Daily #F1 News and Comment: November 2nd 2013

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Driving test at Mugello

Fat Hippo’s Rant: WTF Lotus?

Driving test at Mugello

Many an eyebrow crept north when Scuderia Toro Rosso announced that Daniel Ricciardo’s seat at Red Bull’s farm team would be taken by young Russian Дании́л Квят (Daniil Kvyat), the man from Ufa in Bashkortostan, whose name is almost unpronouncable for the untrained western toungue. Although he’s been quite impressive in Formula Renault 2.0 and the GP3, many people see the direct jump into F1 as somewhat pre-mature.

Two of the last people to make such a leap were Jarno Trulli (Formula 3) and Kimi Räikkönen (Formula Renault 2.0) and both turned out ok, but that was at a time with near unrestricted testing and both had thousands of miles on their scorecard before they took to the grid the first time. No such luck for the Russian kid. He’ll have to do with two Friday outings at Austin and Interlagos, winter testing and lots of simulator testing.

But before Franz Tost and his men can let the pint-sized Russian weapon loose on American soil, he first needs a super license and to do that he needs to pass his driving test. To do that he’ll have to drive at least 300 kilometres under the watchful eye of the FIA without looking like the bastard love child of Jean-Deniz Deletraz and Giovanna Amati. The young one’s check ride is scheduled to take place at Mugello next Friday in a 2011 spec Toro Rosso STR-6.

Удачи, братан!

Fat Hippo’s Rant: WTF Lotus?

Back in the day, when they were still a midfield team and occasionally outscored by their own farm team, the Red Bull crew were the jokesters in the paddock. They would send DC up to collect one of their rare podium trophies wearing a superman cape, entertain the world with hilarious press releases or (in the case of Christian Horner) would be seen jumping naked into the pool at Monaco after losing a bet.

Of course, once stuff got serious with multiple championships and stuff, so got the team and for a time it looked like Team Lotus would take up the vacant position of the class clown with their funny posts on twatter and faceborg or their ‘leave me alone’ t-shirts. Yesterday we finally learned, just how rotten the state of things is in Lotus-land.

On Thursday Kimi Räikkönen was AWOL and the team remained remarkably blasé about it, which confused quite a few people as it looked like outright retaliatory action by the Iceman for the effed up strategy of India and the late-race exchange of profanities. As it should later turned out, the team was still trying to convince the Finn to show up at all. As we would later learn straight from the Iceman’s mouth this is, because Lotus haven’t paid a single penny of Kimi’s salary yet. There was talk about a payment earlier this year, but it turned out it was the money they owed him from last year.

What in the name of all that’s holy are you doing, Lotus? Which part of the word ‘contract’ is so hard to understand? I can almost hear the communists and otherwise talentless crawl out of the undergrowth proclaiming that Kimi earns Millions a year and therefore shouldn’t make a fuzz about waiting on his vulgar amount of currency a little longer. So friggin’ what? That’s not the point here. Had you paid more attention in school you could’ve become a bus driver. It’s a simple question of honouring an agreement and especially not putting up an Iraqi Information Minister routine if for any reason you can’t fulfil your end of the bargain.

Getting into financial trouble in this economic climate is neither a surprise nor is it neccesserily a shameful thing. If there’s one bunch, who has more attention to detail than us Germans, it’s the Swiss. And if there’s one bunch, who knows how to handle money, it’s the Swiss again. But even with these favourable conditions, team Sauber ran into bad financial trouble this year. Unlike Lotus, however, their press releases were written by someone competent, not by Baghdad Bob. They let Hülkenberg terminate his contract, effectively allowing him to leave the team at a moments notice, should the call from another team come. And they were quite transparent about it.

What did Lotus do? They continued selling heaps of male bovine excrement to the world in the form of two rutting rabbits, insinuating that Kimi had bent them over the nearest piece of furniture to administer a jolly ol’ anal seeing-to by leaving the team. Whom in the wild world of sports were you kidding, Lotus? Newsflash: If you don’t pay your best employee for a whole year, you don’t have any right to be upset if he walks out on you. I don’t know how things work in her Majesty’s Empire, but in most of Europe obtaining goods or services by fraud is a criminal offense. Kimi kept on collecting points, podium and wins despite not being paid for it and when he finally has had enough and tells the world about it, you get all upset and vulgar in the team radio? I think the only ones with a right to be po’ed are Kimi himself and the public, who now learns that you’ve been selling them ruminant turds for a full season.

Shame on you, Lotus!

17 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: November 2nd 2013

    • Candidly, I’ve not been a fan of Mr. Hippo’s previous rants. But this one is exceptional, and very good! Well done!

      In particular, drawing out the contrast between how Lotus and Sauber handle their publicity during their periods of impoverishment is well done!

      I think it’s worth noting that in some ways Kimi has been more loyal to the Lotus F1 team than Genii (Mr. Lopez and the bar-fighting Mr. Lux). We all know that Genii has failed to find a proper budget to enable Lotus to continue as a top performing team. One valuable source of revenue is from FOM based finishing position in the CC. I’ll quote Mr. Lopez’ comments from yesterday, “The only reason we’re fighting for second in the World Championship is because of all the points that Kimi has scored.” The difference between finishing 2nd and 4th is reported to be €15mil.

      Looking at the famous rabbits tweet, and the behind closed doors comments from Lotus engineers as reported a few days ago here at TJ13, it adds additional perspective on what the underlying issues are to cause Kimi to do as he did.

      In addition, we should remember that Eric Boullier is Romain Grosjean’s manager. Grosjean received a 2nd (and 3rd) chance at Lotus in part because of his close relationship with Boullier. That has paid off in the last few races, which is commendable.

      But that context can cause one to wonder if Kimi was receiving the full support needed on his side of the garage to provide a maximum performance for Lotus.

      It’s interesting that Lotus has rolled out the SWB chassis here at Abu Dhabi for Kimi. The result is that Kimi is very competitive again in practice and qualifying. Is it a coincidence is in the SWB chassis and very quick after Kimi threatens to withdraw his services? Perhaps. But perhaps Kimi was fighting Lotus this week just to get the engineering support he needs to be more competitive again.

      • Very well said, Vortex. I haven’t followed Mr. Hippo’s rants previously, so I’ve no prior negative experience w/ them, but I agree with your praise of the effective contrast b/w the Sauber and Lotus PR efforts and their relative transparency (or lack thereof). I don’t know how anyone could criticize Kimi for his reaction, which appears quite professional and restrained now that we understand the severity of the failure on Genii’s part…

        • Would you guys please stop calling me ‘Mr. Hippo’ please? 😉 It makes it sound as if I’m to be taken seriously 😛
          The rant came about because of personal experience with people not fulfilling their part of a contract. Especially Lotus’ handling of the consequences is completely rotten. They should’ve taken the lesson from Sauber on how to negotiate such a delicate situation.

  1. I agree 100 percent with this; well said! If I where Kimi I’d use this chance to get my back fixed and at the same time sue the crap out of Lotus.

  2. and now we read where Quantum also wants Hulk! WTF??? at 65 YO in 2 weeks, I wanna race as Seb’s team mate. haha. so what? who gives a F***? money talks and bullshit walks. poor Colin must be dizzy spinning in his grave…
    if this is the best “Lotus” has got to give, good riddance (today is not too late)… I am happy to cheer for Jules and Max!

    • wow that was a really far-out blog post by Will Buxton. I have a very hard time believing that this is all a manufactured PR-stunt by Lotus team, or that Kimi would even agree to go along w/ such a scheme when he’s the epitome of the no bullshit driver. But hey, whadda i know in comparison to Will…prolly not that much.

  3. its getting entertaining at lotus, the irony of possibly three more podiums at ‘how much!’ per point . . . lmao

  4. An entertaining thought I saw expressed on another blog was for Kimi to commence wind-up on the Lotus outfit for non-payment of his salary.
    Strikes me as a justifiable action; now the car’s failed scrutineering what the heck……..

  5. Hey Kimi, time to print new t-shirts. My suggestion: “Don’t worry, I’m getting out of the f’ing way!”

    I’ll take an XL one please.

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