Lotus F1 team thinks it might lose Romain Grosjean
|By Jonathan Noble||Tuesday, May 20th 2014, 13:27 GMT|
Lotus fears it may have a fight on its hands to keep hold of Romain Grosjean if it does not keep pushing up the Formula 1 grid this season.
Although the team has recovered from a disastrous start to the campaign to become a regular points challenger, the Enstone-based outfit is still adrift of where it ended last year.
And that has left team owner Gerard Lopez worried that rival teams may sense an opportunity to prise Grosjean away for next season if he can be tempted with more competitive machinery elsewhere.
When asked if he could sense a battle to keep hold of Grosjean for 2015, Lopez said: "We might.
"We don't have the budget of some of the other teams, so there is a point up until which we fight.
"But Romain is really happy here, he is part of the family, and I don't think he is planning on going anywhere."
Lopez says Lotus rejected overtures for Grosjean last year, but admits enquiries have already begun again.
"His drives last year meant there were a couple of teams knocking on the door to find out what he was doing, and now we've the same this year.
"I'm not saying Romain is going, but what I am saying is that here is a driver who was criticised, and now suddenly people are saying he is a driver who could pretty much drive for any team."
STILL FAITH IN MALDONADO
While Grosjean has continued to impress this year, his new team-mate Pastor Maldonado has struggled.
But Lopez thinks that the way Grosjean turned his career around in recent years gives him reason to have faith that Maldonado can do the same.
"He's a driver who needs to understand that in certain circumstances, with his speed, then 95, 96, 97 per cent should get him to where he wants to be," he said.
"And then once in Q3 give it 100, or event 105 per cent.
"We've lived partially the same thing with Romain. People wrote him off, but now we've people knocking on our door to see if he can be in their team.
"We take a long-term view on things, so we're not particularly worried. We'll get the best out of Pastor."