Lotus to retain Raikkonen and Grosjean for 2013

 Boullier confirms Grosjean’s future, despite numerous incidents throughout the year

Although Romain Grosjean has endured a frustrating and incident-filled 2012 season, Lotus team principal Eric Boullier confirmed after the Korean Grand Prix last Sunday that the Frenchman would remain at Lotus next season. The Frenchman will once again race alongside Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen, after his superb comeback season.

Whereas Kimi Raikkonen has so far completed every racing lap of the current season, a feat achieved by no other driver on the grid, Romain Grosjean has struggled greatly throughout certain race weekends. From colliding with the likes of Michael Schumacher at Malaysia and Lewis Hamilton at Belgium, to finishing 2nd at the Canadian Grand Prix, Grosjean’s 2012 season has been one of incredibly mixed emotions.

However, with Lotus confirming that the likable Frenchman will remain a Lotus driver next season, it seems the hangdog expression on his face seen throughout the Korean Grand Prix weekend can finally lift. With Grosjean avoiding all types of contact during the race, especially during the melee that was the opening three corners, the former GP2 Champion stormed to a competitive 7th position which included a lengthy battle with the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg.

After the race last Sunday, Lotus team principal Eric Boullier confirmed that Romain Grosjean would remain a Lotus driver alongside Kimi Raikkonen for the 2013 season, dispelling rumors that the Frenchman could be dropped by the Enstone-based outfit after his numerous on-track skirmishes. Boullier has explained that the contract is ready and waiting for him, and has been approved by the relevant board within the team.
"He has been reassured about his future and that he is going to stay with us, but I cannot commit today.” Explained Eric Boullier to the BBC, after the Korean Grand Prix. “There is a situation with the FIA and the race-ban suspension so I have to do it at the right time. We have [had] internal discussions. Everything is ready, the contract is ready and has been approved by the board. It is just a question of finding the possibility to do it."

At the start of the Belgian Grand Prix last month, Romain Grosjean was the catalyst in the multi-car incident which took out Championship contenders Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, including the Sauber of Sergio Perez. This extremely violent incident, which so nearly saw Alonso’s head make contact with Grosjean’s out-of-control Lotus, saw the Frenchman issued with a one-race ban. Eric Boullier firmly believes that this ban has had a positive effect on him, and that he has learned from it despite his collision with Mark Webber at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix.

"In the end it had a positive effect on him," continued Eric Boullier. "He understood it, he came to Monza on his own and he clearly wanted to rebuild himself. He deserves to be in Formula 1, we brought him back because we believe he has a future in Formula 1. I would be a bit foolish to bring him back and then get rid of him. There are many different reasons why he has had problems in the first corner. The first thing is to step back a bit and keep your line and just get through the first corner. Then you can race."

Amid one of the most intriguing “silly seasons’ which Formula 1 has witnessed in its long and vibrant history, with the likes of Lewis Hamilton on the move, it seems the Lotus driver line-up will remain the same for next season. However, many other midfield teams such as Sauber, Force India and Williams have yet to confirm their line-up and continue to play host to ongoing rumors and speculations as this highly unique season draws to a thrilling conclusion.

Fonte: Nextgen-Auto

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