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GP Week : Issue 190
F1 >>> nEWs EXEUNT ENSTONE ... Lotus, already reeling from the loss to Ferrari of highly-regarded technical director James Allison (above) and star driver Kimi Raikkonen, has been dealt a further blow by their Italian rivals. Soon after Ferrari issued the announcement confirming Raikkonen’s return to Maranello, news broke that head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer will jump ship and join the Finn at the Scuderia once his contract with the Enstone-based team runs out at the end of the year. Lotus have also lost Jarrod Murphy, head of computational fluid dynamics, to Mercedes. The loss of their world champion driver combined with the departure of some key technical personnel could well hinder the team’s campaign next year, when experienced drivers and engineers capable of exploiting loopholes in the new rules will be all the more valuable. Ironically, the brain drain is taking place just as the Enstone racers are starting to get their finances in order. The team recently signed a two-year sponsorship deal with Dubai’s Emaar Properties, the company which built the Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world – and is working to complete another deal with a consortium of investors announced earlier this year which will give them additional access to funds. The team is also working establish a closer collaboration with engine supplier Renault, who owned the team until 2009 when the French carmaker sold a majority stake in the outfit to the current owners. “It’s true that it’s a new chapter for Enstone, we lose valuable people and obviously a very charismatic driver,” team principal Eric Boullier said over the Singapore Grand Prix weekend. “But it happened twice already in Enstone and every time the team has been world champion right after. So actually I’m quite motivated, saying ‘let’s start a new chapter and do as well or as good as happened before’.” Romain Grosjean, likely to lead the team in the post-Raikkonen-era provided they choose to retain him, also seemed unconcerned by the exodus of engineering talent. “Next year is already on the wheels and going for ward,” the Frenchman said in an inter view, the full text of which will be published in the next edition of GP Week. “We have got as well an engineer from Ferrari, it was announced last week, who will be joining the factory,” referring to Ferrari head of aerodynamics Nicolas Hennel de Beaupreau’s move to Enstone. “In Formula One there is always a turnaround, I’m sure this team is looking to get some more good people but we have everything at the factory, I guess, to be able to have good cars and I’m sure we’ll get some more people coming.” 11 GPWEEK.com // 11 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: