Former Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle has said that he fears Lotus F1 Team has lost its momentum and will endure a difficult season in 2014 following a slow exodus over the past nine months.
Star driver Kimi Raikkonen has left the team after two seasons at Enstone, having gone unpaid for the majority of 2013 and becoming very disgruntled in the process. Furthermore, James Allison, Dirk de Beer, Eric Boullier and Stephane Samson’s departures have raised questions about the team’s future. Financial issues have created a number of problems for the team, but the arrival of well-funded Pastor Maldonado may have eased the situation.
Nevertheless, Brundle, who spent twelve years racing in Formula 1, believes that the team could struggle in 2014.
“They have lost a lot of people over a period of time, it can’t help them,” Brundle explained when asked by NBC Sports about the team’s future.
“I think it will be difficult for them and especially if Renault are not on form as well. I call them ‘Team Enstone’ rather than whatever name they have had; it has nothing to do with Lotus, does it? Zero from what I understand. You just know there will be a core, your Alan Permanes and all that, there will be a core of ‘Team Enstone’ still there.”
Brundle likened the situation at Lotus to Williams, with the latter going through a few turbulent years but now appears to be on the cusp of a breakthrough in 2014.
“Formula 1 is like the flywheel: you get momentum and when the flywheel has got momentum, it carries on for a while,” Brundle said. “As Williams have found out, when you lose the momentum, it is very difficult to spin it back up again. I fear Lotus are going to go through that.”
One positive that Lotus will undoubtedly take into the new season is the flourishing of Romain Grosjean during the second half of the 2013 season. However, should the far fail to deliver this year, he may struggle to repeat his string of podium finishes this time around.