher value than a normal driver, just because he is Kimi Raikkonen.
"Everybody appreciates that – but this is not Ferrari and this is not a world championship winning car at the moment, so you always have to see this side as well, and maybe our team, or any other team in that field, cannot afford to pay that kind of salary now.
"Kimi has realised that, but he will never sell himself under his value. He is too strong a character for that. I think what he is getting now is a fair value for what he delivers, but we have to see the performance on the track."
Lotus says Renault choosing Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean for 2012 and dropping Vitaly Petrov is a statement of intent
Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar says Renault has delivered proof of its resolve to get back to the front in Formula 1 after opting for talent over sponsorship in its driver choice for 2012.
On the back of the bold decisions to lure Kimi Raikkonen back to F1, and sign Romain Grosjean at the expense of Vitaly Petrov, Bahar believes the soon-to-be-called Lotus outfit has shown how committed it is to success.
"It shows the determination that we have, and it shows that there is understanding of what it will take," explained Bahar during a media lunch in London on Monday.
"The team’s two main partners [Gerard Lopez and Eric Lux] said, ‘look this isn’t about commercial matters and going for the highest bidder, it was about going for the best drivers we can get.’
"We did an analysis together and we said, although Vitaly has a sweeter commercial element to him, we shall go for pure racing. It may be more difficult for us commercially but we are up for the challenge. And we will raise the money if it is necessary."
Bahar believes that following a difficult 2011 campaign, where Renault drifted down the order after taking podium finishes in the first two races of the season, a big reshuffle was needed to lift spirits for next year.
When asked by AUTOSPORT if he felt the team needed to act so boldly, Bahar said: "I think it did, and will continue to need this. With last year’s performance nobody was really happy, especially with the development it took, so it was in every shareholder and partner’s interest to go for the best possible set-up we have.
"We have to make a lot of changes and improvements to the technical areas, but the management knows that and they are working very, very much on that. I am sure it will be better. I am sure."
Bahar has also thrown his full support behind the job that team principal Eric Boullier is doing – despite recent wild speculation suggesting that the Frenchman could be replaced by former grand prix driver Gerhard Berger.
"Eric’s job is not the easiest one," explained Bahar. "It is the same as with any football manager, after a not so good year you are often criticised. He will be criticised and it is not the last time he will be criticised, but the important thing is what he learns out of it, and he identifies the areas where he has to strengthen it.
"And he has identified it. He has a clear plan going forward and we trust him to manage it perfectly. There is no reason to doubt him. But, the operational involvement is mainly driven by Genii – Gerard Lopez and Eric Lux – and we trust them, we have a good relationship and they are doing it."
Bahar has recently extended his contract at Lotus by another four years, following meetings with the company’s owner Proton last week, and believes with the ‘distraction’ of the Lotus naming row now over, that there will be a bigger marketing push for his company in F1.
He also suggested that future plans for closer co-operation between Group Lotus and Genii – either through the car company buying into the team or Lopez taking a shareholding in the car company – remained a possibility.
"Talks are always here, and they have been here from the beginning," said Bahar. "There is a road map that he [Lopez] and I put together, and we are following that road map.
"But I cannot tell you more of what, or how it will happen – but what I can definitely tell you is that we are not working against each other, despite the speculations I have seen suggesting one of us is trying to buy out the other one."