Even after losing Robert Kubica’s services to serious injury and seeing new star recruit Kimi Raikkonen hurt his wrist at the weekend, Lotus will continue to let its drivers run their own lives.
With Pole Kubica still not recovered from his horror pre-season rallying crash, Lotus’ new signing Raikkonen fell whilst racing a snowmobile in Austria at the weekend, spraining his wrist. Writing in Blick newspaper, veteran correspondent Roger Benoit said Lotus’ attitude is “almost negligent”.
“Have they learned nothing from the Kubica incident?” he asked.
But Dany Bahar, Lotus Group chief executive, told reporters he will not wrap the F1 team’s drivers in cotton wool, amid reports Raikkonen’s teammate Romain Grosjean has been racing karts in France.
“It is part of our job to do things that are risky, we do it commercially and corporately, Kimi does it in his own life,” Bahar is quoted as saying by Reuters. “Kimi is Kimi and it will be difficult to change the way he lives.”
Raikkonen’s teammate for 2012 is new GP2 champion Grosjean, whose French nationality is a “godsend” for happy sponsors like oil company Total, team boss Eric Boullier admitted.
But he replaces Vitaly Petrov, the sponsored-funded Russian, and Brazilian Bruno Senna has also departed.
“It’s a brave decision to say ‘We’re not after the money, we try to go the hard way … we try to succeed through performance … maybe not to go after ‘pay drivers’ any more”, said Bahar.