The #F1 Bar Exam: 22 May 2014

Welcome to another week of TheJudge13 #F1 Bar Exam.

Last week’s question(s): Can you name the driver, team and race in the photo. How many races did the team win and who was the team drivers in the season of the race?

The answer(s) I was looking for were: The driver in the photo is Éric Bernard driving the Lotus 109 during the 1994 European Grand Prix at Jerez in Spain. During this season the team won no races but in Lotus’ span in Formula 1 they did win 73 races (not including the new Lotus F1 team). The drivers for the 1994 season were Johnny Herbert, Alessandro Zanardi, Pedro Lamy, Mika Salo, Phillipe Adams and Eric Bernard.

The once great marque of Team Lotus was rapidly descending into what would eventually result in its final demise. Long gone were the glory days of Jim Clark, Graham Hill and Emerson Fittipaldi along with their multiple drivers and constructors championships. Their visionary Colin Chapman had died in 1982 and so began their slow descent into mediocrity. Ayrton Senna had given them a brief glimpse of what had been with his six wins during the 1980’s but those days were becoming ever more distant. Their last win had been with Ayrton Senna at Detroit in 1987. Their last podium had been Nelson Piquet coming third in Australia in 1988.

Johnny Herbert had managed to get into the points in several races during 1993. But it was in 1994 that everything started to collapse around them. Johnny Herbert was still driving for them but the highest he had been able to manage was seventh, and then only when there was significant attrition of the cars in front of him.

Pedro Lamy broke both legs and was knocked unconscious when he crashed at high speed testing at Silverstone. He was replaced by Alex Zanardi, who was able to get 9th at his first race at Spain but after that never got into the top 10 again. By the Belgium Grand Prix the team was desperate for money and Philippe Adams was willing to pay 500,000 for the privilege of driving two races. He replaced Zanardi but he was a rookie, and it showed, spinning the car while being lapped by Rubens Barrichello, but doing slightly better at Portugal where he managed to finish in 16th.

They threw every cent they had into the Italian GP and purchased a cutting edge Mugen- Honda engine and Herbert wrestled the car onto 4th on the grid. Maybe it was all going to fall into place. Then it all came to nothing when Eddie Irvine locked up and crashed into the back of Herbert, taking him out on the first corner. Lotus owner, Peter Collins, was furious. “Irvine’s three-race suspension at the beginning of the year was far too short. His brain has obviously been removed and it is about time his license is too.

The Italian GP was the final nail in the coffin of the death of Lotus. After the Portugal Grand Prix Herbert left to go to Ligier. It was no longer a question of if the team would fold, but would it even see out the season. At the European Grand Prix Eric Barnard was bought in for one race to replace Johnny Herbert. He would finish 18th with teammate Zanardi in 16th.

It was after this race the British High Court ruled that unless Lotus’s performance improved significantly the team would have to be sold to cover its massive debts. They went on to score no points for the whole season, sitting at the bottom of the table along with Simtek and Pacific. David Hunt, younger brother of James Hunt, bought the team but was unable to secure enough backing to compete in 1995. It was the end of an era in Formula One.

Well done to Taflach, Milestone11, Johnny, Reinis, CTP, Dave, Cassius42, Alan, Thomas888, Tony, Jason, AV2290 and The13thDuke.

This week’s question(s): Can you name the driver and car in the photo. What was the purpose of driving the car and what involvement did this driver have with Formula 1 other than just being a driver?

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