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Kimi back to work
Kimi arrived in Maranello yesterday to spend three days working with the engineers in the simulator according to the Ferrari press office.
“It’s good to be back at work,” a statement quoting Kimi declares. “I began by getting used to all the new systems and procedures that we will use this year”.
All this is jolly fine and quite reasonable, however it’s at this point Mr Bisignani – the Scuderia head of communications- begins a flight of fancy. Kimi’s statement continues, “From this point of view, the simulator is really very useful”.
Oh dear. There goes a fine cup of coffee all over the keyboard.
OK…that’s not reaching too far.
Kimi saying a simulator is useful?
I don’t think so.
This is the man who refused point blank to do simulator work even when he was about top drive a circuit he’s never been to previously. On top of that, Kimi believes track walks are a waste of time.
Kimi may well enjoy the opportunity to hide behind the Ferrari PR and party line as it’s less time he has to spend with the media. Still… come Bahrain, we’ll be hearing plenty from Fernando if he believes the car is behind where he expects it to be and there’s every chance that could happen.
Leimer thinks he “deserves it”
Tj13 recently highlighted the diminishing esteem with which the GP2 series is held by the movers and shakers recruiting the F1 rookies of the future.
Both Helmut Marko and Martin Whitmarsh believe the better future F1 prospects are driving outside the Ecclestone/CVC owned series. Both have put their money where their mouths are and recruited rookie F1 drivers from GP3 and RWS for their respective racing teams.
It seems as though the winner of the GP2 series 2013 doesn’t understand the sands have shifted and times have changed. He would probably do well to have a chat with Davide Valsecchi, which is understandable because since 2005 every GP2 series winner got a drive in F1 until 2013.
Swiss publication Blick states that Fabio Leimer believes he should have been given a chance in F1. “From a sporting point of view I deserve it”, says Leimer. Yet maybe the fact that GP2 is no longer a guaranteed rout into F1 is a good thing.
Since when was anyone guaranteed a drive in F1?
Either young drivers had talent, connections, money or were just down right cheeky.
Leimer’s problem is that no one rates the GP2 drivers ahead of other series any more and as Roger Benoit writes – it appears that Leimer’s financial backing from Rainer Gantenbein has dried up too.
The truth of the “third driver”
The problems in Enstone rumble on. The team is missing the Jerez test and they are only listed as conditional entrants for 2014 due to their difficulties in raising the $2m required for the FIA entrance. fee.
The departing Davide Valsecchi reveals what TJ13 has been reporting for some time, that the role of the reserve driver is merely one of a lacky. “According to my contract my salary was like that of a waiter,” Further, Valsecchi adds, “They haven’t paid me yet. I’m sure that as soon as they’ll be in a position to do so, they’ll solve their debt.”
The departing Kimi revealed the Lotus team were behind on paying their debts and now someone with the stature within the team of a ‘waiter’ is discussing in public his ex-team’s financial woes. If these stories were untrue and the impression being created were false, Lotus would be enraged by this.
Clearly these impressions of a team in financial meltdown are not false and the disgraceful financial management of the team is the responsibility of someone.
Lotus have spun the yarn that the exit of their CEO Patrick Louis was because he had successfully restructured the finances of the team and his departure was not due to the financial chaos which currently prevails.
To be fair to Valsecchi, whilst he expressed his ‘anger’ and ‘bitterness’ at the team’s decision to overlook him as Kimi’s replacement, he softens this with gratitude. “I’m very grateful to Lotus for having chosen me as third driver, without asking anything in return. I can’t complain,”
Clearly, Leimer brought no finance to the team, though the role of third driver/development driver often does bring finance to the midfield and smaller teams as Valsecchi reveals. “Try to look for a job as third driver without paying a single euro! We’re talking about a team that could sell a seat for at least two or three million euros.”
Times are bad when a top 4 team is looking to raise its entrance fee to their F1 campaign off the back of handing out a third driver seat. Lotus at present have not announced their third driver.