Daily #F1 News and Comment: Tuesday 14th January 2014

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Kimi back to work

Leimer thinks he “deserves it”

The truth of the “third driver”


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.

Kimi… Work?

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.

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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.

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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.

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8 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Tuesday 14th January 2014

  1. I am utterly baffled by Lotus. It’s like they are driven to fail catastrophically. How can you have their results and not at least be able to make the entry fee. I don’t think mismanagement even begins to cover it. Do you think that Quantum really did snow them? What a mess.

    Although I suppose it is technically correct to say that Patrick Louis did successfully restructure their finances, they just left out the “from bad to worse” part, LOL

    • Well, i totally follow you. But then i thought of barcelona and madrid. 2 of the major football clubs, world wide. With more debt than than greece. And greece went bankrupt. Where as the two football clubs still spend money (that they don’t got, and will never have again). And still almost everybody wants to play for them. Maybe lotus is trying the same tactics. Because it’s not like the clubs don’t get sportive success. Maybe, just maybe, lotus become worldchampion this year, with drivers who don’t get payed. Engineers who have to beg for coins during the week… and who will be laughing then? 😎

      • Lotus is not going for the title this year. It will be midfield, and they will be lucky if they can make it to all the races.
        When you don’t pay your crew, they start thinking about their resumes instead of the 2014 car.

      • You may be closer to the truth than you think. Here in the States, the boards of directors of even major orchestras have been locking musicians out, claiming they can’t afford to pay them anymore. Then they will offer the same spots out at reduced salary. And the sad thing is, there is always someone to take the job at half what it previously payed, with no benefits.

        A mate of mine said, it’s like they know we have to do this, that’s how they get away with it.

        Sounds like Lotus have the same plan, LOL.

        • and for some reason the average voter (nvrmind the tools who dont vote) seem to think that “austerity” is good for them! lol… gov’t welfare for the working poor = bad; lucrative, lustily-awarded no-bid contracts for the private intelligence corporate elite = good!

          lol…

          If people had any sense they’d hang their political “leaders” from lamp posts and they’d toss out Bernie and CVC on their bums!

          But now it starts to make sense why the NSA has a worldwide surveillance system targeted at…everyone (and it’s not b/c of some existential terrorism threat! … it’s b/c we the plebs are the threat if we ever awake from our sonambulic state!)

  2. LOL LOL LOL………Kimi back to work, Your Honour’s sense of humer is right down my street.

    One of the best quotes I ever heard from Kimi on track walks was, when asked why he hadn’t taken part? He replied, “what’s the point, it hasn’t changed since last time we were here!” I do like the say it how it is mentality he has.

  3. I think Marco Sorensen was announced as the third/reserve (but no doubt they will take someone on who would pay 2/3m Euros), who is in the young driver program. Maybe this was to avoid him driving in FR3.5 ($500,000+) once more.

    I am happy that Valsecchi at least is due some wages (if small), I genuinely thought he was there for free (or with some phantom backing). I’m amazed that Leimer’s backer Rainer Gendenbein has apparently spent $16m on getting him to where he is now (the article is blanked out).

    Leimer’s had 4 ‘learning’ years and 4 competitive ones, so given a year of F1 testing (old style), he could probably be competitive in F1 after some experience (but of course that isn’t likely to happen now). At least he has driven in a YDT with Sauber.

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