Yesterday, Lotus Renault GP confirmed Romain Grosjean as its 2nd driver for 2012 alongside Kimi Raikkonen, displacing the team’s 2011 drivers Bruno Senna and Vitaly Petrov.

In a statement shortly after, team boss Eric Boullier confirmed Petrov’s contract had been terminated and that he would not be in line for the team’s test and reserve driver role (presumably linked to his recent outbursts against the team).

And that just leaves Senna looking for a seat. So it seems ironic that on the very same day as the Grosjean announcement, Senna should appear modelling the new Lotus ORIGINALS collection. When he pictured himself sitting in for Lotus in 2012, I doubt he envisaged it being a lounge chair..

Bruno Senna and Lotus CEO Dany Bahar open the new retail storeBruno Senna and Lotus CEO Dany Bahar open the new Lotus ORIGINALS retail store in Hethel

Is this the price to be paid for waiting in the wings?

For what it’s worth, I remember enjoying Bruno’s drives in GP2, where he would comprehensively out-drive Vitaly Petrov and battle on equal terms with Romain Grosjean, so apart from his variable performance at times, I can see little justification in replacing him with Grosjean apart from the obvious financial ones (Grosjean is managed by team boss Eric Boullier and French oil giant TOTAL will be a team sponsor in 2012).

Lotus describe their new retail concept as “..a clear sign of their new brand identity and befitting the current and future collection of cars planned for 2013 and beyond.”

The first step in this process is opening the brand’s first retail store at Group Lotus HQ near Hethel.

In fact, if you’re in the area it might be worth popping in and taking a look, because in addition to the latest range of apparel and accessories, the retail store is also showcasing the new look customers can expect from Lotus dealerships in the future.

Lotus ORIGINALS retail store in HethelThe new Lotus ORIGINALS retail store in Hethel

The dealership environment has a modern look and feel with an inviting lounge area where customers can browse the Lotus library or leisurely spec their new Lotus car. Lotus’ latest models will be on display in the store, with full paint and trim swatches to complete the Lotus shopping experience.

Commenting on the launch Group Lotus Director of Licensing and Merchandise Wiebke Bauer said: “It’s a very proud day for us today, it’s more than a simple store opening. One of the biggest challenges we have as a business, outside of selling cars, is to make the Lotus brand as accessible as possible. We have many fans out there in the world who aren’t necessarily in a position to buy one of our cars but they still want to be part of the Lotus world and this means a lot to us.”

Opening hours are 8.30am until 5pm (Monday to Thursday) and 8.30am until midday on Fridays. Hopefully you won’t find Bruno serving from behind the counter, but within the broadly defined contract he seems to be under with Lotus, you never know.

Let’s hope we see him in a race suit and off the cat-walk soon.

Written By

Steve Davies

Steve is an investor, private equity advisor and former Partner at KPMG, PwC and Bain.   Most importantly he's a life-long car enthusiast, mountain biker and active sports enthusiast. He designs and builds technology platforms and is the architect behind Transmission.

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