Lotus can jump Ferrari in the constructor’s championship this Formula 1 season, Lotus team boss Eric Boullier says in a Q&A with the official F1 site.
How can that be? Let’s say the answer lies in two words: Felipe and Massa.
Q: Eric, Lotus are 14 points shy of Ferrari in the fight for P3 in the constructors’ standing. Can you give us three reasons why you can finish third?
Eric Boullier: Three reasons? Let’s see. Our determination, the excellence of the car’s design and our consistency.
Q: Why will you finish higher than Ferrari?
EB: Their package is fast but they are mainly relying on one driver. That is fine if you are chasing the drivers’ championship, but it’s not the strategy if you are chasing the constructors’ championship. We are chasing the constructors’ championship to give one of our drivers the chance to fight for the drivers’ championship. And Kimi is now in a position where we will do everything to push him.
Well, I guess we know one team where Massa won’t end up, don’t we?
Actually, Eric addresses that:
Q: What about your 2013 driver line-up? When will you announce it? Will it be Raikkonen and Grosjean again?
EB: I think it will look pretty much the same as what we have this season. With Kimi we have a two-year contract, with an option.
The interview then turns back to the past and to the decision to bring Kimi aboard.
Q: If he hadn’t decided to make a comeback with you, what was your Plan B?
EB: Ah, we had many plans. They probably weren’t so good though. There’s no question that it was a pretty cool move to get Kimi on board. We get more than the sporting results. He has brought motivation back into the company. You can feel that people admire him. Admiration can do fantastic things and it’s something that we never anticipated before. Sponsors, for example, love him, even though they know about his reputation for being a person who is difficult to handle. But that in itself is no issue at all. Kimi is playing the game. So the whole package, the whole momentum, is what makes us move forward.
Q: Whose idea was it to get Raikkonen back? It carried a lot of risks…
EB: I think it was (team Chairman) Gerard (Lopez). We had a meeting with our senior staff to speak about the future of the team and we had a list of drivers that we were thinking of signing. Kimi was on the list. I think that Gerard wanted Kimi more than anybody else – and he pushed for it. In fact it was a very simple, rational discussion.
Last thing. Just where would he hope Lotus finishes the season? No, not in first. C’mon. Don’t be silly.
Q: In an ideal world where would you want Lotus to finish the season? Would Lotus deserve it?
EB: In an ideal world we would finish second in the drivers’ championship. And we would deserve it. Everybody in this team would deserve that position.
Does everyone agree that Lotus is bound to win this season? As big a Kimi fan as I am, I’m not sure that’s in the cards. But continued consistency (and better consistency from Grosjean) could get them a little higher up in the title hunt(s).