Boullier optimistic he can keep Raikkonen at Lotus

Leave a comment

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier is confident that he can keep Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus for 2014 despite advances from Red Bull for the Finnish driver.

Following Mark Webber’s decision to retire from Formula One at the end of the season, Red Bull have been seeking a replacement for the Australian driver and have narrowed their shortlist down to Raikkonen and Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo. In pursuit of a second world championship, Raikkonen’s reasons for leaving Lotus would be evident as Red Bull have dominated the sport for the last three-and-a-half years. However, Boullier is confident that he can offer Raikkonen a better working environment.

“I’m very optimistic. There is a lot of discussion in the press, most of it is irrelevant. It is all about making Kimi comfortable enough to stay and happy to stay. Part of it is done,” Boullier said on the James Allen podcast.

“He knows the team and the environment. Now it’s about building up the right package. He will then take his decision.”

The trade-off for Raikkonen in his decision is clear. Red Bull may be able to offer him a more competitive car, but he would have to contend with Sebastian Vettel as a teammate which, as Mark Webber has proven this season, is by no means an easy task. Furthermore, Red Bull tend to undertake a great deal of promotional work with their drivers, something Raikkonen tends to distance himself from.

Therefore, staying at Lotus may be the more sensible option, although he may be less capable of challenging for a second world title.

Sergio Perez still has coronavirus; will miss second consecutive F1 race

F1 Sergio Perez out
Laurent Charniaux/Pool via Getty Images
Leave a comment

SILVERSTONE, England — Sergio Perez will be out for a second F1 race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return to Formula One after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said this morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Sergio Perez when he was out for the F1 British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

Perez became the first Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus, and it had been unclear whether he would be available to drive after the period of quarantine was extended to 10 days.

Racing Point also was in the news Friday after being hit with a 15-point penalty in the Formula One constructors’ championship and fined 400,000 euros ($470,000) Friday for using brake ducts based on those from last year’s Mercedes cars.

The stewards ruled that Mercedes was the “principal designer” of the parts, and that Racing Point made only minor changes to computer design data it received from Mercedes.

Rival team Renault filed protests about the legality of the brake ducts, which were added to the “listed parts” under F1 rules for 2020. That means teams must design their own. Racing Point argued it was merely using information about the Mercedes parts to inform its own design.

Racing Point uses customer engines from Mercedes and has admitted basing its 2020 car design on photographs of last year’s Mercedes car. The similarities led to the Racing Point being nicknamed the “pink Mercedes” when it was first seen in testing ahead of the season.

Racing Point can appeal the ruling. The points deduction drops the team from fifth to sixth in the standings, below Renault. The ruling doesn’t affect the points totals for Racing Point’s drivers.