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Lotus says: Race!

  • Published on 09 Oct 2013 21:20
  • comments 0
  • By: Tom Spithaler
In an era where fans are all too used to team principals and paddock bosses making calls as to who will win or lose a race, leaving drivers to obey or disobey their Team's wishes, Eric Boullier simply says, let them race!

When last weekend's Korean Grand Prix came to a close as Sebastian Vettel crossed the finish line in P1 for the fourth consecutive race, fans and the motor-racing press were left with lots of talking points. Tire degradation, track condition, Red Bull's continued dominance and the question of that dominance being gained 'legally', were all hot topics. Another was the radio communications between the Team Lotus pits and Romain Grosjean as he asked for a free team-sanctioned overtake of fellow Lotus pilot Kimi Raikkonen.

Knowing that Team Lotus leaders, Principal Eric Boullier and race engineer Ayao Komatsuhad asked for Grosjean to allow Kimi past at both the British and German GP's this year, it was reasonable for Grosjean, who clearly thought he had the faster car, to be allowed past Raikkenon. However, it all comes down to team strategy.

“The team’s philosophy is always to let us race unless we’re on very different strategies where one driver could hold up the other,” said Grosjean, “and this is the right approach. Obviously we’re both competitive, but our racing has always been fair. I made a mistake in Korea which is why he got past, but this is not something I want to happen again.”

but during the race the fans saw things differently, as if the team was favoring Raikkenon. Boullier responded to these rumors by announcing, "“You have to remember that the television feed only takes certain edits from radio transmissions between the driver and the pit wall. We had Romain asking for Kimi to let him by as he felt he was faster, but we wanted to leave the drivers to determine their positions by racing on track which is why we were telling Romain to race Kimi."

“As we know, Kimi doesn’t want to talk too much to the pit wall and doesn’t need words of encouragement; he knows what he’s doing and we saw that once more in Korea.”

Boullier eventually told Grosjean on the radio to “keep racing like it is”.

Tom Spithaler
F1 Editor - USA

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