Rumors swirl aimlessly these days. Whether Kimi Raikkonen is staying at Lotus for 2014 or moving to Ferrari, we don’t know. What is for sure, however, is that Romain Grosjean could secretly be praying to see the Flying Finn in red next season.
Grosjean’s reputation as “crash-happy” is well-documented, but his talent cannot be overlooked. We must remember that on both their returns to Formula One, it was Grosjean that qualified third, while Raikkonen wound up in 18th. While that result wasn’t all Kimi’s fault, Grosjean’s impressive form is an asset to the team.
What Grosjean still has yet to learn fully, however, is how to consistently utilize it.
The Frenchman could get the opportunity to learn in 2014. Eric Boullier, team principle of Lotus, has made it abundantly clear that the team needs continuity for 2014. The new engine and aerodynamic changes will offer up enough of a challenge without the task of getting used to a new driver, so retaining Grosjean in the wake of a potential Raikkonen departure is high up on Lotus’s list of priorities.
Should Raikkonen leave, Grosjean will have the opportunity to grow in the light, rather than in the shadow, of his world champion teammate. That can do wonders for confidence, which, in the grand scheme of things, is vitally important to consistent performances in Formula One.
If Grosjean is leading Lotus, then who will be his teammate? There are a wealth of options, but the three most likely could be in the form of Nico Hulkenberg, said to be at the top of the Raikkonen replacement shortlist, Pastor Maldonado, and the recently free agent-bound, Felipe Massa. Hulkenberg’s immense talent is tantalizing, while Maldonado’s PDVSA millions are desirable in the wake of some financial issues for Lotus. Massa? Well, he offers a wealth of experience at a top team and is a reliable, if now unspectacular, points accumulator. That could be just what Lotus needs, given the sporadic nature of Grosjean.
The coming days will be very revealing in terms of the makeup of the 2014 season. Grosjean will await the Ferrari decision with bated breath.