15 January 2014
‘Unpaid’ Valsecchi eyes US after F1 frustration
Davide Valsecchi is prepared to look elsewhere to fulfil his racing desires in 2014, having acknowledged that he cannot compete with others' F1 budgets.
Davide Valsecchi has admitted that he would consider walking away from his F1 ambitions if it means getting himself back in a race seat for 2014.
The Italian graduated to the top flight as reigning GP2 Series champion but, without serious financial backing, was only able to land a reserve role with the Lotus team. There was little opportunity to test, however, and being overlooked when the team needed a replacement for the injured Kimi Raikkonen in November appears to have convinced Valsecchi to look elsewhere this season.
“I currently have no news regarding racing [in 2014], so I can't tell you anything,” he told Italy's f1passion website, “If someone were to call, asking me to compete without asking me for money, I'm ready to do it right away, but I'm not too worried about this situation – it won't stop me from having a steering wheel in my hands.
“I do not hide the desire to try IndyCar, but the problem is always the same - you have to have a budget that supports the needs of the team. To get a job today, it is not about the quality [of the driver], just need the budget [they bring], and that is currently not within my reach.”
With his father's Ediltecnica concern as his major backer, Valsecchi was unable to compete with F1's big hitters when it came to landing one of the many vacant seats on the grid for 2014, with Lotus' decision to bring in the well-backed Pastor Maldonado as team-mate to Romain Grosjean the final straw for the Italian.
“There are drivers, such as Mexicans or Venezuelans, who bring with them figures in the order of €15m, if not more, so for me the mission is impossible. In Italy, the economic situation is dramatic - I should know because my family is engaged in one of the sectors most affected by the crisis – and I would not jeopardise the activities of Grass dell'Ediltecnica to get the guarantees necessary [for me to drive]. This is not really the time to do anything stupid.”
Valsecchi admits that Lotus' decision to hire veteran Heikki Kovalainen over him as Raikkonen's replacement for the US and Brazilian grands prix had been a particularly hard body blow.
“It was so hard to accept the presence of Kovalainen at the wheel of a Lotus instead of me,” he confessed, “I think that choosing my willpower would have been better than choosing over a driver who is at the end of his career. Given the way the last two races went, I remain convinced that it would be much better to have chosen me or [Nico] Hulkenberg - and perhaps someone at Lotus has had the same thought.”
With doubts continually being raised over the state of Lotus' finances, even to the point of being able to take up its entry for 2014, Valsecchi does little to ease the tension by revealing that, until recently like Raikkonen, he had still to be paid by the Enstone-based operation. He has no doubts that the team will soon be in a healthier position, however.
“I'm very grateful to Lotus for choosing me as its third driver without asking for anything,” he noted, “I can not complain because I know how hard it would be for someone else to look for a job as third driver without paying a euro! We're not talking about the Ferrari here, we're talking about a team that could sell the seat for at least two or three million Euros.
“I still have not been paid, [but] I am sure that they will soon be in a position to do so, and they will honour their debt, as they have always behaved well with me. I owe a lot to Lotus and they were great but, with all the uncertainties of the new F1, I would have just liked to compete in the season that is about to open.”
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