Friday, 16 December 2011

Lotus Renault aim to win Formula 1 title in three years

Lotus have set an ambitious target of winning the world title by 2014 after signing ex-champion Kimi Raikkonen alongside Romain Grosjean for 2012.The team, who are changing their name from Renault for next season, won titles with Fernando Alonso in 2005-06 but were fifth overall in 2011.Team principal Eric Boullier said: "The plan is to be world champions in two or three years' time."That ambition was behind the decision to change both drivers, he added.The Frenchman, who was speaking at a news conference in Paris, admitted that doing so was "not fashionable" but that it "corresponds to owner Genii's desire to become a top team again".

The Pole was badly injured in a rally accident in February and is still not fit enough to drive an F1 car.The team started the season strongly, with a podium for each driver in the first two races, but Renault then slipped down the field.

They finished the season with 73 points, 92 behind fourth-placed Mercedes, who in turn were 213 behind third-placed Ferrari.Heidfeld was replaced by the Brazilian Bruno Senna for the final eight races, but both Senna and Petrov have been dropped for 2012.Raikkonen, who was dropped by Ferrari in favour of Alonso at the end of 2009, returns after an unsuccessful two years in the world rally championship.Grosjean was dropped by Renault at the same time, after an unconvincing half-season alongside Alonso.

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