Lotus boss rejects driver 'robots' claims

Fri Jul 17, 2015 2:28pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Teams and sponsors are not to blame if modern Formula One drivers mask their personalities and behave like robots, Lotus deputy principal Federico Gastaldi said on Friday.

Brazil's retired world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, who won titles in 1972 and 1974, said this week that drivers were becoming 'robots' as teams and sponsors sought to prevent them being themselves.

"If you drive for Ferrari, for example, before the press conference you will be told 'you cannot say this' or 'you should not say that'," Fittipaldi told motorsport.com.

"Am I a robot? Or am I a personality? That's what is missing."

Gastaldi, hitting back in a team preview for next week's Hungarian Grand Prix, denied putting any pressure on his Lotus drivers -- Frenchman Romain Grosjean and Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado.

"I understand what Emerson’s saying but I know that we as a team don’t do anything proactive to stop our drivers from saying what they think," he said.

"The drivers themselves are free to decide to say what they think, but they are talking in a very different world from when Emerson was a driver.

"Now if you say anything even slightly out of the normal it’s repeated, misreported, analyzed and regurgitated across all forms of media and I think many drivers have taken a wise approach to this."   Continued...