Lotus F1 Team
No. 8 Romain Grosjean
No. 13 Pastor Maldonado
First Race: 2012 Australian Grand Prix*
Grands Prix: 58
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 5
Race Wins: 2
Best Constructors’ Championship Finish: 4th (2012 and 2013)
2014 Championship Result: 8th (10 points)
The financial crisis that currently blights F1 hit Lotus hard in 2014, with its success in the preceding years appearing to catch up financially. Pastor Maldonado’s arrival and subsequent injection of Venezuelan oil cash managed to stabilize the team, but failed to take the team any higher than P8 in the constructors’ championship. The paltry haul of ten points is made all the less impressive by the fact that it came from just three separate scores: Grosjean in Spain, Grosjean in Monaco and Maldonado in the USA.
However, 2015 could be a new dawn for Lotus. With Mercedes engines now powering the E23 Hybrid and an all-new car, the team seems to be moving forwards. In testing, both Maldonado and Grosjean finished at the top of the timesheets on days in Barcelona, and although the long-run pace of the car left much to be desired compared to the front-runners, a definite step has been made ahead of the new season. Maldonado may be a liability at times, but there is no denying he is quick, whilst Grosjean will hopefully be able to spend less time raging on his team radio this year and focus his energy into repeating his breakthrough in 2013.
Lotus may still be licking its wounds from 2014, but the boys from Enstone appear to be back in business.
ROMAIN GROSJEAN No. 8
If Lotus’ preseason testing pace is legitimate, then Grosjean is the more likely of the team’s two drivers to make the most of it in races throughout the year. The Frenchman bit his tongue for most of the 2014 campaign as the chassis was a difficult one to handle and the Renault engine was down on power compared to Mercedes. Now armed with a Mercedes, Grosjean’s fate should be better this year. He’s a likeable driver who is overflowing with potential, and if the racing gods smiled down on him he’d be owed his elusive first career victory.
PASTOR MALDONADO No. 13
F1’s perennial miscreant may have struggled during his debut season with Lotus, yet 2015 looks to have a brighter horizon for Pastor Maldonado. The Venezuelan driver impressed during testing, and relying he can keep the E23 Hybrid pointing in the right direction, points should be a realistic target at each grand prix. Maldonado has long been an optimist, saying for much of last year that he’d finish in the top ten when, quite simply, it wasn’t going to happen. Now though? His upbeat nature may just pay dividends.
*2012 is taken as the team’s first year given that this is when Renault stepped back and purely became an engine supplier, thus breaking from the Lotus Renault/Renault/Benetton years.