- Best Finish: 13th (Jarno Trulli, Australia and Monaco)
- Points Scored: 0
- Championship Position: 10th
The addition of Renault engines and Red Bull gearboxes had all eyes on the green-and-gold squad when Australia came about. Seeing as a battle in the courts was brewing with Lotus Renault GP about who owned the name, it’s only fair that some fans would be thinking they would be close on track too. But, alas, it just hasn’t progressed the way they wanted it. They are still the best of the “new” teams, sometimes getting mixed up with the Virgins come Saturday but always deliver come Sunday afternoon, yet mixing it with bigger boys just hasn’t happened yet. Only once have they looked in danger of doing so – in Spain, thanks to Kovalianen’s option run to 15th on the grid – so it’s not been all bad.
It’s a strange predicament to be in – Team Lotus are fast enough to not have to look over their shoulder for the likes of Timo Glock and the HRT’s, but are just out of reach from the more established teams that are struggling, notably Toro Rosso and more recently Williams. They are in limbo, in an odd area on the grid that between midfielder and backmarker, a place that can only really be denoted as the Lotus position. O0-er.
Status: Sleeping Dog
Sitting back and taking stock of both the team’s drivers would have to be done in context – they are really each other’s rivals and no-one elses. Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli are merely separated by a cigarette paper in most accounts and it’s s running theme. Heikki qualifies better than one-lap-wonder Jarno, and the Italian makes no bones about the fact he doesn’t like the power steering set-up on the Lotus. So much so, that one whine too many cost him his seat to Karun Chandhok for Hungary. Whether this was a practice for the Indian driver ahead of the country’s debut on the calender is yet to be seen, but funnily enough Trulli returned and suddenly the steering was better. Hmmm.
Consistency is the name of the game at the back, and although Kovalainen has had miserable luck in terms of reliability, he still gets the nod from us. The 10-1 qualifying record against a man who was considered guru over a single lap sealed it.
Badger’s Best: Kovalainen