Force India says Lotus has the key to 2014 driver market

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Force India’s deputy team principal Bob Fernley has said that the team is waiting on Lotus’ decision regarding its driver line up before making any announcements for 2014.

Lotus is currently thought to be waiting on a deal with Quantum Motorsports, a group of investors headed up by Mansoor Ijaz who has appeared at the last few races as a guest of the team. However, with the deal continually stalling, it seems that Lotus may have to approach Pastor Maldonado and offer him a drive relying he has funding from PDVSA in 2014. Should the Quantum deal go ahead though, Lotus will want to sign Nico Hulkenberg, although the German driver is reported to have signed for Force India in Brazil.

Speaking to ESPNF1, Fernley made clear that no decisions would be made until Lotus had made the first move.

“The stumbling block at the moment is who’s going with Lotus and until that’s resolved it’s very difficult to know what’s available,” he explained. “At the end of the season, we’ve got two very good drivers and there’s got to be a compelling reason to change one or both. We don’t really know which drivers are available yet.”

Current drivers Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil enjoyed a good start to the season before suffering from a dramatic change in fortunes after the British Grand Prix, coinciding with the changes made to the Pirelli tires. di Resta is thought to be at risk of losing his seat, and he has said that he is open to a move to IndyCar should a place in Formula One prove impossible to find.

Sergio Perez is another driver that the team is thought to be considering for 2014, and Martin Whitmarsh inferred in Brazil that a deal had already been struck to keep the Mexican driver in Formula One following his sacking by McLaren.

The F1 season may be over, but at this rate, silly season is set to rumble on well into the new year.

F1 2017 driver review: Lewis Hamilton

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Following on from the driver reviews from the Verizon IndyCar Series, MotorSportsTalk kicks off its Formula 1 recaps by looking back on Lewis Hamilton’s championship year.

Lewis Hamilton

Team: Mercedes AMG Petronas
Car No.: 44
Races: 20
Wins: 9
Podiums (excluding wins): 4
Pole Positions: 11
Fastest Laps: 7
Points: 363
Laps Led: 527
Championship Position: 1st

Lewis Hamilton may have wrapped up his fourth Formula 1 world title with two races to spare, but his margin of victory was far from representative of what was arguably his greatest championship victory yet.

Mercedes entered 2017 bidding to become the first team to defend its titles across a seismic regulation change, and appeared to be on the back foot early on after Ferrari impressed in pre-season testing and won the opening race through Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton was left wrestling with a “diva” of a car, as coined by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, but was able to get on top of it by the second race of the year in China, taking a dominant win in wet-dry conditions.

The win was representative of Hamilton’s form through the first portion of the season. When he won, he won in style – as in Spain, Canada and on home soil in Great Britain – but the off weekends saw him struggle.

Heading into the summer break, Vettel’s championship lead stood at 14 points, with the pair’s on-track rivalry having already spilled over in Baku when they made contact behind the safety car.

But Hamilton then produced the form that propelled him to titles in 2014 and 2015, breaking the back of the season through the final flyaways. As Vettel and Ferrari capitulated over the Asian rounds, picking up just 12 points when a full score of 75 for three wins was certainly in reach, Hamilton capitalised and put himself on the brink of the title.

While Hamilton’s run to P9 in Mexico was a messy way to wrap up his hardest-fought title to date, getting across the line and the job done was a significant result.

Unlike his last two titles, Hamilton was tasked with an enemy outside of the team in this title race and a car that arguably wasn’t the fastest on the grid.

But his unquestionable talent and ability to dig deep to get himself out of tough situations – Singapore and Brazil being two key examples where the result was far from expected – proved crucial once again.

Hamilton is now in the annals of F1 history as one of its all-time greats. The pole record is his, and only two drivers can boast more world titles than him (Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio).

Depending on how long he wants to continue racing, going down as F1’s statistical all-time great is certainly not out of the realm of possibility.

Season High: Charging from the pit lane to P4 in Brazil, a race he could have even won.

Season Low: Dropping out in Q2 in Monaco, only recovering to P7 in the race.