Renault inadvertently admit Grosjean is leaving Lotus for 2016

button on maldonado

During the latter stages of the 2015 Singapore GP, there was an on track battle between Jenson Button and Pastor Maldonado.

The Venezuelan made a desperate move on Button and ran wide onto the run off area as a result. He re-joined just ahead of Button into the next turn.

However, Maldonado appeared to park it on the corner to ensure Button could not re-take the position and Jenson hit the back of his Lotus car.

When questioned after the race, Jenson commented, I don’t think he brake-tested me on the exit, but he didn’t accelerate, so it was a bit of a surprise.”

Jenson collided with the rear of the Lotus and later retired from the race with unrelated car problems.

The stewards decided no action was required from them, which surprised Button who was adamant: “The corner before that, he just drove me off the circuit. If there was a wall there I would have been in it – very strange.

“He hasn’t changed and he won’t ever change.”

Pastor Maldonado has now hit back at the criticism from the McLaren–Honda driver.

“No driver’s happy if there’s a car in front of them and they want to get past, especially if it damages their car trying to overtake.

“We both got damage to our cars; he was behind me trying to get past, I was defending my position. That’s racing”.

Lotus have since confirmed that Maldonado will be driving for them in 2016, regardless of the outcome of a possible Renault takeover of the Enstone team.

Pastor Maldonado has finished just 5 races from 13 this season, twice in the points with two 7th places. By comparison his team mate Romain Grosjean has 9 race finishes, 6 top 10 finishes and a podium in Belgium.

Grosjean has announced he has decided where he will be next year and it appears it will not be at Lotus. Speaking to French broadcaster Canal+ yesterday, Cyril Abiteboul admitted, “It’s a shame we couldn’t talk about it [Grosjean staying at Enstone], but we maybe were not ready in time. It’s all about timing. Romain is a great driver, he deserves a great team.”

The Renault buyout of Lotus is still dependent on Ecclestone giving the French F1 manufacturer proper recognition for prior world titles won.

Red Bull Racing receive $80 million a year for their historic contribution to Formula One.

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14 responses to “Renault inadvertently admit Grosjean is leaving Lotus for 2016

  1. I was expecting this to happen sooner or later. I bet the Enstone team regretted replacing Petrov with Grosjean, and now they want their Russian back.

  2. I honestly think that one of these grands prix Maldonado and he mishaps is going to get himself or other driver(s) seriously injured.

    As far as Grosjean, with all of the uncertainty surrounding the Lotus team right now, he can’t be blamed for looking for another drive for 2016. I think that he will bring valuable experience to Haas (or McLaren if he signs with them).

    Does Sergio Perez end up at Lotus? If so, who takes the open seat?

    • Can’t see anyone but Magnussen or Vandoorne ending up at McLaren if they do decide to ditch Jenson. (Or he walks)

      It would be a shame to see Perez + Maldonado at Lotus – Perez has his moments but isn’t a top class driver. If that does happen though then where better for Mercedes to put Werlein (or however you spell his name! 🙂 ) – more competitive than Manor will ever be and probably in need of some financial support in terms of cheap engines.

      Definitely agree on Maldonado though – how he didn’t get done for that I don’t know. Even on the road that would be 50/50, on the race track it is just stupid.

  3. Renault is acting too slow and it is going to hurt them. The driver market is moving on, Lotus had to resign Crashonaldo to be able to pay the tax this week. So Renault is stuck with a B-choice driver who’s sponsor budget goes for 50% to damage repairs, who hardly earns vital points and who’s sponsor conflicts with Total. They loose a talented experienced driver who knows the team well and now have to find a new one on the market. O yes, Vergne, not a bad driver, but can he carry a whole team?
    And still that Renault engine is an underdeveloped brick which Renault is still not properly investing in.

    What the fawk is Renault’s plan? Run around at the very back every race? Hell, even Manor’s have a chance to beat them next year with a Mercedes engine. Lotus chassis is not even close to Torro Rosso’s. So that’s where they will be minus 6 positions.

    • Renault’s plans have to be for 2017 and beyond. It’s too late for them to turn things around for 2016 anyway so they are focused on setting things up for the long term. Driving a hard bargain with Bernie and Lopez may be slowing things up and hurting them in the driver’s market but puts them in a better financial position down the road. Taking pay drivers helps cash in the short term. This makes the deal look better to the French government and gives them the time and the cash to focus development on 2017. Remember, the technical regs will get a bit of a shakeup for 2017 so spending resources there could pay dividends a la Brawn in 2009 or Merc in 2014.

      It may not look like they have been developing the engine because they haven’t spent any tokens this year, but I suspect they are holding them back to have more time to develop the package further and take into consideration what they are working on for 2016. They will probably spend them at the very end of the season. It’s not like they are worried about helping Red Bull anymore.

      Of course this is all just my own wild speculation…

  4. Renault have made their mind up to jump out haven’t they. Surely that can’t help their marketing, though I guess they must have looked at this. In my eyes, it does make me think they are not up to it without someone chucking a boat load of cash, or switching the rules up again. At least Honda is still at it, I hope they make a step change next year, I really do, we need 4-5-6 engine manufacturers in F1, not 2 or 3 at best.

    James Alan has been rumouring the Grosjean move to Haas for a bit now, so it is no surprise really. They want an experienced hand along side whichever rookie/money star they stick in, and I’d say Grosjeans a good choice, whilst from his point of view all he could see was probably financial collapse, or a take over from the team with the second worst engine on the grid… Hmmm. This was at least he is getting a Ferrari MKII, decent engine, and a link to a team that might have a top seat going in 2017… no brainer if you ask me!

  5. Maldonado and Perez at Renault next year. Lot’s of money coming in too till Renault find their feet sponsorswise.

  6. Red Bull Racing receive $80 million a year for their historic contribution to Formula One.

    Well, if they make good on their threat to leave, their contribution will be just that – historic.

    Would make it easier to hand Renault a bung, too.

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