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F1: Lotus To Give Raikkonen Time To Shake Off Rust Photo:
 
 
Mike Stevens | Dec, 14 2011 | 0 Comments
  • Lotus to give Raikkonen time to shake off rust
  • Lotus still happy to let drivers take risks
  • Di Resta, Alguersuari, hint F1 careers set to continue
  • Red Bull to launch 2012 car before first test
  • De Villota eyes F1 deal for Christmas
 

Lotus to give Raikkonen time to shake off rust

Although Dany Bahar has admitted signing Kimi Raikkonen involves Lotus spending "a big amount of money", he expects the 2007 world champion to be a bit rusty initially.

Asked to compare the Finn's return with the difficult F1 comeback experienced by Michael Schumacher, team title sponsor Group Lotus' chief executive said: "Definitely it is a gamble with Kimi as well.

"He has maybe taken two years, but we have the time for Kimi as well."

Bahar is quoted by Finland's Turun Sanomat: "Whether it takes three days, six races or 20 races, remains to be seen.

"The important thing is that Kimi steadily improves. As long as this happens, we give him time."

But there have been questions about 32-year-old Raikkonen's basic motivation, with some commentators thinking he did not take his earlier career with McLaren and Ferrari seriously enough.

"He has grown up, he is no longer young," Bahar insisted.

"He knows what he is doing and what is expected of him. I believe he will take things a little more seriously."

Also being given another chance is Eric Boullier, following speculation the team principal was on the way out.

"After a not-so-good year you are often criticised," said Bahar. "The important thing is he learns from it and identifies the areas where he has to strengthen, and he has done that."

(GMM)

 

Lotus still happy to let drivers take risks

Even after losing Robert Kubica's services to serious injury and seeing new star recruit Kimi Raikkonen hurt his wrist at the weekend, Lotus will continue to let its drivers run their own lives.

With Pole Kubica still not recovered from his horror pre-season rallying crash, Lotus' new signing Raikkonen fell whilst racing a snowmobile in Austria at the weekend, spraining his wrist.

Writing in Blick newspaper, veteran correspondent Roger Benoit said Lotus' attitude is "almost negligent".

"Have they learned nothing from the Kubica incident?" he asked.

But Dany Bahar, Lotus Group chief executive, told reporters he will not wrap the F1 team's drivers in cotton wool, amid reports Raikkonen's teammate Romain Grosjean has been racing karts in France.

"It is part of our job to do things that are risky, we do it commercially and corporately, Kimi does it in his own life," Bahar is quoted as saying by Reuters.

"Kimi is Kimi and it will be difficult to change the way he lives," added Bahar.

Raikkonen's teammate for 2012 is new GP2 champion Grosjean, whose French nationality is a "godsend" for happy sponsors like oil company Total, team boss Eric Boullier admitted.

But he replaces Vitaly Petrov, the sponsored-funded Russian, and Brazilian Bruno Senna has also departed.

"It's a brave decision to say 'We're not after the money, we try to go the hard way ... we try to succeed through performance ... maybe not to go after 'pay drivers' any more", said Bahar.

(GMM)

 

Di Resta, Alguersuari, hint F1 careers set to continue

Two Formula One drivers on Tuesday hinted strongly that, despite not yet having official confirmation, they are staying on the grid in 2012.

Paul di Resta, the most successful rookie this year, was asked by F1's official website if it is true that he will be staying at Force India next season.

"I can't say anything," said the Scot, ahead of boss Dr Vijay Mallya's scheduled December 15 announcement about the Silverstone based team's 2012 lineup.

"The only thing that I can say is that I am still working closely with the team and helping with the new car," added di Resta.

"I will do some simulator work over the next week and hopefully by then Dr Mallya and his board will have made up their minds about their 2012 driver line-up."

Di Resta insisted that his manager Anthony Hamilton will be working on a 'plan B' in case he, unlike other contenders Adrian Sutil and Nico Hulkenberg, is left out of Force India's plans.

"I don't think that this is something that you want to think about, but sure you have to think about a worst-case scenario -- and thank goodness I have Anthony doing that for me," he said.

Another driver expected to keep his seat next year is Jaime Alguersuari, who on Tuesday was attending an event for Toro Rosso's main sponsor Cepsa, a Spanish oil company.

Asked by the sports newspaper AS if he has any news about whether team owner Red Bull has decided to keep him on board for 2012, the Spaniard answered: "No.

"Today I just want to enjoy this day with Cepsa, because I think their presence in F1 is great for Spain, for the sport and for Toro Rosso."

Asked when he is expecting to find out more, he insisted: "I have no idea, it's up to Red Bull. (It's) definitely not (up to) me."

Finally, Alguersuari - whose teammate Sebastien Buemi is also expected to keep his seat - was asked if a new contract would be the best Christmas present.

"First of all I ask for good health, because that's more important than anything, but after that I want a great year for F1, to continue evolving as a team and obviously a great season ending with good results with Toro Rosso.

"I have some commitments coming up in Madrid and then Barcelona and then I will begin preparations for next season," he added.

(GMM)

 

Red Bull to launch 2012 car before first test

The car in which Sebastian Vettel will push for an ultra-rare triple back-to-back world championship will be launched on February 5.

That is the claim of France's Auto Hebdo, with the autohebdo.fr website saying the official unveiling of the 2012 Red Bull will take place at the energy drink-owned team's Milton Keynes headquarters.

February 5 is two days before the first official test of the 2012 pre-season kicks off at Jerez, and the RB8's designer Adrian Newey has revealed the intention is to take the new car to the Spanish circuit.

"Adrian and the guys are pushing very hard to get the car ready for next year," said Vettel recently.

Meanwhile, it is believed the new Lotus (nee Renault) will be launched a day later than the Red Bull.

The precise date of the Williams launch is not yet known, but Auto Hebdo claims the FW34 will be revealed for the first time not in Europe but in Doha, the capital of Qatar where the British team has a technical facility.

It has been reported that the Oxfordshire based team is close to inking a major sponsorship deal with the Doha-based Qatar National Bank.

(GMM)

 

De Villota eyes F1 deal for Christmas

Female Spanish driver Maria de Villota has hinted she may find out before Christmas if she will have an official role at Lotus in 2012.

The 31-year-old said recently she is close to signing a contract to become third driver for the former Renault team in 2012.

"You cannot assume something before it is assured," she is quoted by Marca sports newspaper, admitting that a F1 contract "would be the perfect Christmas gift".

The last woman to enter the world championship was Italian Giovanna Amati, who failed to qualify for Brabham three times in 1992 before she was replaced by future title winner Damon Hill.

(GMM)

 
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