Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Lotus Detrimental to Indycar

It has failed. They have failed. And it is time to do the honorable thing, which is to pull out of Indycar.

That's how bad it has become for engine manufacturer Lotus. The teams using Lotus have been clearly shorthanded this year, as it seems like their cars are using engines from Mario Kart instead of an Indycar engine. Bryan Herta Autosport, HVM, Dreyer and Reinbold, and Dragon Racing have been getting beat down all season by non-Lotus teams using Honda and Chevrolet engines. There was a glimpse of hope when Sebastien Bourdais had a great race at Barber, but those hopes were quickly crushed in the next two races at Long Beach and Sao Paulo.

If they raced as good as they looked, then they would win every race


Stats through the first four races by Lotus and the five cars they provide engines for: 

  • Top-15 finishes: Four (out of a possible twenty starts)
  • DNF's: Eight (out of a possible twenty starts) 
  • Finish on lead lap: Three (out of a possible twenty starts)

Lotus didn't stand a chance from the get go. They couldn't get their engines into America from Great Britain because they didn't pass customs (or something like that, damn oversensitive American customs agents), so you combine this with the lack of engines they had in the first place, the teams using their engines couldn't participate in the majority of tests. At one point, many were skeptical if Dragon would be able to field both cars in the first race due to not having an engine for Bourdais. Then at the first open test at IMS with the new aero kit, Lotus told their teams they couldn't participate because of an engine shortage, as they were thinking about the Month of May and making sure they had enough engines, which is now ironic because they only have two cars.

It has made teams switch up their game plans. BHA sat out Sao Paulo to focus more on Indy and get prepared for May. Then a couple days later, we learned BHA and D&RR were being released by Lotus, which will show them who is boss..... And now Dragon has fired Lotus and now plan on suing them on the basis of contractual fraud and defamation. So now they only supply engines for HVM and Fan Force Untied, a one time gig for Jean Alesi.

So now, they are down to two teams.... HVM and Fan Force United. At this point, they should give those teams a notice, which means they should give those teams an opportunity to talk to Honda and Chevy to work something out, and then cease their operations in Indycar.

Here's a pic of Ol' Unreliable

They were doomed from the get go. They joined the 2012 manufacturers race 8 months after Chevrolet and Honda. They were screwed right then and there. If I were Lotus, I would have waited till 2013 to enter Indycar so the product could be top quality instead of a half-assed effort. And at this point, their Indycar reputation is completely wrecked.

But will Chevrolet and Honda step up and give engines to the remaining Lotus teams? That's the big question at this time. It is just ins't fair to the teams, drivers, and sponsors if Lotus stays in the game. If I could compare it to another car, it would be the Yugo, because in a Yugo, You Don't.

And recently, ESPN reported Lotus may be pulling out of Indycar following Indy. Is this a last second publicity stunt to get their image on the biggest stage of the Indycar season before getting out entirely?

I, like many, thought, "Give it time. Give it time. They'll turn it around." Those times are done. Three months and no sign of improvement. As of right now, Lotus is reflecting poorly on Indycar's reputation and they need to go. It is time, Lotus, to exit stage left and hang you heads in shame.

Let me know what you all think.

-Matthew Hickey 

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