The Lotus F1 Team, formerly known as Benetton, and the Renault F1 Team, are currently competing in the 2012 Formula One World Championship with Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean. The Enstone based team have had a successful year and this week’s Scrutineering takes a look at the team, their season so far, as well as including some fan views!
The Benetton Team moved to Enstone in 1992 and it wasn’t long until they were winning championships – their first being with Michael Schumacher in 1994. In 2002 the team was purchased and they became known as Renault F1, enjoying success with Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006, when they took both the driver title and the constructors’. The team last ran under the Renault marque in 2010, with Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov.
Lotus-Renault GP (2011)
In 2009 Genii Capital acquired a large stake in the Renault F1 team, and at the end of 2010 they bought Renault’s remaining 25% and joined forces with Group Lotus. And soLotus Renault GP was born. With Kubica injured after a rally accident, the team drafted in Nick Heidfeld to drive alongside Petrov. They revived the iconic black and gold livery, used by Lotus in the 70s and 80s, as well as officially becoming a British team, having raced under a French licence in the Renault days. Petrov scored his maiden podium at the Australian GP, something which Heidfeld backed up with a third in Malaysia. They were the only two non Red Bull, McLaren or Ferrari drivers to reach the podium in 2011. Heidfeld was replaced by Bruno Senna from the Belgian GP onwards. The team finished fifth overall in the championship.
Lotus F1 Team (2012 – ?)
For the 2012 season Lotus Renault GP became known as Lotus F1 Team and signed up 2007 world champion Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean. With ten podiums so far this season, including a win in Abu Dhabi, Lotus F1 Team sit fourth in the championship, just 30 points behind McLaren and 152 points clear of Mercedes. Räikkönen is the only driver this season who has completed every racing lap and he is third in the championship, mathematically out of contention, but comfortably ahead of Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton – an impressive comeback indeed. Grosjean has had an up and down season, but with three podiums he is within the top ten, and just five points off Felipe Massa in seventh.
2011 + 2012 statistics
Points finishes: 41/74
What the fans say and like about them!
- Like that they brought back the iconic black and gold JPS livery
- They brought Kimi back!!
- They are breaking into the big teams in the championship
- They gave Nick Heidfeld a seat! (from a Heidfeld fan)
- Kimi’s Abu Dhabi win
- Reliability has been strong this season
- Ayao Komatsu – a great race engineer
- Their interaction with fans on Twitter – top notch
- Their pit-stop 360 advert that shows on Sky is very insightful
- Their competitions e.g. the #Kimi33 birthday competition
- They have a “championship pedigree”
- Their April Fools joke about Kimi being left handed fooled A LOT of people… it was great! (see here for an explanation)