Should Lotus retain Jarno Trulli in 2011? (And, as a side question, if so, should they also keep Heikki Kovalainen?)
Jarno seems to think both drivers will be back, as he told Autosport, and he’s also enthusiastic about the team’s progress:
“I should be here like Heikki, and it should be confirmed soon,” he told AUTOSPORT. “The team is currently looking after some other stuff – but the announcement should be soon.”
With Lotus having signed a deal for a supply of Red Bull Racing gearboxes and transmissions for 2011 to complement its expected Renault engine, Trulli believes that everything is falling in to place for the team to begin fighting for regular points.
“I can say things are shaping up very well,” said Trulli. “Definitely compared to last year, it is shaping up in a much better way.
“I can really see we are heading in the right direction. When I joined the team I always said that I knew it was going to be a terrible first season, because I am realistic, and we have had a difficult season as expected.
“So it has been hard, but my mind was always towards 2011 â€“ going through 2010 as quick as possible, getting all the information and preparing everything to have a competitive car, realistically, to fight for the points.
“Eventually we will see, but if we put everything together with the effort, the gearbox and engine, and if we can get a reasonable good aero development, then I think we can fight for the points which will be a great achievement for a very young team. This is my focus at the moment and everybody’s topic.”
So what’s the fight? It’s between Grace and me. I don’t see why the team would keep Jarno. What’s he done lately other than the second place at last year’s Japanese Grand Prix? Who cares about him? What fan base does he excite?
Grace — who I think agrees with me that Jarno ain’t all that — counters that as a new team Lotus shouldn’t be messing with its line-up. No reason to add to the troubles that come with being new to the grid.
I get that, but isn’t one driver who has been with the team and can continue to help with development enough? Especially if you could get a driver who might help build the Lotus fan base?
Now, admittedly, I think there may only be one driver out there who fits that bill. It isn’t Nick Heidfeld. It isn’t Pedro de la Rosa.
Yeah, it’s Kimi Raikkonen. And he might not touch Lotus with a 10-foot-pole.
But if Lotus dug a bit deeper, couldn’t they find a driver that would rally a fan base? I know I’ll get laughed off the Internet here, but Karun Chandhok could help build an Indian fan base, right? What if Force India doesn’t make the move on Paul di Resta?
So, would you look to another, new driver if you were at Lotus? Who might it be? And which of your two drivers would you dump?