Op-Ed: Scratch ‘Team Lotus’ off my list of who to root for in 2011

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I really was very close to going with whatever the Lotus-lite team was going to be called as my favorite outfit next year.

But I think I’d made it very clear that my support was contingent on one little thing: They’re dumping Jarno Trulli.

Well, now that Grace has helpfully posted the 2011 driver list, I know I can scratch Lotus off my prospective list of teams.

While there are plenty of TBDs and holes in line-ups, Lotus’ is complete: the now injured Heikki Kovalainen and Trulli will return next season.

My question: Why?

More so than any other driver on the grid in 2010, I don’t see what Jarno brings to the table. I do know — as I’ve said — that he is philanthropic and an apparently decent guy. But philanthropy and being nice doesn’t make a car go faster.

And last time I checked, that was a pretty big part of the job description for an F1 driver.

Now, it may seem like I’m taking this too seriously. But the thing is, I really don’t have a team to root for. And nothing close to a driver. I had high hopes “Team Lotus” might fill the void next year.

I like Heikki. As well as the next driver, at least. And I can squint whenever the cars are on the screen and pretend it really is an old Lotus come back from the past. But Jarno, well, he’s a non-starter for me. I can’t do it.

I was hoping, beyond hope, the team might surprise me and pull in a driver I could be excited about next season. Nico Hulkenberg? I’d be willing to give the guy a “woot” or two. Karun Chandhok? Of course! Nick Heidfeld? For sure.

Instead, I’m still adrift in the F1 world, team-less and driver-less. I’m sort of like F1B’s version of HRT.

And that’s enough to make me panic.

So, I was going to hold on on this question for a bit, maybe even try to make it to the pre-season tests. But I’m not sure I can wait.

I’m open to suggestions: Which team should I root for in 2011? Which driver?


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