Thursday, 14 November 2013

Why, er, it'll not be Valsecchi

Ok, so I got that completely wrong, but that just shows how necessary it is to have as much information as possible. And even Joe Saward got it wrong, so I'm in good company.

It is still about the money though, and this whole affair shows that off-track activities are as (if not more) interesting than what's happened on the tarmac recently. And let's be clear, by "off-track" I am (for once) not referring to the modern habit of crossing the white line at the edge of the circuit.

So the story goes like this: Lotus are currently fourth in the Constructor's Championship (WCC). They are 26 points behind Ferrari. They could theoretically pass Ferrari, but it is unlikely. Passing Ferrari would be very good for Lotus. There would be several million reasons for Messrs Boullier and Lux to smile if they did.

Exactly how much it would mean we don't know (because of the lack of transparency in the Concorde agreement) but it must be in the region of 20 million dollars. That would be worth striving for. Worth paying off one contracted driver (Valsecchi) and employing another. And Heikki wouldn't need much in the way of remuneration - he's keen to just show he can still cut it. A quarter of a million dollars per race?

It's still a long shot though.

So far this season, with Kimi (aka points-scoring machine) on board, Lotus have netted on average 16.5 points per race. At that rate, those 33 points would give them a seven point lead over Ferrari, which would essentially need Ferrari not to finish either race, which isn't going to happen.

So Lotus will be fourth in the WCC. Whatever happens. At least, that was my logic. There is no way this will change, and therefore no point in ruffling feathers.

Apparently it's not just a truism that teams say "it's not over until it's mathematically impossible". I get that. But actively betting heavily on a long shot doesn't make sense to me. Maybe I'm not enough of a racer.But I prefer to think of it as only fighting battles that I think I stand a chance of winning.

It does though, raise the question of whether Ferrari put pressure on Kimi to have the operation now to stop him scoring points (I don't think so) and whether Maranello paid Sauber/Hulkenberg to stop him going there (again, I don't think so). Sauber allegedly still owe Ferrari money, so that doesn't really add up.

For The Hulk to have driven at Lotus this weekend, there would have had to have been an agreement reached with the Contract Recognition Board in Geneva. Maybe that could have happened quickly enough, maybe not, but it would be difficult for The Hulk to show that Sauber are in breach of contract to an extent that he could get an immediate release.

It's possible, but sadly in F1 it's often best to assume that a team will do whatever will upset its rivals the most. Which is why there is never agreement on anything.

Anyway, today's predictions are:
  • Heikki will struggle with the tyres and will not be able to use the same strategy as Grosjean in the race. He may scrape a couple of points.
  • Valsecchi will be unhappy, having missed probably his only chance to start a Grand Prix, for no valid reason
  • Lotus will finish fourth in the WCC
I will, no doubt, be retracting those on Monday...

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