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While Kimi Raikkonen re-kindles his Ferrari romance in Maranello, some thought has to be given to the team he left. Did he leave due to the lack of paychecks? Probably but the fact that James Allison left and the team was being poached heavily—that’s usually a sign that the folks made themselves poachable in the first place—is most likely the reason it is no shock that the world champion left.

A few months on and we see the team boss, Eric Boullier, leave as well so things are looking sour at Lotus F1 these days. Even their, presumably, 20-something fueled Twitter account isn’t tweeting pictures of rabbits mating or the cute quips that scream a voice of youthful exuberance. There is a place and time for that right?

So is there life after Kimi? I suspect there is and if four podium finishes out of the last six races is any indication, Romain Grosjean may be asking who this “Kimi” character is anyway.

Ultimately it will come down to money and the car but I doubt the team will suffer from driver aptitude or motivation. Grosjean is rising to his game and seeing the future he always believed he had in Formula 1. He teams with a man named Maldonado who is bringing cash so Grosjean can run.

Remaining realistic about how competitive the car can be given Renault Sport F1’s engine and ERS issues in Jerez and the lack of development funds for the 2014 season, the money issues will most likely be the bane of Grosjean’s existence at Lotus F1. Like German Nico Hulkenberg, many may be left asking why this young man isn’t moving to a better-financed team.

What do you think? Can Lotus F1 compete in 2014 like they have in the past? The loss of engineering wonks and Kimi Raikkonen surely sting and the departure of the man who mentored Grosjean back to health from his near-expulsion year in 2012 has pushed off to McLaren. So where does this leave Lotus F1 realistically?

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • mini696

    Kimi didn’t make Lotus, therefore Kimi didn’t kill Lotus.
    Lotus did a good enough job at killing themselves.

  • Rik

    Kimi leaving was just another rat abandoning a sinking ship. If Lotus could not afford Kimi, Allison then they don’t have the funds to make a good 214 car so Poor Grojean is stuck in a team which his French manager has even left so he is a sitting duck in a turkey of a team.

    • Spot on. People think that Kimi left because he was greedy for money and wouldn’t race if he didn’t get paid. I don’t think that is the case.

      Kimi is an intelligent driver and he must’ve realized that if Lotus can’t pay him, they cannot afford to fund development for 2014 like the other big names. I think the fact that a competitive car could not be guaranteed is the reason for his departure. If Lotus wouldve guaranteed a championship challenging for 2014, we wouldve seen Kimi in black and gold this season.

  • jimbo

    On their non-appearance at Jerez … did they have a sniff of power problems ?

  • Mike Steck

    Hmmm. me thinks it will be a mid-pack team for sure. RG is raising his game, no doubt, but so many $ issues seem to exist and with a talent drain, and the possibility of the Engines at Renault not being top-notch, I can’t see the team making huge strides forward on such a demanding curve such as F1 requires…

  • peterriva

    Grosjean does not do well when he’s desperate and the lack of funds/car development/lack of management – all these may make him and all at Lotus eager (ie desperate) to prove themselves – especially that agent provocateur Permaine. I foresee (if the engine works) a strong performance at the outset of the season quickly fading as funds and lack of technical support deprive the team of advancement in races 2 and 3. If the engine also does not work as promised (ie equal to Mercedes and Ferrari) they may not even make race one.
    Issues to watch (as signs):
    1. Renault power problems depriving Grosjean from “proving himself”
    2. Maldonado knocking off noses ($$)
    3. Maldonado not up fronting money (the Venezuelan media says it’s a pay out over time).
    4. The next man to leave – anyone know the names and whereabouts of the pit crew from 2013?